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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an exceptional novel
Elizabeth Day's second novel is perfectly structured and beautifully written. It tells of the harrowing effect that two wars have on four generations of the same family. Day writes perceptively and sensitively about deep grief, inner torment and the ageing process (the toll the years take both on an elderly mind and a long marriage). The author skips skilfully from...
Published 20 months ago by The Cornishman

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad
intresting reading not quiet what I expected,
Different to what I usually read,Did't take long to read once started did have to finish it.
Published 20 months ago by V Onions


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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an exceptional novel, 31 Mar 2013
This review is from: Home Fires (Paperback)
Elizabeth Day's second novel is perfectly structured and beautifully written. It tells of the harrowing effect that two wars have on four generations of the same family. Day writes perceptively and sensitively about deep grief, inner torment and the ageing process (the toll the years take both on an elderly mind and a long marriage). The author skips skilfully from various poignant episodes of the past century to deliver a moving portrait of a family gripped by dark secrets and the death of a much-loved son and grandson.
For the second time in as many novels, Day has displayed a monumental aptitude to write about complex family relationships with style and compassion. Home Fires is an exceptional novel from an immensely talented young author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, 15 May 2013
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This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book brought back many memories of my own childhood. I WAS BORN DURING THE WAR so although I don't remember from the start I do the end and immediately after.
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant, Relevant and Deftly Composed, 8 Mar 2013
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Home Fires (Paperback)
Elizabeth Day's second novel is the story of Caroline and Andrew Weston, whose only son, Max, a lance corporal, is posted to central Africa. When out on foot patrol in the Upper Nile State, surveying the African countryside to ensure the safety of the local villagers, something happens to Max that changes the lives of the rest of his family forever. Back home in England, Max's parents struggle to cope with the devastation they feel, especially his mother, Caroline, who has always loved him with a particularly deep intensity. As Caroline falls into a depression, relying on prescription drugs to numb the pain, Andrew tries to pull his life together, but he feels rejected by his wife who does not believe that his grief can be as profound as her own.

When Andrew's ninety-eight-year-old mother, Elsa, has a stroke and can no longer care for herself, Andrew feels that inviting his mother to come and live with him and his wife, will not only help his mother, but also encourage Caroline to pick up the threads of their life - however, although this may be a solution to Andrew's concern over his ailing mother, is this really the best thing for Caroline, who has always felt socially inferior to and rather in awe of her sophisticated and elegant mother-in-law? And when Elsa comes to stay and finds herself marooned in her daughter-in-law's spare bedroom, and reliant on a woman with whom she has never really become intimate, is this arrangement a good thing for Elsa?

Moving between the past and the present day, and touching on the years in between, we first meet Elsa as an anxious young girl, in awe of her father and frightened by his unpredictable behaviour, which has been caused by his ordeals in the Great War, and we come to see how some of Elsa's early life experiences have shaped her personality and have contributed to making her the person she is. We also learn of Caroline's and Andrew's early days together, of their marriage and the long awaited birth of their first and only child and, when tragedy strikes, we watch the beginning of what could become the disintegration of their marriage. (No spoilers - we learn most of this in the first part of the novel). And alongside Andrew's and Caroline's difficulties, we read of the painful decline of Elsa's health, where: "she could not even put her sadness into words...she became to all intents and purposes, mute; a sentence rubbed out; a pause at the end of a line; a space where there had once been a person."

Beautifully and thoughtfully written, this is a poignant, relevant and deftly composed story which explores love, loss, grief, motherhood, the divisions of class and the tragedy of war. Although very sad in places, I found this an absorbing and moving piece of fiction and read the entire book in one sitting, totally immersed in the Westons' story. Reading 'Homes Fires' has made me keen to obtain a copy of the author's debut novel Scissors, Paper, Stone which was published to critical acclaim and won a Betty Trask Award.

4.5 Stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and unusual novel, 9 May 2014
This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
A poignant, elegantly-written book which grows on you as you get deeper into it. It's intense, dealing as it does with the subject matter of the effects of war on a returning soldier, bereavement, grief and the slide into senility. The characters of Elsa, mother-in-law to Caroline, Caroline herself and her husband Andrew are well-drawn and interesting, although certainly are not always likeable. This does not matter, the reader still wants to know what happens to them as the story progresses, unpicking their actions and emotions, painting a portrait of lives playing out.

An unusual book by a literary writer with real skill who knows her craft. Will definitely follow up by reading her other novel, 'Scissors, Paper, Stone'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It made me cry., 9 May 2013
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This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
I really enjoyed this book. It simply tells the story of how the death of their soldier son affects the remaining family members, namely the mother, father and grandmother. We are given insight into the characters as time flicks about so you learn a bit about their past. I thought the characterisation was great. Quite an emotional read, it made me cry several times.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching novel., 2 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Home Fires (Paperback)
The story deals with Catherine, who is struggling to cope with the death of her beloved son, Max; her husband Andrew & his elderly mother Elsa, who is struggling to cope with the aftermath of a stroke.
It's wonderfully descriptive. Even the minute detail is included, which makes you feel as if you are there living this along with the characters. Different chapters are from different characters' points of view, which I really enjoyed, as you get a different perspective. Elsa's deterioration really struck me, as she is presented as a such a strong women in earlier days.
It's quite topical as well with the mentions of war & peacekeeping in far away lands & I felt like I could identity slightly with this, having heard similar stories on the news these last few years.
An emotional & moving book, which touches on issues of loss, family, relationships & really just who we are as people. This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Day but I will certainly be seeking out her earlier work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting portrait of family relationships!, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
Elizabeth Day's 'Home Fires' carries the reader right to the heart of a family in crisis. Despite her formidable, controlling personality, we have to admire Elsa's spirit. Like Caroline, her daughter-in-law, she has almost succeeded in shaking off her past to reinvent herself: but each woman's brittle shell is cracked when unforeseen events strike. Inhibitions are cast aside, raw emotions surface and even the long-suffering Andrew has his own melt-down. Totally believable characters and convincing events make for a story that's unforgettable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 11 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
A great read delivered to my kindle. I would recommend this author to anyone who likes a spellbinding book. Great
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
This was an interesting read, focusing on the way two women deal with grief, switching between the decades. The author deftly demonstrates that while the time period may shift but the fundamental pain that punctuates our lives remains very much the same. The characterisations seemed both well-rounded and believable. I found myself wondering how I would have reacted in similar circumstances - would I have taken the same path as the two woman portrayed? I like to think but not, but who knows!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read!, 23 May 2013
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This review is from: Home Fires (Kindle Edition)
I liked the way the story was written from the various characters' points of view, particularly the stroke victim's. Chapters towards the end were rather slow. Nevertheless, I would recommend it.
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Home Fires
Home Fires by Elizabeth Day (Paperback - 14 Mar 2013)
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