Take a 1940's woman, give her a perfect life near the beach, a handsome husband, two adorable toddlers, a best friend, then have a fire sweep through and upend her life overnight. This is a quick read owing to Shreve's lyrical writing style and her realist characters. I liked the resiliency of Grace, who must conjure up the intestinal fortitude to do some difficult things.
The New York Times reviewer of this book says: ‘The historical record of Maine's Great Fires is a literary opportunist's delight.’ Shreve sets her novel with the 1947 fires at its center with Grace Holland, a young mother and fire survivor, as its main character.
I’ve read Shreve before and spent time on the coast of Maine so enjoyed this story and its setting. Born in 1947 myself, it was an interesting look at that post-World War II time for women. Good light reading.
Intrigued with the historical details of the fire. I found the female characters interesting, the male characters less so. The ending wrapped up too neatly for all. I am a fan of A. Shreve, loved The Weight of Water.
Enjoyable read with an interesting writing style. Strong female character faces a devastating and historical Maine wildfire.
Well crafted story, perfect, except a quick mention of Gene in love with a French woman during the war, which doesn’t work for him, only served to tell readers everything.
Grace may be one of the most memorable genuine female characters portrayed in lit New England.
I absolutely loved this novel. I love her writing style too; her very clipped sentences.
The story is very moving and is told with no excess of words. This surely is her best
novel yet. Don't read Publishers Weekly or Library Journal above because they spoil the plot
with too much information. ugh. ugh. dumb.and shame on them.
Inspired by stories of the largest fire in Maine history occurring in 1947, the protagonist is a young mother of two kids who saves her family while losing all of their material possession. The husband is missing and Grace discovers her own strength and resilience. It is a heartbreaking account of how wives are devalued and the how the patriarchy operated then to grind women down. Ending was disappointing because it was too uplifting and neat to actually fit with the story.
This is my first book by author Anita Shreve. I found the narrative gripping. Her prose is so evocative. While reading, when I had to leave the book to do something else: the story would stay in my head. I felt like, when you have a very vivid dream; and upon awakening, you are still in it. I am going to read the Pilot's wife next. Loved the book.
This is similar to The Pilot’s Wife in that the marital relationship is strained. Only in the post-war 1940’s its worse, because there are so few opportunities for a wife to succeed on her own. Married to a man who doesn’t love her, Grace knows “she made her bed and has to sleep in it” but when her husband disappears while fighting a forest fire, Grace has the opportunity to learn how strong she is as she becomes the sole provider for her two children and her mother. The return of her husband who has been badly burned and is furious she has created her own life and friendships with other men, makes Grace’s life miserable. But like all good fairytales, Grace lives happily ever after in the end. This is a good beach book.
The unexpected jolt in the plot line bumps this tale from the ordinary
To the very readable category.
Protagonist Grace's journey from servile housewife to confident survivor
Transforms the reader into a kind of shameless cheerleader for her courage and
Even amoral missteps.
Loved this woman's path of certainty and an ending that is both hopeful and ambiguous.
Quite short at 241 pages and so easy to read. I finished this in one day, most of it sitting in a comfy library chair and looking out over the sea - a good spot to read a story set in Maine! It's very easy to slip into Anita Shreve's stories, imagining being in her character's lives and houses. Really enjoyed this one and the ending was satisfying.
I've loved this author in the past, but her most recent books have just not delivered for me.
This book is well written and takes you into the life of Grace as she faces her struggles in the back drop of the fire in Maine in 1947. The descriptive writing soon takes you into the life of Grace and the loses that she endures in her life and the joy with her children. Interesting story about this young women who finds within her self the courage to make a new life out of the ruins of the fire and her loveless marriage.
A bit close to the bone maybe for Christchurch readers after recent events. However, this is an historical study of life in Maine in 1947. The people, their attitudes and the results from the decisions they made in the aftermath of their fire, make for an interesting story that would translate well to the small screen, especially the clothes and the hairdos..
Well written and a quick read, but an average story.
To say this is the story of a woman, says nothing yet it says everything. Grace is married to Gene and they have settled into their mutually defined roles. A fire erupts and destroys everything in its path including the town where they live, their family home and ultimately the life they knew. Grace finds strength and resolve she didn't know she had and rebuilds her life with her two children. Just when she is solidly on her feet, Grace receives the shock of her life. How will the new Grace fit into the mold of the Grace she lost in the fire? Will she once again find the courage to begin again?
Anita Shreve hit this one out of the park. An utterly captivating read.