Daffodils and Fireflies, a novel set Lake Erie’s Wine Country

Daffodils and FireflysBetsy Kramer is a successful magazine editor, but she’s also divorced, estranged from her family, and a workaholic. Home again at Windy Hill when her mother is dying, Betsy discovers destructive secrets while reading her mother’s journals and the hidden letters from a father she never knew. When the only man she ever loved reminds her that daffodils were once her favorite flower, Betsy must face her own damaging secret. She begins her journey toward healing in the treehouse, but even the whirling fireflies above the magical pond don’t bring comfort—Betsy’s forgotten her way home.

This powerful book shows how secrets, abuse, and negative thinking can destroy lives and how looking deeply at past actions, letting go of regrets and mistakes, and finding tools to more forward can provide hope and transformation. While Betsy struggles with whether to tell Tom the truth, Tom wants answers to why they wasted so many years separate from each other. We like these characters with their very real emotions and conflicts, their personality defects, and their desire to move forward and on to something better.

Here’s what readers have to say:

“I loved Daffodils and Fireflies for many reasons. First, the characters are interesting, complex and smart. As you get to know them all, in spite of their secrets and flaws, you find yourself wanting them to find peace and happiness. I especially liked the main character, Betsy, who shares my name and also so many of my interests, including nature, travel, long walks and being by the water. She’s a mature and complicated woman who is haunted by a decision of the past, mourning the loss of her mother and in search of a lost father as well as fulfillment beyond her work. Even if you don’t relate to all that Betsy is, you will find a piece of her in you.” (Betsy Muller)

“Betsy’s story was one of heartache and resilience, a character that I was easily able to identify with. Her ability to see the good in her life and make the changes necessary, made her a stronger character than she thought she was. Claudia Taller painted a vivid picture of everyday life in northeast Ohio and its surrounding areas. She was able to capture what it was like for Betsy to live two separate lives, each totally different, but necessary for her to complete her journey. This book will inspire you to look beyond your everyday life for something you are missing and to let go of those things in your past that you cannot change.” (Beth G.)

“I loved this book. I couldn’t wait for Betsy to put together the pieces in her life. Her love and pride of her hometown was clear and being a fellow Clevelander, there are now new places I want to explore.” (Christina Evans)

“DAFFODILS AND FIREFLIES engaged me from the start. Taller’s excellent eye for detail, from the color of a baby’s shoes to enjoyable walks down memory lane for anyone who has lived in Northeast Ohio, creates an enjoyable kaleidoscope of persons, places, events and family entanglements, misunderstandings, love and heartbreak into a plausible and unexpected modern intrigue. Her storytelling never stopped turning unexpected corners all the way up to the heartening, but not “fairy tale,” ending. For me it was a very good read, a lovely and thought- provoking time well-spent with a quality story-teller’s most recent book.” (Lea Henderson-Neider)

“Daffodils and Fireflies is a story that reaches the depth of the spirit, the pain and solace in relationships, and the rebuilding of one’s life. It will pull you in and not release you until the finale. A great read. (Craig Andrews)

“A well-written novel that reads like memoir. The death of her mother ignites changes as Elizabeth shares her personal story–the tragedies as well as the triumphs. In her own words, Elizabeth takes us on her life journey that is both touching and relatable.” (Deanna Adams)

Read an excerpt from the book here:  Daffodils Short Story.

Known for her workshops and talks, Claudia loves hanging out in libraries and living rooms to talk about how this novel was written over a period of six years, with the last revision coming into shape during retreat at Mount St. Benedictine Monastery in Erie.  How much of the book is autobiographical and how did the author weave her life and spiritual journey into the plot, characters, and dialogue?

This is a great book discussion book; take a look at the book discussion guide:  Daffodils and Fireflies Questions.

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What happens when a mother dies, leaving journals full of secrets? What is revealed by 45-year-old ribbon-bound letters found in a hatbox? What is an urban dwelling woman with a successful career to do with the family farm that she inherits? What should she say when her old boyfriend arrives at her mother’s funeral wanting to know why she broke up with him 25 years ago?

In her novel Daffodils and Fireflies, Claudia Taller, a Greater Cleveland author, follows her character Betsy from the day she learns her mother is dying to reunion with her estranged daughter to facing her demons in the treehouse. When the only man she ever loved reminds her that daffodils were once her favorite flower, Betsy, magazine editor and travel writer, realizes she’s forgotten her way home. As she mourns her mother and thinks about her future, Betsy sits on the back stoop and watches the daffodils close up, write in her diary and walks, a lot, as she always does when she’s in trouble. Even the magical pond with its fairies is unable to help her with answers about why her life feels scrambled and why she’s not able to be happy.

Daffodils and Fireflies is a quest for truth and authenticity, for forgiveness and abundance. The story takes place on the North Coast, with many scenes from downtown Cleveland and the vineyards of Lake Erie wine country. The book has been described as lyrical, written with style, grace, and emotional depth, and the story unfolds naturally, in the same way it was revealed to the story creator. It was published by Moonshine Cove Publishing, Abbeville, South Carolina

Claudia J. Taller has published more than 300 lifestyle, travel and legal articles in national and regional publications and is a regular contributor to Cool Cleveland. Her book Ohio’s Lake Erie Wineries was published in 2011, and its sequel, Ohio’s Canal Country Wineries, was released in July 2015. Her spiritual memoir, 30 Perfect Days, Finding Abundance in Ordinary Life, made its appearance in late 2014. Please visit www.claudiajtaller.com or contact the author directly at Claudia.taller@yahoo.com. The book is available through Moonshine Cove, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and from the author.