Family is a complicated thing. If we’re lucky, we actually get to grow up with one and develop close relationships within it. Whether you become close with your family members or not, there are always going to be challenges and issues, as with any relationship. Now, try including a crippling accident, an affair, and a potential murder into the mix, and imagine trying to survive as a close knit group.
Judith Kirscht takes the reader through this journey in her fourth novel, Hawkins Lane. After reading Kirscht’s last three novels, it is clear that this author enjoys exploring the topic of family. She brings to life tough scenarios that make one question relationships with the people we’re born into loving. Questions of forgiveness, self-acceptance, and looking past addictions.
What I enjoyed about Hawkins Lane the most was experiencing the wild adventure through both of the main character’s eyes. Ned and Erica are both strong-willed and stubborn and happen to fall in love with each other. They’re both dealing with their own family battle when they first meet—Ned trying to escape his tarnished family name and Erica trying to break away from the plan her family imagined her to follow.
We all have family members that get under our skin, but what if you became ashamed of your family? It’s more common in small towns when everybody knows everybody, but what if people literally turned the other way when they saw you coming because you’re associated with a convicted murderer? Ned is constantly trying to escape this throughout the novel, but his family’s “curse” won’t leave him.
In a way Erica becomes his savior, but life can only be blissful for so long before another tornado comes spinning through and uprooting life. Not only does their relationship get put through a series of harsh tests, but their own character as well. Two ornery people in one relationship can lead to many frustrations, and to be honest I found myself frustrated with them both not just as a reader, but at their recklessness with common sense in some cases.
There were many moments throughout the novel I wished I could grab both Ned and Erica by the shoulders, stare them in the eyes and ask, “What the hell are you doing?” Even though it was just a fiction story, it still reminded me of having patience and allowing people to work through things in their own time and way. Maybe to some, being reckless is showing passion and drive.
Despite it taking me awhile to get completely captured by the story, once I got to end I was by no means disappointed. Any story that leaves me anxious to pick it up again and become invested in the characters is a great story in my book. Judith Kirscht’s writing is always beautifully descriptive and comes alive in unique ways. I look forward to seeing what future surprises she has up her sleeve.
New Libri Press