Stella Bain

Anita Shreve. Little, Brown, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-09886-1
Shreve’s 17th novel is a tragic yet hopeful story of love, memory, loss, and rebuilding. A young woman wakes up with amnesia in a battlefield hospital tent in Marne, France, in 1916. She thinks her name is Stella Bain, and she thinks she knows how to nurse and drive an ambulance. As she recovers, she returns to duty in this new environment, caring for the wounded and dying. When she arrives in the city exhausted and destitute, she’s discovered in a park by a doctor’s wife, who takes her in. The doctor, Augustus Bridge, is a cranial surgeon with an interest in psychiatry. Stella becomes a “quasi-patient”; he finds a way to get her into the Admiralty, and, when a former friend recognizes her by name, her memories return, including the fact that she has children—and the reason why she left them. The amnesia and its cause are only part of the story; the lack of understanding at the time of the consequences of witnessing the horrors of war, for both men and women, also plays a key role. The novel is both tender and harsh, and the only false note is the use of present tense, which prevents the reader from being pulled in more closely. Shreve’s thoughtful, provocative, historical tale has modern resonance. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, WME Entertainment. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/26/2013
Release date: 11/12/2013
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FORMATS
Book - 978-1-4789-8108-4
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-316-09889-2
Book - 978-1-4789-5364-7
Hardcover - 368 pages - 978-0-316-09885-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-21544-2
Book - 6 pages - 978-1-61969-218-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-76205-2
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