Anita Shreve's brilliant new novel - for fans of Anne Tyler and Maggie O'Farrell.
'Long before Liane Moriarty was spinning her Big Little Lies, Shreve was spicing up domestic doings..She still is, as effectively as ever, this time with a narrative literally lit from within' New York Times
The brilliantly gripping new novel from the New York Times best-selling author of The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection).
Hot breath on Grace's face. Claire is screaming, and Grace is on her feet. As she lifts her daughter, a wall of fire fills the window. Perhaps a quarter of a mile back, if even that. Where's Gene? Didn't he come home?
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.
Anita Shreve...writes with such care and knowing that it's impossible not to be consumed by her storytelling, her beautiful sentences always exceeding the sum of their words . . . Shreve is a literary talent for all, and this novel - up there with her award-winning The Weight of Water - is flaming good - The Times
Long before Liane Moriarty was spinning her Big Little Lies, Shreve was spicing up domestic doings in beachfront settings with terrible husbands and third-act twists. She still is, as effectively as ever, this time with a narrative literally lit from within - New York Times
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, skillful characterisation, and a richly evocative sense of place - Sydney Morning Herald
Like her sensational best-selling 1998 novel The Pilot's Wife, about a widow who discovers her pilot husband had a second family, The Stars Are Fire explores what happens in the secret spaces between married people...Masterful... lingers long after the last page is turned, like the smoke from a wildfire - USA Today