Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Advance review - The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

Review of 'The Stars Are Fire,' by Anita Shreve.

Thank you to Net Gallery for giving me to opportunity to read and review this novel.



The blurb for this novel really intrigued me and I was delighted when I was approved to read the novel. This was a book that grew on me the more I read it. The fire was a dramatic beginning to the novel, after what I was beginning to think was a rather slow start. It certainly ramped up the novel from then! The fire was horrific and vivid and you become so immersed into the characters dilemma. Grace is so desperately protective of her children, you just will her to get through the situation. I couldn't imagine being in the situation myself and how I would react. This novel dipped and flowed with its action, and had a nice melodic tone..

Several really well developed characters entered the story and then some sadly disappeared; what I felt was too soon and was a shame. I would have liked to have seen more of the characters Grace connected with. I suppose this was meant to indicate how the lives of the people back when the fire happened became so separated from each other, and friendships lost. In that way it was realistic, but for the reader, still a shame!.

In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort. The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands' fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms--joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain--and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens--and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.

A complex twist that I was beginning to feel would never happen suddenly took the novel into a spiral toward the end and had me desperately hoping she'd make the right choice. I wouldn't say I was disappointed with the ending, just that it wasn't what I had envisaged and maybe didn't give the novel the bang that it started with. But overall, I really enjoyed the novel and learning more about the fires that struck the Maine coastline. Grace and her brave family had to be ever resourceful and these details in the novel made it really memorable so I would recommend.

Buy the novel on pre-order here:  http://a.co/0G0lWFv

UK - http://amzn.eu/4jy2gtm

More about the author ...




Anita Shreve grew up in Dedham, Massachusetts (just outside Boston), the eldest of three daughters. Early literary influences include having read Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton when she was a junior in high school (a short novel she still claims as one of her favorites) and everything Eugene O'Neill ever wrote while she was a senior (to which she attributes a somewhat dark streak in her own work). After graduating from Tufts University, she taught high school for a number of years in and around Boston. In the middle of her last year, she quit (something that, as a parent, she finds appalling now) to start writing. "I had this panicky sensation that it was now or never."

ANITA SHREVE's novels have sold more than six million copies and have been translated into thirty-six languages. She lives with her husband in New Hampshire.

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