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The Stars Are Fire

by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve X
The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
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  • Dorothy L. (Boca Raton, FL)
    An Enjoyable Read
    I liked this book. I thought the main characters, especially Grace, were developed well. Her transformation from a survivor to a strong independent woman was believable to me in the context of the plot. Sometimes we have to go through life altering events in order to find out who we really are. The setting was almost like another character in the book. It changed as the story evolved and provided the external conflict that permeated the novel, man vs. nature. I think there is a great deal to discuss in this novel and intend to recommend it to my book club.
  • Gail K. (Saratoga Springs, NY)
    Enjoyable historical fiction
    Readers who enjoy novels about strong female protagonists will rejoice as they watch Grace Holland grow into a strong, independent woman after her repressive, unfeeling husband fails to return to her after going to fight a fire that threatens their community. Add to that the post-World War II time period and the backdrop of the Great Fire of 1947 that ravaged the coast of Maine from Bar Harbor to Kittery, and there is the making of a compelling read. I had to stop in the middle of my reading to google the Great Fire and then found myself that much more engaged in the story, knowing the fire had actually occurred. This was a quick read that stayed with me for several days after I finished it. I recommend it to fans of women's fiction and historical fiction. And, if you vacation on the Maine coast, as my family does - or if you long to - this is a must read.
  • Mary H. (Ocala, FL)
    In October 1947 fires in Maine destroyed thousands of acres of forested lands, decimated a number of coastal towns, and left more than 2,500 people homeless. In her latest novel, Anita Shreve uses these real events to weave a powerful story of loss and self-discovery.

    Grace Holland is a timid young wife and mother, existing in a marriage lacking in love and without any true communication or intimacy. Her joy comes from her two children and her neighbor Rosie.

    As the fires bear down on their small town, Grace waits with the children while her husband goes off to fight the fires. Grace and her children survive the fire but their home is lost and her husband missing. In the ensuing months, Grace faces many adversities but emerges a strong, self-sufficient being, able to meet challenges head on.

    I believe the author uses the fires as a metaphor for Grace's transformation. During the course of the story, we see her come through the fire, literally and figuratively. Just as the devastated land heals and starts to re-emerge the following spring, Grace does the same. In the hands of a gifted storyteller, Grace's journey to get to that place of healing makes for a superb novel.
  • Ellen, Polo Public Library, IL
    The year a state burned
    Like her previous books Shreve has written a story that grips the reader and doesn't let go. This story is based on true events following one family through a natural disaster and it's aftermath. The characters are developed quickly and the story just takes off. There is never a feeling of "just get on with it". Each turn of the page as the story unfolds takes the reader closer to the inevitable ending. I just wanted Grace's story to go on and for her to finally find some happiness in life after all that's she's been through.
  • Cindy B. (Houston, TX)
    Beautifully written book
    The Stars Are Fire is a beautifully written story that is both heart-breaking and ultimately redemptive. The story is based on the true story of the 1947 fire that burned a significant portion of Maine's coastal towns. As the book opens, Grace and her family live in a small coastal town that is in the midst of a drought. Grace struggles with the discontent she feels with her life and her husband. As the drought continues, the land becomes so dry that fire becomes a giant fear for Maine's residents. The fire begins fairly far away from Grace's town and skeptical that the fire will reach their town, residents are unprepared when the fire rapidly sweeps through and devastates the community. Grace saves herself, her children, her neighbor Rosie and her children but is left homeless and without a husband (Glen disappeared the night of the fire when he went to fight the fire). Brave and resilient, Grace builds a life for her family and spreads her wings as she was unable to do while Glen was around. When she finally feels that her life is on track, Grace is faced with yet another stumbling block and must force herself to survive.

    Grace is a fantastic protagonist; she is intelligent, quick thinking, proactive and loyal. Trapped in a situation beyond her control, she manages to overcome the obstacles and persevere. The world could use more people like Grace.

    My favorite thing by far about this book is Shreve's prose. Her writing is both elegant and stark. Shreve provides a fascinating window into Grace's mind; Grace is constantly wanting to know more than she learns from the news and her neighbors and frequently questioning why things are the way they are. Her constant questioning and thoughtful pondering added a different dimension to the novel and provoked a similar response from me as I view the incidents happening in my world. I also learned so much about Maine during that era and about the horrific fire that destroyed so many coastal towns. I like that Shreve provided that historical context for the story.

    I definitely recommend The Stars Are Fire and love that the cover is so perfect for the story. Thanks to BookBrowse for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 4.5 stars
  • Colleen L. (Casco, ME)
    Stronger than you know....
    Anita Shreve has penned another winner. During the late 1940s, a great fire occurred on the coast of Maine. Shreve used this true event as a springboard for her story about Grace who is a typical '40s housewife married to Gene. She introduces us to Grace's life - her marriage, her two children, her mother and her best friend Rosie. Here is where Shreve shines. Her characters are real and believable. The relationship between Grace and Gene is complex and Shreve does a good job leading the reader along carefully so that you understand something is amiss but are unsure as to what it is. When the fire occurs and Grace saves her children but loses everything, it becomes clear that Grace is much stronger than she initially appeared.

    As Grace struggles & finds her way, the reader is caught up in Grace's world. To tell you more would ruin the story. Be prepared when you read this book. Once you start, you will not want to stop till you finish. This is a one-sitting book! I've read most of Anita Shreve's books but I think this is one of my favorites. Grace is a character that you can empathize with & you'll love Rosie. A wonderful, enjoyable read. Shreve has a winner on her hands.
  • Becky M. (Crumpler, NC)
    Woman of Yesterday/Woman of Today
    Anita Shreve has created a character who embodies the struggle of women in the past as the precursor for women of today. Set amid the historical fires of coastal Maine in 1947, Grace finds herself cast into a life of struggle, suddenly without a husband, parenting alone, with no home, no work experience, no life skills. But she is not daunted. She is the classic driven woman, determined to take care of her family and to re-invent herself. I could not put down this book, eager to see if life would equalize for her or defeat her--if love would elude her or find her. The reader roots for Grace, urging her to move forward, to give herself the good in life, and to follow her heart.


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