Book Review: Hawkins Lane

Hawkins Lane Cover

Hawkins Lane Cover

When Ned Hawkins meets Erica Romano, they’re in the heavily forested North Cascade mountains. Ned spends a lot of his time in the woods, alone, as far away as he can get from the town of McKenzie Crossing. The townspeople make him feel trapped, unwanted, lumping him with his rough, hard-drinking relatives and his father, in prison serving a sentence for murder. Ned won’t have anything to do with his father, uncles, not even his brother, but nevertheless he’s still associated with the Hawkins clan.

Ned finds Erica Romano fly fishing with the expertise of someone who is used to handling herself in the woods. She’s happiest on horseback, fishing, or hiking in the great outdoors.

As Hawkins Lane by Judith Kirscht surges forward in time, Ned, Erica and their daughter Bonnie are a family happily living the lives of forest rangers. Their world crashes when Ned’s father is released from prison. It goes into further decline when a tragic accident affects all their lives. The family learns the truth about themselves as the result of these incidences and struggles for the strength to cope.

Hawkins Lane is a sweeping novel delving into the Hawkins’ lives, not only of Ned and Erica, but of their extended families as well. Kirscht weaves a story teemed with suspense and laced with emotions borne of shame, fear and secrets kept too long.

A fine contemporary novel and a worthy family saga, the author shows a keen sense of story. Her characterization skills are extraordinary as she captures the lives of not only Ned, Erica and Bonnie, but also of Ned and Erica’s mothers and other family members. Kirscht’s in-depth descriptions of pristine mountain wilderness are exquisite.

Hawkins Lane is available in e-format, but will soon be published in trade paperback. Whatever your preferred format, don’t miss this splendid novel. For more information about Judith Kirscht, visit


Book Review: Home Fires

Home FiresJudith 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.

The story takes place on the Santa Barbara, CA coast and the author beautifully sets the various scenes, making the reader feel as though she breathes the salty air while walking along the beach, strolls quaint streets of the water-front town, or skims along waves while sailing the Santa Barbara Channel.

Although the subject matter is serious, Home Fires is an enjoyable read. Kirscht handles the subject of a complicated dysfunctional family with finesse. The various facets of the story are believable with realistic dialog and situations. Home Fires is an excellent novel, one I enjoyed immensely. Even when I wasn’t reading it, the story was on my mind, trying to second-guess the outcome.

Home Fires is currently available in ebook format, but soon also will be available in paperback. For more information about Judith Kirscht, visit

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