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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath - based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine's history

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. The women 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. And then the unthinkable happens - and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.

©2017 Anita Shreve (P)2017 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Stars Are Fire

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Disaster Strikes In 1947

This story is set on the Maine coast and deals with what is now referred to as "The Great Fires of 1947" where 200,000 acres of land and houses burned and it took almost a decade for the area to recover. This disaster forms the backdrop for another more personal story of crisis for the main character, Grace and her marriage.

Overall I really enjoyed the book and found myself listening with full attention. I loved the look at Maine in the late 1940's. I thought the description of the fire was heart pounding and harrowing. However, from a medical stand point, I struggled with the details related to burn victim care--even for the time. This was a small distraction for me and in the end it didn't ruin the story.

Be aware, the book deals with difficult topics, focusing on people in the midst of devastation coping with injury, loss and violence. Marital turbulence was also a strong theme. This was a fast paced listen and my first Shreve novel. I thought the blend of fiction during a nonfiction event was good. However, do keep in mind that parts of the story might contain too much graphic material and turmoil for some more gentle readers.

34 people found this helpful

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An absolutely wonderful book

I enjoyed this book so much. It was a wonderful story very, very interesting. The characters were complex.

9 people found this helpful

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Wonderful

A book that taps into emotions making you truly feel, all the while transporting you into Graces world.

6 people found this helpful

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Depression on Steroids

Let me first say that I am a fan of this author having read most of her books. This was the first time I’ve listened to one on Audible. Anita Shreve’s stories are often tinged with a backdrop of a dark storyline, but they are beautifully written and often relatable to the reality of everyday humanity. But after the first fifteen minutes of the narrators mono-tone depressing delivery I was ready to call it quits! I hung in there, ever hopeful that it surely was going to turn around and this woman’s voice would brighten with something other than this dirge. Somewhere along the way I got hooked on the storyline and kept listening until the bitter end. My advice to you Audible listener, don’t begin this book if you’re having any dark days in your current circumstance. The narrator just might be too, too much on a good day. Sorry Anita Shreve, love your books, but this one is best left to the voice in the readers head.

4 people found this helpful

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Great story, based on a true event

Inspiring story. It will particularly resonate with anyone stuck in a difficult, tyrannical and loveless marriage.

Tip: you might need to listen to this at a faster speed. 1.35x was the listening speed I chose and it was perfect.

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing effort from Shreve

There could have been so much more to Grace's story. This novel is predictable and lacks the period and historical details that would have made the somewhat uneventful story more interesting. The protagonist, while quite distasteful, lacked definition and an explanation of the reasons behind his behavior. He was poorly drawn and not quite horrific enough for me to be truly afraid of him. Shreve leaves too many questions unanswered -- especially about the mother in law, her jewelry, Gene's reverence towards his mother, etc.

2 people found this helpful

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Emotional and intense

Excellent writing, interesting characters. A slow building story that escalates in intensity. The narration was perfect for the story.

2 people found this helpful

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not Anita Shreve at her best

Very disappointing. One of those books about the past written entirely in the present tense. Tedious. The narrator didn't manage to lift the narrative.

2 people found this helpful

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  • MC
  • 02-02-20

wonderful as usual

Thank you, Anita Shreve, for allowing us to read your writing. I hope you knew how amazing your writing was and how it gave us such joy.

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Beautifully written

I’ve loved each and every book by Anita. She will be sorely missed. I am grateful for this last opportunity to see a period of time and a relationship through her eyes.

1 person found this helpful