Home Fires by Fiona Lowe. (2019).
**5 out of 5 stars**
After a lethal bushfire tore through the little town of Myrtle, Victoria, the town was destroyed. For three of the women, the fire fractured their lives as well as their relationships. 18 months later the town is being restored, but are the new buildings enough? Community stalwart Julie brings together a few women as part of a craft group to help repair the town. But the scar tissue of trauma runs deep and slowly the women expose their secrets and face the damage from both the fire and it’s aftermath.
I hesitated to pick this book purely because of the length; at almost 500 pages, it’s a big read. But oh my, once you start it, it doesn’t feel like a big read! This story is heartbreaking and haunting, will tug at your heartstrings but also leave you appreciating what you’ve got. Trigger warning, there’s some very emotional issues occurring throughout this book that may upset some readers. Among other things, this book delves into the devastating effects, both physical and emotional, of a terrible bushfire devastating a town and it’s people. The reader experiences the story mainly through the point of views of three women: Claire, Bec and Sophie; this includes before, during and after the fire. I felt so attached to these three women and just really wanted things to work out for all of them, even if they were a bit annoying at times (nobody is perfect after all haha). A lot of drama occurs throughout the storyline and for me there was an underlying message of acknowledging that even if we have known people for years, we don’t necessarily know what’s going on in their lives.
A truly gripping and outstanding novel, this will be one of my top 2019 reads.