HOME FIRES: A Novel by Judith Kirscht

HOME FIRES, Judith Kirscht's third published novel

HOME FIRES: The secrets lying in wait beneath a fairy tale existence.  

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 the love of a successful husband and two beautiful children to boot. Little does she know, her golden world is about to collapse. Faced with her husband’s infidelity, she is driven to decisions that carry her family into the murky underbelly of the idyllic Benning family surface. She is soon unsure of what is real, what’s happening, and who is guilty of what.




Somerset Finalist END OF THE RACE

Best in mystery and suspense category,  Somerset Award, Chanticleer Reviews, 2015





Finalist, Readers’ Favorite Book Award, General and Realistic Fiction Categories,2015.



 Finalist, Nancy Pearl Award, Pacific Northwest Writers Association, 2014


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Kirscht (The Inheritors, 2012, etc.), a retired university writing professor, brings grace and flair to this third effort. She quickly establishes Myra, a Minnesota native who has always been a bit insecure in the rather enigmatic Derek’s world, as a sympathetic heroine who must now face up to what she may have been enabling in her marriage. Kirscht also plants just enough seeds in her smooth-flowing narrative so that its rather surprising finale doesn’t seem too far out in left field. Well-wrought female empowerment tale with a dramatic twist ending.

Kirkus Reviews,

“Home Fires” is an intelligently written, fast-paced family drama that unfolds into a suspenseful page-turner. Although this novel masterfully renders the emotional hardships and tragedies that are sometimes part of dysfunctional relationships, it is not a depressing read.

Chanticleer Reviews

“Judith Kirscht’s Home Fires is a noteworthy and timely novel dealing with a family gone awry.

“Myra and Derek Benning and their teenage children, Peter and Susan, appear to live a privileged life. Susan has a few social issues, but there’s love and strong bonds between the parents and children, and they’re a happy family. Myra feels blessed to have a handsome, successful husband and thankful for their enduring love. A phone call shatters her serenity and plunges the marriage into chaos.

“Guilt, anger, and surmounting worry consume Myra. But then, an even more serious situation surfaces with daughter Susan and immediate action must be taken. Myra does what she must do, but at a price that affects every member of the family.”

Mary Trimble, author of Tubob

Click here to read the full text of Mary’s review of Home Fires at her blog.

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“Home Fires” is like a finely crafted layered cake. The multiple characters, and shifts in time and location, all fit in place impeccably, the story never losing its consistency. The author has created believable, distinct personalities that all make up the complex family environment. And just when we think we know exactly what we are having, there is a surprise…

For the full text of the latest review by Jaana Hatton

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Home Fires is an intimate portrayal of what suspicion and betrayal can do to a family that had appeared to be close-knit and loving.  The protagonist is Myra Benning, an artist living with her husband and two children in a beach house in Goleta, “Santa Barbara’s ne’er-do-well second cousin,” a setting as beautiful as she had thought her marriage was.  Her husband, Derek, a marine biologist who has imparted his love of the coastal waters around his home to both his son and daughter, is adored by the pretty young things in his college classes—too much so, as Myra discovers when she hears a recorded phone message not meant for her ears….

–Marion Hill, Durant, OK USA

Read the full review by Marion Hill…

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HOME FIRES is available at libraries in Bellingham and the Skagit Valley but is out of print. Paperback copies are available from me for $10. Email me at kirscht33@gmail.com with your address, and you will receive a PayPal invoice. When that is complete I will mail your book.

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