4 Stars

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The Stars Are Fire - How a massive fire changed one woman's life.

The Stars Are Fire is part historical fiction, part women's fiction as it tells the story of how a raging fire in Maine changed one woman's life.  Grace is pregnant and living on the coast of Maine with her husband, Gene, and their two children when a massive fire breaks out in 1947.  Many of the men, including Gene, pitch in to contain the fire as it sweeps up the coast destroying just about everything in it's path.  Grace and her children survive by lying in the sand with half of their bodies submerged in the ocean until they are rescued.  Afterwards, Grace discovers that their house is burned to the ground and her husband is nowhere to be found.  For the next several months, Grace relies on the help of her mother and her mother's friends to begin rebuilding her life.  She and the children eventually move into her deceased mother-in-law's house that survived the fire.  What she finds there changes her life for the better, but then Gene returns, almost unrecognizable from his burns, and everything Grace has built comes crashing down around her. I have read several books by Anita Shreve, and I find her stories to be haunting and provocative. She writes in short clipped sentences that evoke vivid images and powerful messages. The Stars Are Fire covers a wide range of topics including love, friendship, family, and betrayal, but overall, it speaks to a woman's strength under duress. If you like historical fiction centered around a female character, I would also recommend The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.