Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Book Review: Home Fires (Contemporary Fiction)

Home Fires
by
Fiona Lowe

Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication Date: 18th February 2019
Pages: 487
RRP:$32.99
Format Read: Paperback
Source: courtesy of the publisher via AM Publicity 

 

From the bestselling Australian author of Daughter of Mine and Birthright. When a lethal bushfire tore through Myrtle, nestled in Victoria's breathtaking Otway Ranges, the town's buildings - and the lives of its residents - were left as smouldering ash. For three women in particular, the fire fractured their lives and their relationships.

Eighteen months later, with the flurry of national attention long past, Myrtle stands restored, shiny and new. But is the outside polish just a veneer? Community stalwart Julie thinks tourism could bring back some financial stability to their little corner of the world and soon prods Claire, Bec and Sophie into joining her group. But the scar tissue of trauma runs deep, and as each woman exposes her secrets and faces the damage that day wrought, a shocking truth will emerge that will shake the town to its newly rebuilt foundations...

With her sharp eye for human foibles, bestselling author Fiona Lowe writes an evocative tale of everyday people fighting for themselves, their families and their town - as only this distinctively Australian storyteller can



The residents of Myrtle, a small country town cocooned by the forest of Victoria’s Otway Ranges, are still feeling the effects of a fire that destroyed the town almost two years earlier.

A group of women that had formed a craft group decide to take action to put Myrtle back on the map and attract tourists to the town.

Claire is back home after living in large cities and has been with Matt for 3 years.
Sophie, married to Josh, moved to the country for a better lifestyle.
Rebecca is married to Adam through an arrangement instigated by her mother they have two children and a third on the way. They appear to be the perfect couple.

The story follows the three women before and after the fire. How their lives had changed, their dreams shattered. The hardships not only financially but mentally and physically when the rest of the world has moved on but the town is still struggling to rise above the ashes and forge a new life.

Over the months of meetings and planning they had changed from a random group of women to become friends, working through their differences and supporting each other. Even minor characters in the group, Julie, the stalwart of the town, Layla and Erica, play integral roles in the bringing together of the community.

This small town weathers it all; a deadly bushfire, a cancer scare, domestic abuse, PTSD, teenagers using alcohol and drugs, but through sweat, determination and hard work they come through it all.

Lowe highlights how the impact of a fire goes far beyond the buildings that were destroyed. It affects different people in different ways and quite often this effect is not clearly visible on the surface.

Home Fires is a timely tale with a quintessential Australian feel. Lowe brings the country town of Myrtle, and its residents, into our homes and opens our eyes to the hardships and heartbreaking aftermath of a devastating bushfire.

Recommended reading.

My rating   10/10

Content: domestic violence
                 drugs
                 post traumatic stress

Letter H in the 2019 AtoZ Challenge  
 








Fiona Lowe has been a midwife, a sexual health counsellor and a family support worker; an ideal career for an author who writes novels about family and relationships. She spent her early years in Papua New Guinea where, without television, reading was the entertainment and it set up a lifelong love of books. Although she often re-wrote the endings of books in her head, it was the birth of her  first child that prompted her to write her first novel. A recipient of the prestigious USA RITA award and the Australian RuBY award. Fiona writes books that are set in small country towns. They feature real people facing difficult choices and explore how family ties and relationships impact on their decisions.

When she is not writing stories, she's a distracted wife, mother of two 'ginger' sons, a volunteer in her community, guardian of eighty rose bushes, a slave to a cat, and is often found collapsed on the couch with wine. 

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Facebook  ||  Twitter  ||  Instagram  


 

 
 

Monday, 18 March 2019

Mailbox Monday - March 18th


Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog. Head over and check out other books received during the last week. 



 

Review Titles:

The Eyes of Tamburah by Maria V. Snyder
Publication date: 17th June 2019
 Shyla is a researcher who resides in the underground desert city of Zirdai, which is ruled by the wealthy Water Prince and brutal Heliacal Priestess. Even though Shyla is sun-kissed - an outcast, considered cursed by the Sun Goddess - she is still renowned for uncovering innumerable archaic facts, lost artefacts, ancient maps, and obscure historical documents. Her quiet life is about to change when Banqui, an archaeologist, enlists her services to find The Eyes of Tamburah: legendary gemstones that bestows great magic to its wielder. These ancient objects can tip the balance of power and give whoever possesses them complete control of the city.

But chaos erupts when The Eyes are stolen soon after they're found - and Shyla is blamed for the theft. Forced to flee, with the Prince's soldiers and the Priestess' deacons on her trail, Shyla must recover the jewels and clear her name. A quest that will unearth secrets even more valuable than The Eyes of Tamburah themselves...


The Chocolate Maker's Wife by Karen Brooks
Publication date: 18th February 2019

Growing up in an impoverished household with a brutal family, Rosamund Tomkins is both relieved and terrified when her parents all but sell her in a marriage of convenience to a wealthy nobleman, Sir Everard Blithman. Though Rosamund will finally be free of the torment she’d become accustomed to in her childhood home, she doesn’t know if she’s traded one evil for another. But much to her surprise, Rosamund soon discovers that her arranged marriage is more of a blessing than curse. For her new husband recognizes not only Rosamund’s unusual beauty, but also her charm and vibrancy, which seem to enchant almost everyone who crosses her path.

Sir Everard presides over a luxurious London chocolate house where wealthy and well-connected men go to be seen, exchange news, and indulge in the sweet and heady drink to which they have become addicted. It is a life of luxury and power that Rosamund had never imagined for herself, and she thrives in it, quickly becoming the most talked-about woman in society, desired and respected in equal measure. But when disaster strikes, Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she possesses. Determined not to return to poverty, Rosamund makes a deal with the devil that could preserve her place in society—or bring her the greatest downfall.
 

Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty
Publication date: 26th March 2019

Abigail Sorensen has spent her life trying to unwrap the events of 1990.

It was the year she started receiving random chapters from a self-help book called The Guidebook in the post.

It was also the year Robert, her brother, disappeared on the eve of her sixteenth birthday.

She believes the absurdity of The Guidebook and the mystery of her brother's disappearance must be connected.

Now thirty-five, owner of The Happiness Café and mother of four-year-old Oscar, Abigail has been invited to learn the truth behind The Guidebook at an all-expenses-paid retreat.
What she finds will be unexpected, life-affirming, and heartbreaking.
A story with extraordinary heart, warmth and wisdom.

In a Great Southern Land by Mary-Anne O'Connor
Publication date: 18th March 2019
 
From the soft green hills of Ireland to the wild Shipwreck Coast of southern Victoria, the rich farm lands of New South Wales to the sudden battlefields of Ballarat, this is an epic story of the cost of freedom and the value of love in a far-flung corner of the world where a nation sows its earliest seeds. 1851: After the death of her father, young Eve Richards is destitute. Her struggle to survive sees her deported in chains to the colony of New South Wales, penniless and alone. But here in this strange new world fortune smiles on the spirited, clever Eve in the shape of a respectable job offer that will lead to a quiet, secure life. Then the fiery and charismatic Irishman Kieran Clancy crosses her path...

For Kieran Clancy, the kindest man on earth, and his brother Liam, the promise of free passage and land in this brave new world is a chance to leave the grief and starvation of County Clare behind. But while Liam works to farm their land, Kieran has the fire of gold-fever upon him and is drawn to the goldfields of Ballarat. As tensions grow on the goldfields, and with the blood of an Irish rebel still beating through his heart, Kieran finds himself caught up in the cataclysmic events at the Eureka Stockade and faces the decision of a lifetime: whether or not, when it comes to love, blood will remain thicker than water...

Home at Last by Meredith Appleyard
Publication date: 18th March 2019
 
Flying solo can be harder than it looks ... A warm-hearted rural romance about finding your way home. Flying solo for the first time had been the greatest high of Anna Kelly's life. So when the chance of a dream job as a pilot with the Royal Flying Doctor Service comes up she takes it, even though she has to leave her home in Adelaide and move to remote Broken Hill - a place she had hoped she would never see again.

The bad memories the town provokes remind Anna why she keeps men at arm's length but as her work proves fulfilling, her housemate becomes a friend and a warm community grows around her, Anna is surprised to discover that Broken Hill is starting to feel like home.

But there is no such thing as plain sailing and with errant mothers, vengeful ex-patients and determined exes on the prowl, life is becoming increasingly complicated. More than that, the distractingly attractive Flight Nurse Nick Harrison seems keen to get to know her better, and he has a way of finding a path through her defences. But will he still want her if the truth comes out?
 

Books I've purchased:

I had some credit on my Dymocks loyalty card so I purchased this book after reading many rave reviews. 

Saving You by Charlotte Nash
Publication date: 29th January 2019

In their tiny pale green cottage under the trees, Mallory Cook and her five-year-old son, Harry, are a little family unit who weather the storms of life together. Money is tight after Harry's father, Duncan, abandoned them to expand his business in New York. So when Duncan fails to return Harry after a visit, Mallory boards a plane to bring her son home any way she can.

During the journey, a chance encounter with three retirees on the run from their care home leads Mallory on an unlikely group road trip across the United States. Zadie, Ernie, and Jock each have their own reasons for making the journey and along the way the four of them will learn the lengths they will travel to save each other - and themselves.

 
 What am I looking forward to reading? 

This week my top pick is Gravity is the Thing. I think the catch  phrase 'a story with extraordinary heart, warmth and wisdom' pulled me in. I'm looking forward to this heart-felt read.

What Books did your postman deliver this week?

Post a link to your Mailbox Monday or simply list your books in the comments below.