"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
Anita Shreve's newest novel, The Stars Are Fire, is a book that I have had on my radar for awhile and when I saw it in paperback I grabbed it up. It was a perfect book for my girl's weekend to Orange Beach over this past Mother's Day. I actually read two books over the long weekend...lots of time for reading on planes and sitting by the pool!
I've long been a fan of Shreve and this book did not disappoint. The main event of the book was based on a true event that occurred in 1947 in Maine. Maine experienced a devastating drought that summer, leading to wildfires in the fall that I read elsewhere burned over 17,000 acres and killed sixteen people.
In the novel, Grace Holland is married with two children, expecting her third. Her husband, Gene, had returned from the war with issues that he would not discuss or deal with. Grace spent as much with her neighbor Rosie and her children during the day when Gene is at work. That seems to be the only time Grace has any joy in her life, other than with her children.
As the fires got closer to their small community, Gene left with the other men to help build a fire break. Grace fell asleep that night, waking to her daughter's screams. She put the two children in the baby carriage and headed for the beach. From that point on, Grace is left to deal by herself with every situation that occurs. She was forced to summon up all her internal strength as she struggled to care for everyone around her.
There were some surprises and twists in the story that I enjoyed. I especially loved reading of Grace's strength and determination at the end.
It was a good book, and an especially good summer beach read!