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The Summer of the Firefly 1. Ravello series

   (9 reviews)

After a tragic accident brings his old life in London to an end, shy teenager Gianni is sent to live with his estranged grandparents in the beautiful surroundings of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

There, he meets the irrepressible Angelo, who promises to show him his world and, as the long, hot summer days unfold, slowly helps Gianni to heal.

Gianni’s new life in the sun brings him friendship of a kind that he has never known and, with it, important discoveries about himself. But what will the future hold when the summer of the firefly comes to an end?

PLEASE NOTE: This story contains scenes in which a character considers suicide, which may be distressing for some readers.
The Summer of the Firefly is an ode to a particularly beautiful part of the world that I have come to love, but also a reflection on some of the potential challenges of growing up there.
The story is a slow-burner, and is my first attempt at a serious literary novel.
Copyright © 2019 James Carnarvon; All Rights Reserved.

Story Recommendations (15 members)

  • Action Packed 8
  • Addictive/Pacing 13
  • Characters 15
  • Chills 6
  • Cliffhanger 9
  • Compelling 8
  • Feel-Good 7
  • Humor 6
  • Smoldering 7
  • Tearjerker 13
  • Unique 10
  • World Building 9

Select Chapter
Table of Contents
  • 1. Chapter 1
    • 4,105 Words
  • 2. Chapter 2
    • 6,114 Words
  • 3. Chapter 3
    • 5,756 Words
  • 4. Chapter 4
    • 7,729 Words
  • 5. Chapter 5
    • 8,458 Words
  • 6. Chapter 6
    • 5,622 Words
  • 7. Chapter 7
    • 5,980 Words
  • 8. Chapter 8
    • 8,593 Words
  • 9. Chapter 9
    • 7,336 Words
  • 10. Chapter 10
    • 7,561 Words
  • 11. Chapter 11
    • 7,261 Words
  • 12. Chapter 12
    • 4,183 Words

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Gary L

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

Having decided to treat myself to a complete read through of the Ravello series, I can’t believe I omitted to review this opening salvo.  The author dazzles us with a prose as beautiful as the lemon groves surrounding Ravello and with a great skill in characterization and storytelling.  

For me, this series is one of the jewels of GA.  

Response from the author:

A full re-read? You honour me!
Thank you for the lovely review.

  • Love 4
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· Edited by chris191070

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

A truly wonderful story.

We follow Gianni, a teenager who has tragically lost his parents in a car crash, in which he survived. From the busy streets of London and all he has ever known, to the quite and tranquility of Ravello, a small town in Italy.

He moves in with with his grandparents. But his summer seems to be saved when he meets Angelo, a teenager who promises to show him the world and what Ravello has to offer.

They soon become good friends and share many adventures over the summer, which create many memories, some good and some bad.

You really need to read to realise the true spirit of The Summer of The Firefly.

Highly recommended.

Response from the author:

Thank you so much!

  • Love 4
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   4 of 4 members found this review helpful 4 / 4 members

WOW. What an amazing read. I was drawn into Gianni's world where he has to come to terms with losing his parents and is united with family that he doesn't know in rural Italy, somewhere that is so different to the London that he grew up in. James Carnarvon is so clever with his descriptions of the locale and Gianni's feelings that you feel as though you are there, witnessing the story as it unfolds from a first hand perspective. While the story is skilfully written and compelling it tugs on the heartstrings and makes you feel what Gianni is feeling. Read it, I recommend it, and did I say that I loved it? No? Well just to clear that up I loved it and I believe that many other will too, now get on and read it for yourself, you will not regret it.

Response from the author:

Thank you! Reviews of older stories are always a treat to receive, especially when they're as lovely as this one.

  • Love 6
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   3 of 3 members found this review helpful 3 / 3 members

Gianni is a west London teenager who has tragically lost his parents, and no must relocate to a mountain village on the Amalfi coast with his grandparents.  There he will spend the summer exploring the villages and villas in the area with another lonely young teen, Angelo. 

The author has created with wonderful details the sights, sounds smells and tastes of this beautiful part of Italy.  He captures the innocence of youth as well as the rigidity of traditions and bigotry of beliefs held for a millennium or more. He handles delicate and sensitive issues and relationship with inspired love and care.  This is not high adventure, but a realistic modern romance that stretches the bounds of belief and acceptance.  I recommend this book with all my heart.

  • Love 4
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   5 of 5 members found this review helpful 5 / 5 members

This story is so beautiful. A great exploration of budding love between two souls drawn to each other. It starts with tragedy and a desperate change, but ends with hope. Gianni deals with tough questions, beliefs and finds a place he wants to keep for good. Question is will the place want him? It's a must read. 

  • Like 3
  • Love 3
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Talo Segura

   8 of 8 members found this review helpful 8 / 8 members

There is a satisfying and emotional feeling when reaching the end of a good book. A good book, such an easy turn of phrase, and so difficult to achieve. James Carnarvon has managed such an achievement with his wonderful story, full of evocative descriptions, and beautifully drawn characters. In equal measure the ordinary is brought to life as so much more than ordinary, the drama is almost heart breaking, yet full of hope. A message of triumph through struggle, nothing is ever easy, people are human and make mistakes. How different is Father Stefano from the Catholic priest we might expect? How strong is the influence of our parents even when they are no longer there? How easily do events lead themselves to misinterpretation? The author is the first to admit that no story is perfect, but nevertheless, this is a little gem that sparkles with the magnificent landscape of the Italian mountains and villages and with the emotions in the hearts of the people who live there, not the least of whom are two lonely boys.

  • Like 1
  • Love 7
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   7 of 7 members found this review helpful 7 / 7 members

There are many aspects of this story that are outstanding:  the rich descriptions of the town of Ravello and the surrounding environs encourages one (as it did for me) to actually research and see pictures of the area to fully appreciate the experience that young Gianni discovers after he has been transplanted there following the death of his parents.  It is a story of generational differences in understanding.  It is a story of how grief is experienced by those generations.  Gianni finds a friend in Angelo and, in recalling his parents' teaching to him to be true to himself, discovers feelings.  This is a story that is exceptionally well-written and, while slow in its development, is fully engaging in its emotional depth.

  • Like 3
  • Love 6
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Ivor Slipper

   13 of 13 members found this review helpful 13 / 13 members

Do not be fooled, as I nearly was, by the opening couple of chapters of this story. You could easily be misled into thinking it is a guidebook to Ravello and its environs such is the detail provided by the author. Indeed I suspect it could easily be used as such.

However, it then develops into a complex story of how a young teen (Gianni) who has recently been orphaned, is transported to live with grandparents who he has never met. The culture change from London to southern Italy is dramatic. His grandparents and other relations are steeped in the traditions of the area and dominated by their religious beliefs.

Gianni finds it hard to adjust to his new life until he finds a friend – Angelo. The relationship that slowly develops between them is the crux of this special story.

  • Like 8
  • Love 4
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· Edited by drpaladin

   9 of 9 members found this review helpful 9 / 9 members

The author leads us from the busy streets of London to the quiet, rustic atmosphere of Ravello on the Amalfi coast of Italy. Ravello has been popular with celebrities for centuries. It was once home to writer Gore Vidal, but this isn't exactly the Ravello you see here and that is how it should be. This is young Gianni's story of dealing with loss, creating a new life, and learning who he is. We see Ravello through his fresh eyes and see how the ordinary citizens go about their daily lives. We meander along twisting paths and roads with Gianni and his new friend Angelo exploring the verdant and plush landscape which is described in vivid detail. It isn't the easiest of journeys for Gianni. He was orphaned in a car accident he survived and sent to a foreign country to live with elderly grandparents he had never met. Other than his grandparents and their small circle of family and friends, the only person his age is Angelo and they bond quickly. The reason Ravello has been so popular is that it is a place from another, slower time. The lanes there were never intended for cars and if you were wealthy enough to have a pool, it would have to be dug by hand. It is a place ideal for contemplation and beginning to know yourself. If you fell in love there, it would be magical.

I recommend "The Summer of the Firefly” highly. It ranks in the top tier of anything I have read online.

  • Like 4
  • Love 7
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