The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
A novel

72%

11 Critic Reviews

Ultimately, this is a suspenseful and heartwarming story of not just overcoming but also growing in the face of great difficulty.
-https://www.booklistonline.com

Synopsis

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

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.
 

About Anita Shreve

See more books from this Author
Anita Shreve is the acclaimed author of 16 previous novels, including Rescue, A Change in Altitude; Testimony; The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club; and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange prize. She lives in Massachusetts.
 
Published April 18, 2017 by Knopf. 256 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on May 07 2017
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Stars Are Fire
All: 11 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
on Feb 21 2017

The back stories of the main characters are so sketchy that their actions seem unmotivated and arbitrary. Formulaic plot aside, worth reading for the period detail and the evocative prose.

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Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Jun 19 2017

...Gene’s cruelty to Grace seems disproportionate to its purported rationale, and the novel’s final pages feel implausible and anachronistic, even given Grace’s newfound self-reliance. Nevertheless, many readers will be buoyed by Grace’s strength...

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The Maine Edge

Good
Reviewed by Allen Adams on Apr 19 2017

“The Stars Are Fire” brings a lot to the table – historical veracity, complex female characterization, tragedy, romance and more – and packages it all in breezy prose that bears the reader aloft with feathery lightness...Anita Shreve’s narrative floats brightly and maintains its great heights even when plumbing the depths of tragic events.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Good
Reviewed by Kerryn Goldsworthy on May 04 2017

Shreve's account of the fires is terrifying, and her portrait of a bad marriage almost equally so. Her recreation of post-war, pre-feminist American society is a model of elegant restraint, deep feeling, skilful characterisation, and a richly evocative sense of place.

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The Coast

Above average
Reviewed by Stephanie Jones on Apr 28 2017

For some readers, Grace’s remoteness will lend The Stars are Fire a forbidding, even offputting, tone. Others may find the change in direction, from external disaster to household peril, too acute, or the ending twee. But Shreve makes some bold narrative choices...

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Bookblog of the Bristol Library

Above average
Reviewed by Brenda G. on May 19 2017

The writing style is similar to that of the late Maeve Binchy, being rather spare but wholly satisfying. Shreve writes from third person limited, with Grace as the main character and narrator.

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ReviewAtlas.com

Above average
Reviewed by Rae Padilla Francoeur on May 02 2017

Shreve tackles dark subjects like shame, sexual abuse and emotional deprivation. She’s a good storyteller in the genre of New England gothic.

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Ocala.com

Good
Reviewed by Rae Francoeur on May 02 2017

The first paragraph accomplishes a lot. Shreve’s writing is both lovely and purposeful, her words gracefully orienting us. A few sentences into the book and we’re off and running, wholly under the spell of an expert storyteller.

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https://www.washingtonpost.com

Good
Reviewed by Kate Manning on Apr 26 2017

Shreve knows a great deal about the human ability to resist despair, and this novel, like many of her others, shows how hard work and compassion are — sometimes — rewarded. It’s no spoiler to say that in “The Stars Are Fire,” stoicism, kindness and courage win the day over bitterness and cruelty.

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https://www.booklistonline.com

Good
Reviewed by Cortney Ophoff on May 01 2017

Ultimately, this is a suspenseful and heartwarming story of not just overcoming but also growing in the face of great difficulty.

Read Full Review of The Stars Are Fire: A novel

https://historicalnovelsociety.org

Good
Reviewed by Jo Ann Butler on May 01 2017

The Stars are Fire is a tale of survival on many levels. Award-winning Anita Shreve’s novel is terrific entertainment, and Grace’s personal story is particularly compelling.

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Reader Rating for The Stars Are Fire
78%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 94 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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