Myra Benning gazes across the meadow to the sea and the Santa Barbara Channel Islands beyond, unbelieving that she, awkward daughter of the Minnesota prairie, could have ended up in such a place—and with a successful husband and two golden children to boot. Little does she know, her golden world is about to collapse. Faced with her husband’s infidelity, she makes decisions that carry her family into the murky underbelly of her husband’s idyllic family. She is soon unsure of what is real, what has happened, and who is guilty of what.
Myra Benning stood on the patio and watched as the orange of poppies emerged from the fog, then the shadowy forms on the ridge became eucalyptus, and finally the sea appeared. The fennel dotting the meadow that ran between house and sea was ripening, adding its licorice smell to the salt air. She inhaled and inhaled again as she waited for Santa Cruz Island to appear across the Santa Barbara Channel. Every morning she did this, marveling that it was really so, that she, the towering girl from the clapboard house sitting naked on the Minnesota prairie could have ended up in such a place.
Home Fires by Judith Kirscht is a deeply emotional and dramatic story that unearths buried secrets kept by a family that spans three generations. Kirscht unflinchingly faces the darker and often concealed sides of families and marriages and the dysfunctions that surface in a myriad of unexpected ways. ...
Although, this novel masterfully renders the emotional hardships and tragedies that are sometimes part of dysfunctional relationships, it is not depressing to read. It is an engrossing story that does not force opinions or an agenda. Home Fires is an intelligently written fast-paced family drama that unfolds into a suspenseful page-turner. With spot-on dialog and believable characters, Kirscht explores the complexities of human nature and family bonds that sometimes lurk beneath seemingly idyllic veneers of normalcy.
Home Fires was a finalist for the 2014 Nancy Pearl Award, given by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and for the Readers Favorite Review award in General and Realistic Fiction. It also won a "Best in Contemporary fiction for the Chanticleer Reviews' Somerset Award in 2015.