The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve – Audio
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. They 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. Then the unthinkable happens and Grace’s bravery is tested as never before.
My Review: 4 stars
The Stars Are Fire pulls you into the world of Grace Holland from the very start. Anita Shreve has a long history of novels with a steady pace and a strong story. Oprah’s Book Club pick of The Pilot’s Wife in 1999 helped put this author on the map.
I was unaware of the Maine fire in the mid 40s and shocked at how many people succumbed to injury and death because of it. Really, the stories about natural disasters are just as overwhelmingly frightening as any other type of calamity. People have no control and have to fight for survival with any means they have. Bravery, compassion and quick thinking were key to Grace’s survival.
There’s no great plot twist or climax that befalls these characters. Instead, this book offers us a deep look into one woman’s life as she plods through many different endeavors – both hard won and lost, as she recovers from her losses. I listened to this on audio and was won over by the narration. Grace’s strength is tested so many times within these pages and she’s a testament to enduring women everywhere.
Quotes I liked:
Everyday, there are choices to make and sometimes you make a selfish one.”
-“Each house has its own signature, unknown to all except the grown children who go back to visit.”
-“Grace wakes every morning to see if the world has sorted itself out.”