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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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There are currently 34 member reviews
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  • Bea C. (Liberty Lake, WA)
    Absorbing story
    I became engrossed in this novel and read it in two days. I wonder what would have happened to this women and her children if she hadn't had the advantage of her mother-in-law's house to live in and her mother to babysit while she got a job? Would she have appeared to be so strong? I thought her husband's character was one-dimensional, pure evil, and the ending was a bit fanciful for me, but it was a good read.
  • Mary Jane D. (Arlington Heights, IL)
    An Easy Read
    Anita Shreve is a good storyteller who develops her characters well. I found myself very sympathetic to Grace and her mother Marjorie.
    The story is set in the time frame of my parents and myself as a child so I related to many details. The terrible fire is a documented event so makes the story very believable.The plot is a bit predictable but I was left satisfied with the ending.
    I usually read historical fiction and this one was easy to read and did not require remembering a lot of details. It would be a good choice for someone who wants a fast read and a fairly uncomplicated story. Might be a good book club selection.
  • Kathy (ME)
    A Slow Burn for Cold Weather
    Three and a half stars.

    It was fascinating to read a fictional account of a major historic event in my home state. My familiarity with the area (coastal Maine) brought this book to life and added to the intensity and immediacy of the story. I knew nothing of this devastating fire but it was easy to imagine being forced towards the ocean for refuge. Shreve does a fantastic job of creating a sense of the time (late 1940s) and many of her characters jump off the page. The first third of the book in particular creates a "slow burn" (pun intended) that made this quite a page-turner.

    Where the book lacked a bit for me was in some of the plot points following the fire. Just as Grace is gaining independence and individual strength, somewhat trite romantic encounters and muddled subplots diminish both her independence and the story line. Some of these later characters feel somewhat contrived, and the end of the book does devolve a bit into a thriller rather than the beautiful fiction it starts out as. Still, it was difficult to put this book down and Grace is an easy character to root for.
  • Randi H. (Bronx, NY)
    The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve
    This is a lovely book abut a woman who discovers, during a time of tragedy and sorrow, who she really is and the extent of her inner strength. Set in Maine after WWII, Grace Holland is left alone with her small children following a natural disaster. She must figure out a way to survive and, in doing so, she begins to really live and feel alive. I enjoyed this book immensely, although found the ending a little too pat. But Grace is an interesting character and enjoyable to get to know over the course of the book.
  • Loretta F.
    A Sentimental Journey
    I was born in 1946, so this book was a fond trip down memory lane for me. I loved reading about the wringer washing machine, and ironing leaves placed between sheets of waxed paper. I think the author did a good job in portraying that time period with only a few exceptions in the dialogue of her characters. For example, on page 161 when Marjorie tells Grace that all used car salesman are crooks, she replies, "And you know this how?" That phrase is very contemporary, as is "Good luck with that," Grace's reply to Amy on page 198.

    But these are minor issues. I couldn't give a five star rating because I had a hard time accepting the ending. It was just too pat and did not seem credible to the time period. Still, it is a dramatic story, with the extreme weather and runaway fire a metaphor for what is going on in Grace's life.
  • Pamela F. (Sun City West, AZ)
    This book was difficult for me to get into. I really wanted to learn more about the historical fire in Maine...and I did learn some...The difficult marriage of this couple really bogged me down. Maybe it was my mood...but I was tired of them. Will put it on my shelf and pull it down in 6 months to see if my feelings change. Anita is an excellent writer, but the book did not grab me.
  • Mary B. (Laguna Woods, CA)
    I have read & enjoyed most of Anita Shreve's books but was disappointed in this one. It is a quick read for the beach but I would have enjoyed more depth on the fire and it's aftermath.


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