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Stella Bain


Stella Bain Cover

ISBN13: 9780316098861
ISBN10: 0316098868
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

An epic story, set against the backdrop of World War I, from bestselling author Anita Shreve.

When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.

A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.

In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.

About the Author

Anita Shreve is the acclaimed author of 16 previous novels, including Rescue, A Change in Altitude; Testimony; The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club; and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange prize. She lives in Massachusetts.

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The Lost Entwife, November 14, 2013 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
Stella Bain is the first book I've picked up by Anita Shreve. I wasn't sure of what to expect, but with a story that is not only set in France during WWI, but deals with amnesia and the mystery of a woman's past, I figured it would be an interesting read. I wasn't disappointed.

The book opens with the story of a woman who is waking in a hospital in France. Her feet are hurting and, aside from understanding that she is in pain, she understands little else. She doesn't remember her name, or why she was there in the first place. In fact, only certain words seem to resonate with her and it is in following those words that her journey unfolds.

We follow the woman named "Stella Bain" through her time in France, working as a nurse's aid and ambulance driver, to England where she feels a powerful urge to seek someone out there. She doesn't know who, or why, but she knows that she should be there. During the process, she meets a doctor who is familiar with something new that is being diagnosed as "shell shock," and he begins to treat her in the hope that her memory will return.

This book did not feel like it was nearly 300 pages. Instead, I was so completely absorbed in the story, the hours passed me by unnoticed as I read, w ithout a break, from beginning to end. It was so emotionally connected to Stella that I felt her joy and her pain as her memories returned and the story of her life began to unfold itself in front of her again. I loved seeing the perspective of a doctor employing Freud's techniques so soon after they were discovered. And, most of all, as I've been reading quite a few WWI books lately, I enjoyed seeing a different perspective brought - a perspective that used the story of a woman who needed to make amends volunteering to do some of the most dangerous and heartbreaking work in the war.

I was only slightly disappointed by the neat ending; it felt as if the story just kind of fizzled out in favor of a happy ending, and although I understand why Shreve provided that ending to us, it did feel a bit far-fetched. Still, the overall story in Stella Bain was one that was engrossing, informative, and hugely entertaining and I would recommend it to any historical fiction readers.
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Product Details

Shreve, Anita
Little Brown and Company
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:

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