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The Stars Are Fire: A novel by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are Fire: A novel (edition 2017)

by Anita Shreve (Author)

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2051257,211 (3.99)7
Title:The Stars Are Fire: A novel
Authors:Anita Shreve (Author)
Info:Knopf (2017), Edition: First Edition, 256 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Fiction, Maine, wildfire, resilience

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The Stars Are Fire: A novel by Anita Shreve


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Grace Holland is living a fairly ordinary-if not particularly happy-life with her husband Gene and their two young children in Maine. It's the late 1940s, and Grace's life revolves around Gene and her family. She cannot drive, she does not have a job, and her role in life is pretty clearly laid out: serve her husband and their children. All that changes when an awful drought hits Maine. As a horrible string of fires burns near Bar Harbor, where Grace and her family live, Gene joins a group of other men to help fight the blazes. Suddenly, Grace is awoken in the night by little Claire: the fire is upon the house. Gene is still gone, so Claire rushes to save Claire and baby Tom, as well as her best friend Rosie and Rosie's two young children. They huddle in the sand near the ocean for hours, and when they are finally rescued, nothing will ever be the same.

This was an amazing book. I'm not always an historical fiction fan (the story is based on actual fire that occurred in Maine), but I'll make an exception for Shreve, whom I've loved since her beautiful novel, [b:The Pilot's Wife|5191|The Pilot's Wife|Anita Shreve|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1435011220s/5191.jpg|3131254]. There is just something poignant and touching about this novel. I was immediately drawn into Grace's story, and I read the novel quickly over the course of a day or so. Shreve creates a fierce and wonderful character in Grace, and you cannot help but root for her.

Grace is held back by so much in her life: her gender, her financial circumstances, her husband. After experiencing such a terrible loss: her entire town is basically burned to the ground, including her home, it's amazing to watch her resilience in the face of such horror. In many ways, it's not as if a lot happens in this novel, yet I feel like so much occurs during Grace's journey. I so loved her spirit, and I also wanted to swoop in and take away all the horrible things that occurred in her life.

I don't want to go into much detail and ruin the details of the plot, but I'll just say that this is a lovely book, with well-drawn characters--led by the tough and wonderful Grace. I was captivated by the story, and I would certainly recommend the novel. 4 stars.

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  justacatandabook | Jul 21, 2017 |
This is a story of survival. In the immediate sense, Grace saves herself and her children from a fire that courses through her small seacoast town in Maine. On another level, her husband Gene, goes missing after being called to help the town build a fire wall and Grace is left with no money, no home and two children. As the story build, a beautiful strong women emerges from the ashes. It’s even more interesting when you realize it’s based on actual events. It’s a fictionalized account of the October 1947 fire that ripped though Maine and burned for two weeks, destroying over 1000 homes. Grace is resilient and intelligent, making hard choices in the aftermath and overcoming many obstacles to take care of her family. I loved how she rose to the challenge and became stronger because of it. However, I think it was the author’s delightful writing style that made the strongest impression and left me wanting more.

Review previously posted at: goo.gl/XVtNof

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  Princetonbookreview | Jul 20, 2017 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this book - the setting of post World War II in Maine was based on a real life tragedy - a devastating fire that raged through several towns leaving people homeless. I found the story of bravery, friendship, love and survival one that kept me routing for the main character, Grace, from start to finish. It was well told and was a beautiful tale of a woman finding her true self. ( )
  tinkerbellkk | Jul 9, 2017 |
What a pleasure THE STARS ARE FIRE is to read! This book, although not a thriller, is so full of suspense, it is unputdownable and will keep you reading until late at night.

The great fire in Maine in 1947 really happened. The book's descriptions of causes and effects are fact. The story of Grace and her children could have been real.

Before the fire Grace feels trapped in a loveless marriage with Gene, although they both love their two small children. When the fire spreads out of control, Gene has been helping a group of men trying to prevent the fire’s spread to their homes. He is one of many who go missing. Now Grace and her children are homeless, they have no money, and their source of income is gone. Now, also, Grace does not know whether her missing husband is dead or just using the fire as an excuse to leave his family.

All Grace can do is wait. In the meantime, she does what she has to do to take care of her family, including her mother. She also becomes involved with men, both far better than her husband. You'll wish for an easy outcome. But no book as good as this one ever takes the easy route.

I found a new author. Anita Shreve is new to me, and I’m so impressed with her writing. Now I want to read her backlist of books.

I won THE STARS ARE FIRE from bookclubcookbook.com. ( )
  techeditor | Jul 8, 2017 |
Anita Shreve uses the Great Maine Fire of 1947 as a basis for this novel, making the fire an integral part of the story. The character's lives are built around the before and after of the fire's rampage.
Grace Holland is a young woman who appears to be unhappily surviving in a loveless marriage, with two small children and a third on the way. The fire wipes out their small town, taking most everything from Grace. How she not only survives but begins to thrive makes this a satisfying read.
I received an ARC of this book in the Goodreads Giveaway program. ( )
  jhoaglin | Jul 5, 2017 |
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Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
William Shakespeare, Hamlet
To my husband, with gratitude and love
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385350902, Hardcover)

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath--based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine's history

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 20 Dec 2016 09:34:19 -0500)

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