Hawkins Lane by Judith Kirscht

Rated 5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(2 customer reviews)

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Son of a murderer, Ned Hawkins has resigned himself to an outsider’s existence until he meets Erica Romano, daughter of the town’s new doctor. Their love of the mountains overcomes their dissonant background, and they fall in love and create a life for themselves as forest rangers in the North Cascades—until the release of Ned’s father from prison disrupts the harmony.

When Erica rebels against Ned’s renewed fatalism and over-protection, her recklessness sets off a chain of disasters that begins with a near fatal accident and ends with the disappearance of Bonnie, their daughter and finding the body of Ned’s brother in the stream below their house.

The search for their child and the investigation into the death brings both face-to-face with the destructive power of their pasts. They return to their mountain home much changed.


2 reviews for Hawkins Lane by Judith Kirscht

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Editor (5 stars are editor’s, not original review, which did not use a star rating)

    An engrossing story of the influence of family in our lives, and of the struggle by two people to triumph over tragedy. You’ll be captivated from the first page!

    Kirscht has penned a poignant story of two good people who struggle to escape their past and carve out a fulfilling life together. At its very core, this novel asks the compelling question of whether you can overcome the influences of family, and also, whether you can survive the consequences of your own actions.

    As far as the people of the small town of McKenzie Crossing are concerned, Ned Hawkins is from the wrong side of the tracks. And that’s putting it mildly—his father is a convicted murderer, his brother an alcoholic with a violent streak. Ned has spent his entire life feeling trapped and attempting to outrun his family’s legacy.

    As Hawkins Lane opens, Ned has escaped on his daily trek into his beloved Cascade Mountains to find peace and solace. By chance, he comes upon a young woman, Erica Romano, fishing in a creek far from town. Erica is also escaping from the demands of her family, though their circumstances are very different: Erica is the daughter of the town’s new physician and related to the rich and powerful McDonald family, owners of the local mill.

    For both, it is love at first sight. Ned has grave reservations about exposing Erica to his family and wants to protect her by keeping his distance. Erica persists, convincing him that she needs him as much as he needs her.

    Unfortunately, family almost always finds a way to impact one’s life, and depending on the family, that impact can lead to tragedy. Ned’s brother, who has been spiraling out of control ever since their father was sent to prison, ends up in trouble with the law. Erica, who is by nature a risk-taker, places herself in danger far too often, and the mountains are not always a forgiving place. However, when Ned’s father is released from jail he spreads his own brand of poison, driving deep wedges and creating divided loyalties. Erica and Ned are challenged in ways that even they could not predict nor expect.

    Hawkins Lane is an excellent and ultimately redemptive story about the heart-wrenching tragedies a family can survive, and about the healing powers of nature and friendship. The characters and the story will linger long after the last page is read.

    -Chanticleer Reviews (http://www.chantireviews.com/2015/06/18/hawkins-lane-by-judith-kirscht-a-literary-romantic-mystery/ )
    Editor (5 stars are editor’s, not original review, which did not use a star rating)

  2. Editor

    Judith Kirscht’s fourth published novel, Hawkins Lane (New Libri Press), is part love story, part family saga, part mystery. Set in Washington State, its principle characters, Ned and Erica Hawkins, seek fulfillment and redemption in the North Cascades.

    Kirscht is a writer who plants her stories firmly in setting: place drives character; character is motivated and transformed by place. Kirscht locates her novels in settings she knows intimately – Ann Arbor (Nowhere Else to Go), Chicago (The Inheritors), Santa Barbara (Home Fires), and now the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle and the mountains that straddle the top of the state and extend into Canada.

    In transitioning between two points of view, those of Ned and Erica, Kirscht is able to build the suspense that propels the reader through the narrative. Ned is reserved,
    reined in by his family’s past, hesitant about sharing his life with outsiders. Erica is impulsive, lively, stubborn – an outsider who falls in love with both Ned and his environment. Together, they become forest rangers, build a home in the mountains, and raise a daughter, Bonnie, who is both nourished and frustrated by their often incompatible natures.

    Hawkins Lane is the story of a man’s struggle to escape the manacles of his past, and a woman’s determination to overcome her limitations. The narrative drive of the story is a tribute to Kirscht’s ability to simultaneously convey the pain of coping with adversity, and the joy of inhabiting the ‘place’ that brings repose. As W. Somerset Maugham famously said:

    “Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.”

    -Toni Fuhrman, author of One Who Loves
    (Editor Note: stars are editors, not original reviewer who did not use a star system)

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