Well, I finished it. Anita Shreve's last book. I tried to take my time with it. Read to savor it--her language, her writing. Usually she writes about some town I've been to and loved as a child, some place near Boston, or Portsmouth, New Hampshire or Portland Maine.
Set near Biddeford Maine during 1947, The Stars Are Fire is about great tragedy--an infamous fire that wiped out an entire town. Anita Shreve did it again--weaving historical events with great fiction.
I loved the strong character of the protagonist, Grace. A mother who survives a terrible tragedy to create a budding sense of self. The book becomes really enjoyable to me after her husband, Gene, vanishes entirely from the picture, in the fire that decimates an entire town.
Shreve tells the story of abuse, endurance, hope, and close and sacrificial parenting--and she tells it well. She excels in painting the picture of what a good family and great friendships should look like--from a friendly doctor who saves Grace's life, but also gives her a job--to the chance romantic encounter that may or may not bring everlasting love to the person who deserves it.
I loved this novel. I will miss the imagination and literary prose of one of my very favorite contemporary story tellers. RIP Anita Shreve. I am so sorry for your loss, for your family's, but I am entirely certain your star burns just as bright up above me as I write this.