Home Light Burning
Early Reviews

From award-winning author Suzanne Morris, Author of the Clearharbour Trilogy:

    This was one of the most gripping novels I've ever read.  The tight pacing and seamless writing, the fascinating story, and the totally believable and endearing characters just took hold of me and would not let go.  I loved the contrast of real grittiness, and then, sometimes when least expected, an outpouring of tenderness and humanity.  And such vivid descriptive detail.  I was right there on every page.

    ''Jim Ainsworth is a master story-teller. He is cut from the 'old rock,' the stone of Kelton and Dobie. He is able to weave a story that can transport the reader to a different time and place. Home Light Burning is a well written page-turner with crisp prose and dialogue that flows like a spring from a limestone bluff.'' --Plainview Daily Herald, December 24, 2009

By Mary J. Miller:

    Wow! Having read Jim's previous books, I was not disappointed. His writing is precise, true to the times, and the story line is gripping. I felt that I had been transported back to another place and time and did not want the story to end. Knowing that the story was based on facts made the novel all the more interesting and compelling. An excellent read by an author that needs more recognition. Larry McMurtry, you have met your match.

By Jo A. Cross:

    This is one of the very best historical novels I've ever read. It makes the reader feel as if he is actually in Texas during the reconstruction era. The story is gripping, and even better because it is based on real events. It is well researched and extremely well written. It is a fitting prelude to Jim Ainsworth's Rivers trilogy.

By William Thompson (Commerce, TX):

    Jim Ainsworth may be the best "undiscovered" novelist in America. Once again, he transports the reader to another time and place and brings his characters to life and into the reader's life. Based on factual events and blended with just the right amount of fiction, this may be Jim's best novel yet. A rare blend of Red Badge of Courage, Gone With the Wind, and Little House on the Prairie, this novel is destined to become a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. A must read.

Another Great Jim Ainsworth Book!!!!, January 7, 2010
By Rosalie Tidwell Oliver  (New Boston, Texas):

    Home Light Burning, A Novel Based on Actual Facts and Events was wonderful!! I have read all Jim Ainsworth's books and think he should be classified with our outstanding writers of today!! As usual, I could not put the book down. Jim Ainsworth's characters are believable and wonderful. I would read his books every day if he could write them that often. His period research is great and lends authenticity to the depth of his characters and the entire story. Yes, that is it, Jim Ainsworth is the best storyteller I read!!

By Loretta B. Kibler: 

    I did not think our family could enjoy a book better than Jim's last book, but we did! It is a masterpiece of intrigue and history. We devoured the book as it is not one to put down. The characterization is incredible, and we were hooked from the beginning. We believe it should be made into a movie, and we look forward to learning of Jim's recognition as one of the best writers of all time.

By Dr. Fred Tarpley:

    As always, Jim Ainsworth finds more truth in fiction than in limited facts. As a prequel to his three previous novels in the Rivers series, research and family stories blend to create illumination and drama in Home Light Burning.

    For Home Light Burning, set 150 years ago, Ainsworth only had tales he had heard from his father and grandfather.  When he could not prove their stories, he began to doubt them.  A chance interview with a prison warden led to a prison register. One line on the register told him he had been looking in the wrong places.  A trip to the Texas State Archives led him to information he had been searching for all his adult life.  Essential documents and news articles provided enough for Ainsworth to fashion a spellbinding novel.

    From Civil War scenes in Louisiana to civilian life in Ellis County during reconstruction turmoil, to starting life anew in Eastland County, to the trial in Dallas, to a fugitive who sees his home light burning but can’t come home, the narrative is suspenseful and filled with plausible encounters.

    The characters, real, fictional and historical are crafted so carefully that they blend harmoniously into the novel.  The story moves westward from Louisiana to Texas, where Rusk, and Waxahachie and then Dallas, Eastland, and Palo Pinto counties become settings.  Frontier life is depicted vividly, especially when seen through the eyes of a fugitive who sees his home light burning but can’t go home.  And the events are told in authentic voices of Northeast Texans.

    To help readers accept the amazing story, Ainsworth provides an afterword and historical documents to provide evidence of pivotal events and characters.  Home Light Burning provides a model for anyone who is wrestling with puzzling family legends with key pieces missing.  Through disciplined research and creation of unknown scenes that emerge naturally from the known elements, a significant novel such as Home Light Burning can evolve.

      Dr. Fred Tarpley, professor emeritus of Literature and Languages at Texas A&M University-Commerce, is a freelance editor who has written a dozen books on Texas literature, geographic names, language, history, and folklore.  He is the author of multi-media scripts about the Big Bend and Caddo Lake and of three plays.  For twenty-five years he directed the Texas Interscholastic League literary criticism contest for high school students.

By Paula Chamlee, Lodima Press, Ottsville Pa.:

    Home Light Burning is filled with the power of astonishing historical events that are beyond what we can, or would like to, believe (or forget).  Emotions are palpable as Ainsworth reveals the results of his personal investigations, and ultimately, the multi-layers of the journey of his forebears. Simply a great story, well told.

    There is great strength of character development in this work and Ainsworth expertly blends truths with fiction to weave a compelling and gripping story.  This book is an amazing, awakening journey with a message of survival through courage, determination, love and hope.  A great gift to all readers. Bravo!


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