Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Book Review: Home Fires (Contemporary Fiction)

Home Fires
Fiona Lowe

Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication Date: 18th February 2019
Pages: 487
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
                 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  


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