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Cottonwood Whispers (Jessilyn Lassiter #2)

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  820 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
In this sequel to Jennifer’s award-winning debut novel "Fireflies in December, " Jessilyn Lassiter and her best friend Gemma Teague have survived prejudice and heartache in their lifelong friendship, but the summer of 1936 threatens to tear them apart yet again. Gemma’s job with the wealthy Hadley family leads to a crush on their youngest son. But Jessilyn’s insistence tha ...more
Paperback, 340 pages
Published August 17th 2009 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 2009)
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Mar 28, 2012 Shawn rated it it was amazing
These books just get better with each one. I am drawn in and have already gone on to the next in the series because I just can't wait to see what happens next in Jessilyn's life. The wonderful things about these books is that it is not only the love story that you are following and watching grow but it is Jessilyn and her not only coming of age but of faith. You see her building and asking questions in each book and it is amazing. Jennifer Valent is a brillant writer, she has tears just running ...more
I liked this one better than the first which I didn't think was possible. This is a coming of age story for Jessie, Gemmie and Luke and there is so much going on in this book that I am having a hard time pinpointing my favorite moments. The schism between Gemma and Jessie, the unfair treatment of Mr. Poe, the hypocrisy and racial tones of the town when it comes to whites and blacks, the struggle Jessie feels about not having the same type of faith that her parents, Gemma and Mr. Poe have, the wo ...more
Nora St Laurent
Jul 09, 2015 Nora St Laurent rated it it was amazing
1937...a year when life was simple and carefree - or so we think? Can you imagine a time in life when you could send your kids walking to a store or to church without you? They did in 1937; Jessilyn and Gemma are best friends that have grown-up quick. Life was simple, but it wasn’t without its own racial tensions, where the rich tried to push around the poor, and a time when people thought they could take justice into their own hands.

Jessilyn says, “Daddy had told me before that sometimes the Lo
Melissa Frye
Sep 18, 2009 Melissa Frye rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: 2009
When I planned this week, I realized the FIRST tour for Cottonwood Whispers was on the schedule. Fear consumed me.

You see, I’ve had the book for quite some time, but I couldn’t bring myself to read it. It occupied a special place on my bookshelf right next to its predecessor, Fireflies in December. The excitement I felt upon hearing there was a sequel in the works turned into uncertainty.

My love for the first novel made me hesitate. I feared disappointment. The bar was set very high with Firefli
April Cole
Sep 12, 2012 April Cole rated it it was amazing
This is the second book in a series and the author did a fantastic job. I lived it. Since I had already read the first book, I was very invested in these characters and I loved seeing how they grew and changed. I highly recommend this book as well as Fireflies in December. Both are great stories of faith in God. This series is definitely a must read and I feel the author left this book open for more to come!
Sep 17, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it
I enjoyed this story, but I hope Ms. Valent realizes that we now need a third!!!

I was so excited to pick up this book. It is book two in the Jessilyn Lassiter series by Jennifer Erin Valent and picks up several years after the events in the first book, Fireflies in December. I can’t brag on this series or on this author enough. She’s one of the authors that connects with her fans on social media and is so open and inviting that it really makes you want to read her books—and if you haven’t? You really should! These books capture the heart of the Deep South in a time when pre
Mar 29, 2013 Grace rated it it was amazing
It is with great pleasure and excitement that I review book two in the Calloway Summers series! I loved the first novel in this series, Fireflies in December, and could hardly put it down. Valent’s second novel more than lived up to my expectations, a task for which Valent had her work cut out. She did an excellent job in creating the next chapter of Jessie’s life. I could ramble on and on, but I’ll leave that for further on in the review.

The Story

Growing up is never easy, and Jessilyn Lassit
Dec 16, 2009 Amydeanne rated it it was amazing
I closed my eyes last night and couldn't sleep. My mind wandered back to the year of 1936 in the deep South. The air was too hot to breath. I couldn't shake the feeling of great sadness that crept in.

Why was I feeling this way? I just finished reading --Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent. It is an amazing, heart wrenching sequel to "Fireflies in December" (which I haven't read). Valent grabbed me from the get-go and drew me deep into her story. It drew me in with that Southern setting,
C.J. Darlington
Feb 16, 2015 C.J. Darlington rated it it was amazing
In the four years since the events of Fireflies in December, Jessilyn Lassiter has grown into a young woman of seventeen. She's still the feisty, head-strong character we remember, but almost killing a man and facing an angry KKK mob has a way of forcing a girl to grow up fast. Maybe she's lost some innocence, but Jessilyn's still a kid--much to her dismay. She longs for the day when her friend Luke Talley sees her as more than a girl, but until then life's confusing enough. Her best friend Gemm ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-read
About Cottonwood Whispers

A while ago, Tyndale Blog Network sent me the book Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent. I hate to say it, but it kind of got lost and I just ran across it again this past week. So, I FINALLY had a chance to read it. Cottonwood Whispers is the follow up story to the award winning novel, Fireflies in December. Valent does a fine job capturing the turmoil of the time and her writing is beautiful and true to life.
Synopsis of Cottonwood Whispers

Cottonwood Whispers tak
Feb 17, 2011 Lauren rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, borrowed
This was the sequel to "Fireflies in December" although I think one would be able to read this book without having read the first one. It takes place 4 years later and Jessilyn Lassiter is now 17. Not much has changed. Her best friend is still Gemma Teauge and she's still dead set on marrying her hero, Luke Tally. Jesse has grown up some, but still has a sharp tongue and a hot temper. Jessilyn and Gemma face a trouble in their friendship when Gemma develops a crush her wealthy but white boss, Jo ...more
Kerry Johnson
Jan 22, 2015 Kerry Johnson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-reads
Cottonwood Whispers continues the story of Jessilyn Lassiter - now seventeen - her best friend Gemma, friend and childhood crush Luke, her parents, as well as various characters from the southern town of Calloway, Virginia in 1936. This story is second in a series of three, and I admit I wondered if I'd get as caught up in Cottonwood Whispers as I'd been in the first book in the series, Fireflies in December.

No worries there.

Cottonwood Whispers was a wonderful, heart-wrenching read. Jennifer V
Jan 01, 2010 Debbie rated it it was amazing
"Cottonwood Whispers" is a historical fiction with some romance set in 1936 in a small town in the South. The author does an excellent job of conveying the idea of Southern accents without being obvious or making the text hard to read.

This novel is the second in a series, but you don't need to read the first one to understand this one. However, a mystery element in the first novel is revealed in this one, so I'd recommend reading "Fireflies in December" first--I suspect it's as good as this one.
Julie - Book Hooked Blog
First of all, thanks to Tyndale for sending me this ARC. I didn't realize it was a sequel, but it can be just as easily read as a stand-alone book. After reading it, I'm definitely going to be looking for a copy of the first book as well as any continuations. I'd love to see this as a series.

First and foremost, it was anything but the typical inspirational fiction cliche. The protagonist is likable, witty, self-reliant, and not a Christian. There is also no "Damascus Road" experience where she i
Jane Maritz
Sep 18, 2009 Jane Maritz rated it it was amazing
This is a sequel to another book, Fireflies in December, but I've never read the first book and felt this one stood pretty well on its own. Though I wished I knew more about how Jessilyn and Gemma became friends... which is a good incentive to go find that first book!

The story takes place in the south in 1936. Jessilyn is 17, and her best friend is black. The author does a great job dealing with the prejudices of the time and pointing out some of the complications; the injustices and romances an
Christy Lockstein
Sep 18, 2009 Christy Lockstein rated it it was amazing
Cottonwood Whispers by Jennifer Erin Valent is the haunting follow-up to Fireflies in December. Jessie Lassiter has been "sister" to Gemma Teague since Gemma's parents died four years ago, but Gemma's feelings for her employer's scoundrel son come between the two young women. Tragedy strikes the small town of Calloway once again with the hit and run killing of a little girl for whom Jessie babysat, and the town is split in two when a mentally handicapped man is accused in her death. Jessie is th ...more
Sep 17, 2009 Carly rated it it was amazing
I was captivated and drawn into Cottonwood Whispers immediately. This story moves very quickly and there is never a dull moment.

My only regret about reading Cottonwood Whispers is that I did not read Fireflies in December first. I did not have any problem following the story because Cottonwood Whispers takes place a few years after Fireflies in December, but this book was simply wonderful and I want to read more from this author about these people in this time and place.

The characters in this st
Jan 30, 2010 Louise rated it liked it
I found this sequel to be a bit better and more interesting than the debut novel 'Fireflies in December'. You can see the improvement in the author's writing already.

From back cover:

"I've heard the dead whisper. Everytime I tell my best friend Gemma that, she tells me I'm crazy. But I'm not crazy. The dead really can whisper, only it isn't their ghosts that do it. It's the memory of them.

The summer of 1936 is one that seventeen-year-old Jessilyn Lassiter will never forget. She had hoped to spend
Sep 20, 2009 Ruth rated it liked it
Having loved Jennifer Erin Valent's first book, Fireflies in December I was eager to read this sequel which takes place about three years later. Gemma is still living with Jessilyn's family, but is now finished with school and working as a domestic servant for the rich family down the street. She is developing a relationship with the adult son of the family. Jessilyn realizes her family is in financial trouble (it is 1939 after all) and so she gets a part-time job helping a neighbor lady, who wa ...more
Jan 25, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
2 - Writing Style (It seemed like all of the characters sounded the same. It needed to vary more to distinguish between their personalities.)
4 - Kept me Awake at Night Reading (An easy read. I had already been interested in the characters from the first book, so that helped me want to keep reading.)
2 - Good Discussion Book (Not really.)
5 - Violence (Some, but nothing written in a disturbing or nightmarish way.)
5 - Sex (Clean.)
5 - Language (Clean.)
2 - Unique (It was an entertaining story, but not
Jul 18, 2015 Teri-k rated it really liked it
A worthy follow-up, the story of Jessalyn and her family continues. In this book the troubles revolve around Gemma, who is working for a rich white family and temporarily gets her good sense undermined. A child dies and hard choices must be made. Also we see their father's faith get shaky when a drought threatens the farm. That was so believable to me - as the daughter of a farmer I know how serious it can be when weather turns against you. And in the real world there often isn't anything to fal ...more
Gale Kendrick
Apr 01, 2014 Gale Kendrick rated it it was amazing
After reading Fireflies in December, which was wonderful, I could hardly wait for Jennifers next book Cottonwood Whispers, which did not disappoint. Now can't wait for the next one, Catching Moondrops, which is continueing the story of Gemma and Jessilyn. Can't wait to begin the next book from Jennifer Erin Valent, an author I just discovered this year.
Just one of my favorite parts, Miss Cleta is telling Jessilyn on page 332
"If you want to believe, someday you will. You just wait. God'll open yo
Nov 28, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
To be 100% honest, I have not read this entire book. I read the first book of the trilogy "Fireflies in December" and enjoyed it immensely. I also read the last book "Catching Moondrops" and only became aware of this one after I had finished it. There were some gaps btw the two that I hoped this book would bridge. It did serve to do that, and pretty much that's it. As a story, this one is unfortunately very one dimensional. It was very easy to see what direction it was going in within the first ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 2'nd book by this author and the 2n'd book about these characters. I really 'liked' this book and gave it 4 stars. I even thought it might need more than 4 though not sure 5 would be appropriate.

I don't highlight in books, or make notes. In this book I did. Not sure if that speaks to the book, or to me.

It is Christian fiction, a genre I do enjoy. But if you are not a fan of preachy Christian fiction, you don't need to fear this book. There is no preaching in it. It is set in the 19
Sep 11, 2011 Joyce rated it it was amazing
The 2nd book in the series, the 1st being Fireflies in December and the last being Catching Moondrops), this book continues the story of the lives of Jessie, Gemma, Luke and their lives in 1930's South, Jessie's growing hate for the KKK and her ,secret love for Luke. This series was full of emotions for me and the story was well told. Even if you feel this book may drag, which I didn't but others have reviewed, please keep reading through the last book. It is a story of love, hate, forgiveness, ...more
Jan 04, 2010 Dee rated it really liked it
My book club read Fireflies in December and LOVED it. We normally don't read sequels but decided to make an exception with Cottonwood Whispers. We were not disappointed. This is an outstanding book of making quick assumptions, false acccusations, and how easily people can believe something without exploring justifications. It is a story of true sacrificial love and pure faith in God's sovereignty. I'm looking forward to the sequel where I hope we find Jessilyn discovering God's all redeeming lov ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
This is book #2 in a (so far) 3-book series. You are placed back into the life of Jessilynn Lassiter. This time she's 17 years old. The plot of this book centers around the death of a 3 year old girl. Someone hits her with their car and an innocent man is accused of killing her.

I'm really impressed with how well one book flowed into another. In fact, it's hard to write a review as it feels just like a continuation of 'Fireflies in December'. I'm now about 25% done with the 3rd book 'Catching Moo
Sep 14, 2009 Blakelyn rated it it was amazing
In the sequel to Fireflies in December, Valent continues the story of Jessilyn Lassiter, who is now 17 years old and quickly growing into a young woman (much to her father's dismay). Problems arise when tragedy strikes a little girl in town, and a dear friend of Jessilyn's is blamed. Meanwhile, Gemma has taken on a new job and isn't around as much to spend time with Jessilyn. Written with the same southern charm as Fireflies in December, Cottonwood Whispers will make your heart ache one minute, ...more
May 21, 2013 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Jessilyn Lassiter is heartbroken when an elderly man is accused of killing a little girl. Jessilyn and her friend Gemma know that he is innocent, but can they prove it before it's too late?
I really loved this book. I thought it was even better than the first in the series, and that's saying a lot. It was very emotionally driven, and written in such a way that you knew what the characters were feeling and thinking. This is a great book, I highly reccomend it to my friends.
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Jennifer Erin Valent is the 2007 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild's Operation First Novel contest and 2010 Christy Award winner for Fireflies in December. She lives in central Virginia, where she has worked as a nanny for over fifteen years. A lifelong resident of the South, her surroundings help to color the scenes and characters she writes.
More about Jennifer Erin Valent...

Other Books in the Series

Jessilyn Lassiter (3 books)
  • Fireflies in December
  • Catching Moondrops

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“I rolled my eyes to the heavens and sighed. I never enjoyed dealing with people that didn't use the sense God gave them.” 7 likes
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