Title: Home Fires
Author: Luanne Rice
Author’s Site: www.luannerice.net
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Released: August 1995
Fire, it can be so destructive and so dangerous, yet from the ashes comes a cleansing and renewal. From devastation rises the rebirth of something so beautiful, precious and everlasting. Family.
“I wish I could,” Anne said, “I wish I could have it back, that last day.”
Anne Ch 23, pg 354, para 9
Within the Leaves of Home Fires
What started out as a wonderful, ordinary day ended when Anne Davis witnesses the tragic death of her 4 year old daughter Karen.
When Anne thought her life had hit the darkest of days, her husband Matt announces that he is leaving her for a woman he has been seeing since before the death of their daughter.
To find the peace and solitude she desperately needs, Anne leaves her life in New York and moves back to her families New England Island home on Salt Whistle Road.
The house catches on fire while she is asleep, and she escapes the house only to go back in and retrieve something so precious to her the risk is barely a thought. Anne passes out in the fire and she is rescued by Thomas Devlin, a severely scarred volunteer firefighter, whose wounds run far below his disfigured surface.
As these two damaged, kindred souls are getting closer they face many obstacles from the people that are supposed to support them during their troubled journeys:
- Anne’s sister, Gabrielle, who is consumed by jealousy of Anne’s “jet-set lifestyle” and her success as artist.
- Anne’s niece, Maggie, whose treading a path of self destruction.
- Thomas’s son, Ned, who is resentful of the closeness he see’s between his father and Anne.
- Anne’s estranged husband, Matt, who wants her back.
Can Anne and Thomas navigate their way through the darkness suffered within themselves and get past the barriers put up by their families to find the fires of love?
Sweet-Tea Rating for Home Fires:
I purchased this book a couple of years ago and put it away in a box of books I wasn’t sure I was going to keep. Wrong Box!
When I sat down to re-read it, the whole story came back to me quickly and I was amazed with how the characters and their stories stayed with me.
There is something about Anne Davies that is easy to relate to. Her inner survival instinct, the love for her child, her kindness and her strong connections to her family, are traits that all the women I know can connect with.
Her emotional expressions which flow through her art give an added dimension to this well written and deep character.
Each of the family characters are folks you can easily find in your own or your friends families. The bond and distance between the sisters is so realistic you just want to hug them or slap sense into them both during different times throughout the story.
I was giggling at the way the folks in the small island town were cliquish, judgmental and full of eccentric characters. It felt like a couple of different places I have lived in and I could relate to the way Anne was cut by many of them until she had lived among them long enough to be let into the fold.
“God, I sometimes forget how puritanical this place is.”
Anne Ch 14, pg 209, para 15
Character I would most like to share a Cuppa with:
I would love to sit and share in a cuppa with the Island Volunteer Fire Fighters.
“ …when the Island Volunteer Fire Department got together for burgers and beer after a drill, you could bet the farm that things would get rowdy.”
Narrative Ch 18, pg 273, para 11
They are written as a fun, brave, odd bunch and men do the best gossiping, don’t they?
Element Ratings for Home Fires
Luanne Rice has brilliantly woven together the many different story lines found within Home Fires. When the story switched from one character’s point of view to anothers, the segues felt natural within the over all story line.
I have to admit that I lost track of time and ended up pulling an all-nighter to get it read. Major Book-Hangover! Not recommended if you have a 9-5 to go to the next day!
“ He had seen the clothes and toys of a little girl, had recognized the look of loss in the woman’s eye’s. He had recognized himself.”
Narrative, Ch 1 pg 17, para 11, pg 18 para 1
Destiny was written for Anne and Thomas right from the first chapter. The question was “how”?
As you read further on and learn more of their backstories, the question becomes “How”?
A little further in they are together and then there is a big “WHAT”?
Goodness, this story was a true nail biter and was written in such a sensible, plausible way, I almost had no hope.
“You came into my life, and I felt the world change. Just like that. You brought me hope, and light, and the most amazing love.”
Anne Ch 14, pg 215, para 7
“ The look in your eyes told me everything I had to know. I’d felt that intensity before, but I’d never seen it in another person. I fell in love with you right there.”
Thomas Ch 10, pg 147, para 5
I have nothing more to add to this.
I fell for Thomas Devlin myself. What woman wouldn’t! He is caring, open with his feelings, cool under pressure, a proud father, cooks and gardens. And cooks…Lord love him!
The Emotion Coaster that Luanne Rice took me on removed me from the role of the Reader and brought me in as part of the family. I ugly cried, laughed, got really pissed off and was all “I told you so!” as though I were a member of the Fitzgibbon family.
It has been a long while since I felt emotionally connected with such a large group of characters from the same book.
Hot-Tea Rating for Home Fires
My only complaint about the story was the descriptive teen age love scene. I understand that it shows a parallel between Ned’s first taste of love and Thomas’s tentative feelings of finding love again in middle age, I felt the scene should have been alluded to rather than graphically detailed.
What I Learned About the Real World
Death is a part of life and unfortunately, tragic death touches so many. The way that each character deals with the death of their friends and loved ones shows many aspects of working your way through the various stages of grief.
I have heard over the years “It gets easier with time” as loved ones of my own have passed and this story shows alternate realistic journeys that are taken to get to that easier place. I found that inspirational.
The Last Drop:
Home Fires is an excellent read. There was so much suspense in the major and minor plots of the story I was riveted and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this book.
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