Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host the final stop on the
Stars are Fire Blog Tour
|Little, Brown Book Group|
2 May 2017
What's it all about...
1947. Fires are racing along the coast of Maine after a summer-long drought, ravaging thousands of acres, causing unprecedented confusion and fear.
Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her difficult and unpredictable husband Gene joins the volunteers fighting to bring the fire under control. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, the women watch in horror as their houses go up in flames, then walk into the ocean as a last resort. They spend the night frantically trying to save their children. When dawn comes, they have miraculously survived, but their lives are forever changed: homeless, penniless, and left to face an uncertain future.
As Grace awaits news of her husband's fate, she is thrust into a new world in which she must make a life on her own, beginning with absolutely nothing; she must find work, a home, a way to provide for her children. In the midst of 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.
What did I think about it ...
Set in Maine USA, The Stars are Fire focuses on the effects of the devastating wildfire which raged through this area in the autumn of 1947. Homes and lives were ruined forever and whilst this catastrophic event brought more than its share of tragedy into the life of Grace Holland, it also brought an opportunity to explore a life she could never have imagined. I was entranced by Grace’s story. I wanted life to be everything she ever wanted because she deserved so much happiness and just when contentment seemed to be within her grasp something comes along to shatter her expectations.
Beautifully written from start to finish this story has all the trademarks of this author writing at her absolute best. The narrative never falters; there are no superfluous words, no unnecessary waffle, just wonderful story telling from beginning to end. The succinctness of the writing only serves to showcase the absolute strength of an author who can say so much in just a few words.
There is something both profoundly sad and hugely uplifting about The Stars are Fire which, whilst a strange dichotomy, serves to accentuate the overall strength of the story telling. The author does a fine job of allowing the main characters to evolve with such precision that you can't help but become emotionally attached to them, and even though one character, in particular, is not at all likeable, such is the power of writing that you can’t help but be moved, emotionally, by his plight. She infuses the narrative with such a sense of empathy and understanding that by the end of the novel I felt like I was saying goodbye to close friends.
I am delighted to see that the author has returned to her beloved Maine for the setting of The Stars are Fire an area which featured so prominently in her earlier books. I am especially fond of The Pilot’s Wife and Fortunes Rock. There is no doubt that fans of Anita Shreve's excellent writing will love this book, and for those readers who haven’t read any of her work, well, picking up a copy of The Stars are Fire is a good place to start.
Best Read With...the tang of grapefruit and the smell of coffee, gently infusing
Anita Shreve is the acclaimed author of seventeen novels, including Rescue, A Change in Altitude, Testimony, and The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club. She lives in Massachusetts.
Visit the author on her website
My thanks to Amelia at Little, Brown for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour and for providing a copy of the book to review.