The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
an arc from NetGalley

I have always been moved to tears by Anita Shreve’s writing. Her focus on women and the struggles they overcome has had me on some emotional level, and The Stars are Fire is no exception, in fact, I am honored to have gotten a copy via Netgalley, and once it’s released, I’m buying a copy for my girlfriends and sister.

The story is told from the viewpoint of Grace who is married to Gene. They live in Maine and have two children Claire and Tom. She is a housewife who loves her family and from the beginning, you see the disconnect between them as a couple. Gene’s silence and demanding nature overpower Grace and she floats between grief and hope, a pendulum of sorts that heightens when he forces himself on her one night, resulting in another pregnancy. Before she can come to terms with it, the dry season brings wild fires and they lose their home and Grace finds herself homeless, loses her unborn child and Gene is Missing in Action.

I loved: Grace’s resilience and ability to make friends wherever she went.

The fact that Gene was not around did not stop her from seeking for ways to care and provide for her children and Mother.

I was relieved when: Aidan brought back the smile on Grace’s face and life and with him around and his music, there was some relief for Grace and the best part was she took the lead and chose happiness.

What’s sad is that Gene punishes Grace for a mistake he made, and when she asks him why he married her, the answer he gives was that she was pregnant, and he settled for her because she looked like the lady he’d loved while at war.

walking away

The urge to throw my ereader away overcame me because I wanted to punch him in the face when he said this.

Grace chose herself.

It was a difficult journey and her resilience is evident. As a reader you cannot help rooting for Grace because she is cheerful, and has the ability to make friends wherever she goes despite her marital woes.

There is also the struggle with societal norms and what is expected of women. When Grace tells her mom “ I want to leave him,”the response she gets is “You have to stay.”

Then Grace asks, “why?” and her mother calmly responds, “You are married.” The finality of that statement felt like a judgement to me and though they do come from different generations, I found myself feeling sorry for Grace.

I was moved by this book, because I am a woman. The fact that Grace believed in her love for Gene and their family (as something that is constantly expected of women) made me respect and identify with her as a character, and more so the loss and disappointment evident in Gene’s inability to reciprocate the feelings she had.

Expected publication date: April 18, 2017

Pre-order now on Amazon: $17.07 here

See review on: Goodreads

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