Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Feature: Homefires by Emily Sue Harvey


About Emily Sue Harvey

Emily Sue author photoEmily Sue Harvey, author and speaker, writes to make a difference. Dozens of her upbeat stories and articles appear in Chocolate for Women, Chicken Soup for the Soul, women’s magazines, websites, and other anthologies.
She is the author of the novel Song of Renewal and the novella FlavorsH. Her new novel, Homefires, will be followed by two more novellas and another novel (Unto these Hills) later in 2011.
To find out more about Emily visit or

About Homefires

HomefiresHomefires 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.


Book Excerpt

Golden afternoon sunlight spilled over the heart pine vestibule floor, where Daddy fiddled with his blue shirt ruffle. “Does it look too sissy?” he muttered out the corner of his mouth, his features stricken with apprehension.
“You look just like a movie star,” I whispered, “Only better-looking.”
He relaxed, became Daddy again. Strong. The rock beneath my wobbly, stilettoed feet.
I clutched his arm and felt his hand squeeze my icy fingers. Lordy, was I nervous. Then I saw the groom’s party enter the front of the church, filing to stand before the pulpit. Horace “Moose” McElrath, a barrel of a fellow with corkscrew dark curls and eyes so smiley half-mooned I had yet to detect their color, took his honored place at Kirk’s side. As usual, his turkey-necking chuckle – always present when Moose was nervous – pressed a very latent giggle button deep inside me.
Daddy felt me shaking and gazed worriedly at my lowered head. “You okay?” he asked, patting my hand. I drew in a deep breath and brought the uncharacteristic mirth-seizure under control, nodding.
Then I really focused on Kirk. Another fierce thrill flared through me. Lordy – how did I ever not think him handsome? His loosely waved, wheat blond head glistened, awash with afternoon sunrays pouring through stained windows. From that distance, past one hundred heads, with me nearly hidden behind attendants, his gaze sought me out, found me. The connection – hokey as it sounds – szzzzzzed.
In a single heartbeat, I was back on my porch, nearly two years earlier, that evening Kirk’s contraption had idled to a halt before my mill village house, where I rocked and sang gustily along with Fats Domino’s Blueberry Hill drifting through my bedroom window. Moose, my friend from English class, hopped off the passenger seat and chatted with me when I moseyed to the curb – actually a front yard easily spanned in four giant steps – to join them. I quickly labeled the wiry, sun-bleached guy the Quiet One, who sat behind the wheel of his peach flat, his gaze studiously transfixed to something beyond that bug-splattered windshield.
“What you guys doin’?” I’d asked.
“We been fishin’,” Moose replied, grinning.
“Catch anything?” I slid a glance at the Quiet One.
“You kiddin’?” Moose yuk-yukked. “We eat all our Vienna Sausages and crackers and drunk all our Cocolas, then left. Lookin’ fer girls, hey, Kirk?”
The Quiet One merely grunted. Or did he? Feeling bad for Moose, I quickly said, “Moose, did you ever learn how to conjugate them danged verbs?” We laughed and guffawed over that because Moose usually copied my homework paper.
The driver of the vehicle remained statue still, arms akimbo, eyes straight ahead like a horse wearing blinders. Frozen, yet relaxed in an odd sort of way. Curiosity ambushed me.
“Who’s he?” I asked Moose, not caring what the other guy thought since he wasn’t even trying to be polite. Least he could do was speak to me, concede that I existed. So my question was in the same pretend-he’s-not-here category as his silent disregard.
“Kirk Crenshaw,” Moose offered glancing curiously at his buddy.
“He’s in my homeroom.” I’d just recognized him. “Hey! You’re in my homeroom.” Let him ignore that. A thing that truly nettled me was disdain. It pounced against this thing inside me that simply must placate everyone. Fact was, I felt compelled to befriend every danged person I met and would, in fact, have taken them home with me had Daddy been more social-oriented.
For the first time, the wheat blond head turned to acknowledge me and his hard mouth curved slightly, as if in amusement, or annoyance, I couldn’t tell which. “Yeah?” he muttered, as in “so what?” Little did I realize that he waved a red flag before me, with his Elk majesty and male mystique. I knew so little of myself in those young days that it was much later before I recognized what that flag represented. Challenge.
Monday morning in homeroom, I watched Kirk Crenshaw’s brisk entrance just before the bell. His carriage bordered on cocky. But wasn’t. His energetic presence affected me, as did his crisp, freshly pressed shirt and slacks – slacks that showcased firm buttocks and long slender legs. It wasn’t that he was all that good-looking, though with wavy sun-bleached hair, his rugged features weren’t bad. Kinda nice, I decided, in a tousled, inexplicable way. It was something in the way he moved, like harnessed steam, smooth yet forceful. Even the way he shoved his hands in his pockets, infinitely male, held me rapt.
Later, a prickly being watched sensation moved me to suddenly swivel in my desk to face the back of the room, catching Kirk’s study of me. Spring-green eyes, set amid olive-complected features, startled me with their intensity, making my stomach turn over as a warm feeling trickled through me like summer branch water.
I smiled. He smiled back, his gaze never wavering. Then a strange phenomenon occurred. The tough guy blushed. Yeah. He really did, though his eyes never left mine. And that blush changed my whole perspective of Kirk Crenshaw.
Today, across the church, I smiled at him. He smiled back. Deja vu. Only this time, his blush was because a whole danged church full of villagers eyeballed him flirting with me.

FTC Information: I received this book from Pump Up Your Book Promotion for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Ann Summerville said...

I stopped by your blog today.

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