Title: The Stars Are Fire
Author: Anita Shreve
Published: May 2, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Obtained: Public Library
Synopsis: It’s October 1947. After a summer-long drought, a fire breaks out along the coast of Maine, displacing hundreds of families and killing so many. Grace Holland is left to fend for herself and her two children while her husband volunteers to fight the blaze. What happens afterward tests Grace, making her realize that she is stronger than she thinks.
The Stars Are Fire was another knockout for me! This is probably the first historical fiction novel this year that I have absolutely loved. Anita Shreve has become one of my top favorite authors because of this book, and I will DEFINITELY be checking out more of her novels in the future!
The main character, Grace, is easy to pity. Her husband is missing after the wildfire destroys her hometown, and she struggles to maintain a life for her and her children. During the 1940s, it wasn’t easy for single women, especially single mothers, to make it on their own. But Grace soars and manages to make a wonderful life for her whole family during this period of loss and poverty.
The kindness of strangers picks her up and gets her to a place where she can be hopeful, then she manages to find a job and a place to live. She even thinks she’s found love after the disappearance of her husband, Gene. But her top priority is her children, and it really shows.
Like I said before, it was easy for me to feel sorry for Grace in the beginning of The Stars Are Fire. But, as the novel wore on, I no longer pitied her but was inspired by her. By her faith in making the best of her circumstances, by her strength as a mother, even by her sacrifices as a woman. She is someone I can look up to and identify with in the struggles of my own life.
There’s Always a Catch at the End, Isn’t There?
Obviously I don’t want to give too much away in the hopes that you’ll read it. But something happens in the last third of the book that brings Grace down from the life she has built. And it really makes me angry. Not in a sense that I didn’t like the book, but that I felt infuriated that something could ruin what she’s accomplished. The struggle is real, my friends!
Despite this, the ending completely satisfied me and left me to ponder Grace’s life even after the conclusion of the novel. I was content with the way it was concluded, and I was glad to be a part of her life, even for a small amount of time.
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially women. I’m serious. I felt so empowered by the story that I never want to imagine myself a victim or pity my own circumstances again. I want to be like Grace and pick myself up and move forward. It can’t be stressed enough: READ THIS BOOK!! End rant.