Monday, May 16, 2011

Homefires - Emily Sue Harvey

"Emily Sue Harvey's first novel, Song of Renewal, was praised by New York Times bestselling author Jill Marie Landis as "an uplifting, heartwarming story," by bestselling author Kay Allenbaugh as a work that will "linger in the memory long after readers put it aside," and by Coffee Time Romance as "a must-read book for anyone doing a little soul searching." New York Times bestselling author Steve Berry said, "It captures your attention, and whets your appetite for more," while Peeking between the Pages called it "quite simply a beautiful book."
Her second novel, Homefires is set in the Deep South's Bible Belt on the eve of unprecedented moral changes. It is the story of Janeece and Kirk Crenshaw, a couple married just after their high school graduation who set out to make a life for themselves. It is a life marked by surprises, none more dramatic than when Kirk receives his "high-calling" and becomes a pastor. It is a life marked by tragedy, the most heart-rending of which is a devastating event very close to home. And it is a life marked by challenges: to their church, to their community, and most decidedly to their marriage. And as the fullness of time makes its impact on their union, Kirk and Janeece must face the question of whether they have gone as far as they can together.

Filled with the rich emotions and evocative characters that fans have come to expect from Emily Sue Harvey, and reminiscent of the work of Jan Karon and Anne Rivers Siddons, Homefires is a poignant and compelling novel that will steal readers' hearts."
Synopsis taken from goodreads.

Title: Homefires
Genre: Adult Fiction, Inspirational Fiction, Contemporary
Publisher: The Story Plant
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
Format: Softcover
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Tracee from Pump Up Your Book for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Look for it: Amazon, Book Depository
My rating: 4/5

Homefires opens with Janeece and Kirk ready to start the rest of their lives. Newly wedded, and ready to share a lifetime with each other, everything is fresh and new. Married life is this new and exotic land just beckoning to be explored. However, life never goes as expected, and we see the trials and tribulations that come to roost with Janeece and Kirk, and their extended families. Tragedies of the worst sort befall them. Will they be able to remain true to their vows, or have they reached the end of their path together? 
Homefires is an exceptional and thought-provoking read, as we see how Janeece and Kirk take to married life. They have come from two different backgrounds, and it is interesting to see how they interpret and misinterpret each other's intentions based on their separate childhood learning experiences. This read is fully fleshed out, and all of Janeece's and Kirk's struggles are aired out, but also, so are their joyous occasions. Homefires follows Janeece and Kirk through their many years of marriage, and we see Kirk as he is called to become a pastor. Life certainly turns upside down for them on more than one occasion, but through it all they have each other, until certain actions are taken. Faith and forgiveness play a large part in this read as Janeece and Kirk struggle to find themselves, and each other. Though temptations arise, and tragedies befall them, faith will prevail. 
They are memorable characters, and the various and large amount of side characters show what it's like to live in a small town environment. I especially enjoyed being able to place certain areas in the book, such as Pigeon Forge and Asheville. It made the book seem all the more real to me. 
Janeece and Kirk are so realistic because they are just like every couple out there. How they survive through certain elements I don't know, but they do. They show us that life is not going to always be happy, but there is this ever-sustaining belief that things will work out for better or worse.
All in all, an inspirational, and haunting read as we see how certain tragedies and triumphs affect the lives of Janeece, Kirk, and everyone around them. Both faith and forgiveness prevail, even after all that has been said and done and that in itself is inspiring. I would definitely recommend this one to those looking for a contemporary, coming of age, or inspirational read. 

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