Book Review: Home Fires by Fiona Lowe
Home Fires is Fiona's third novel (it follows Daughter Of Mine, released in 2017, and Birthright, released in 2018).
I haven't read her other titles but am really keen to after reading Home Fires.
The story is set in the Otway Ranges in Victoria, in a town called Myrtle, which was destroyed by a terrible bush fire.
The surviving residents are trying to deal with the aftermath of the tragic day that ruined so many properties, businesses, and lives.
In particular, three of Myrtle's female citizens - Claire, Bec, and Sophie, are finding it tough.
When an older well-known local named Julie decides to run a craft class to bring back a bit of stability and to plan events that may attract business and tourists back into Myrtle, she invites the three women along.
Although reluctant at first, the women come together, and along with a couple of other group members, their meetings soon become the highlight of their week; a place where they come to share the hurt of their past, the struggles of the present, and the hopes for their future.
As the story unfolds, the reader learns more about each of these women and their families.
Claire is a community nurse, who is in a relationship with Matt, and sadly lost her parents in the fire.
Bec is a stay-home mum of two who supports her domineering husband Adam in his building company.
And Sophie is forced to return to work after her husband Josh lost his job after the fire.
They are all very believable, genuine characters and Fiona created a real sense of community spirit and the emotional support shared between them was convincing and heartfelt.
She also touched on topics like depression, abuse and violence in a delicate and informed manner.
At just under 500 pages, it is a long novel, but the advantage of that is the way the reader gains a real connection to the characters as they are described in depth.
It also touched me on a personal level, as I have relatives that were involved in the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, and have seen the tragic stories on the news, even in the past weeks with fires raging in parts of Victoria.
I thoroughly enjoyed Home Fires and would recommend it particularly for fans of Australian contemporary novels.
Home Fires is available now RRP $32.99 through Harlequin Books.