Learn more Download now Browse your favorite restaurants Shop now Shop now flip flip flip Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more



TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 March 2017
I have just discovered Elizabeth Day and am enjoying reading her list - this one is a slow burner. Caroline and Andrew have one child, Max, a golden boy who decides against university in favour of joining the Army. His grandmother Elsa has always been a prickly character, imposing and cool but her love for Max allows her to see his need and champion his cause even against her bitter experience of her father, Horace, who returned from the Great War a twisted, damaged man.

We move between Elsa's life, and that of Caroline mainly, these two women are the backbone of the drama. Thoughtfully presented, and well researched on matters of war and uneasy peace; there are dangerous currents swirling around them, we must watch to see if can they recover themselves enough to press on with their days, even if for Caroline there seems little point in rejoining the real world and Elsa, very elderly and ill, has few left to count.

The sudden loss of Max affects all the family terribly, and this is what is so cleverly written by Ms Day. Does a mother's love count for more than a father's? How can two broken people support each other? How will they come to terms, if they ever can, with what has happened? Reminiscent of other successful women writers on this subject, Joanna Trollope, Anne Fine spring to mind as well as Pat Barker, I found this a deeply moving, touching read that made me think, what if, this happened to me/us...
5 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 28 September 2017
Several agonising situations come together in one small family: shell shock, domestic violence, death of a child, dementia. I enjoyed the first half of the book; the writing is very good and the characters quite interesting, and there are some great observations of family members subtly putting each other down. From about half way through it got too much and I had to skim-read the detailed descriptions of various kinds of disintegration. I found it quite depressing without being instructive. There isn't a strong story line and the book is too long to just keep describing various types of misery.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 April 2013
I was really impressed by Elizabeth Day's debut novel Scissors Paper Stone when I read it a couple of years ago. She seemed to have a knack for getting under the skin of troubled people and dysfunctional families and, on the strength of her second novel, it seems she's not an author to shy away from difficult or uncomfortable subjects.

Home Fires is essentially the story of two mothers: Elsa, born in the early 20th century, suffered a difficult childhood at the hands of her father Horace who returned from WW1 a damaged and broken man. In turn Elsa grew up to be a cold and distant woman, always conscious of social graces and etiquette and scathing of those who do not meet her high standards.

Her daughter-in-law Caroline is equally conscious of her humble roots and senses (correctly) that Elsa looks down on her and doesn't think she's good enough for her beloved son Andrew. When Caroline's son Max is killed on active duty with the British Army in Africa, she spirals into a well of depression and desperation, focusing on seeking justice from the MoD for their perceived role in her son's death. As the two women are forced to spend time together through Elsa's ill health, the comparisons and contrasts and contrasts between them are cleverly and painfully highlighted.

Some of the story is told through flashbacks to the women's childhoods and key moments in the family's history. It sounds bleak and given the subject matter it was never going to be a light read, but it's very sensitively written and I felt I was sympathising with the family's distress rather than drowning in it. A poignant and sadly topical story; Elizabeth Day's writing has been compared to that of Margaret Forster and on the strength of her two novels so far I'm not going to disagree.
5 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 4 October 2017
Please don't read this book if you are feeling the slightest bit down. It is totally depressing and there is not one part of the book that gives it a lift. I read Elizabeth Day's Paradise City and thoroughly enjoyed this, yes it explored some deep topics but there were actual moments of loveliness in it too. Not the case with Home Fires, one to avoid unless you are a lover of darkness in life.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 13 June 2018
I have now read all 4 of Elizabeth Day's novels and she is definitely one of my favourite authors. Beautifully written, with great insight and depth. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys a thoughtful journey.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 5 September 2013
A story told over different time periods, with different narrative voices and covering three generations of one family.

I personally enjoy stories told in this sort of way so I liked those aspects of it. It's not an enjoyable story as such - the subject matter is a mixture of sad, grim, squirmingly awkward and occasionally just difficult. I thought the build up of tension and drama was about right as well.

Overall, it's a good read and intriguing enough to keep you reading to the end.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 14 October 2013
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!
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 28 February 2014
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.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 18 March 2014
About getting old and needing to be cared for. Home care vs nursing home. About losing someone dear to war and the effects on a relationship.
All depressing subjects but so well written it is worth a read unless you are feeling a bit down, in which case you should steer well clear
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 15 May 2013
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.
3 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse

Need customer service? Click here