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The Lives of Stella Bain Kindle Edition
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I thoroughly enjoyed the sense of mystery in the early part of the novel when Stella is trying to regain her identity. I found her initial reason for fleeing to France an interesting premise for the novel and although I didn’t find her actions, because of her feelings of guilt, entirely convincing, I found the event that precipitated her being in France very effective.
I’m always fascinated by the setting of the First World War but, whilst I am thoroughly aware of the devastating effects it had on young men, I am ashamed that I have never really thought too much about the effects on the women working there too. This was a compelling and thought provoking element to The Lives of Stella Bain and I enjoyed this first part of the novel particularly because I was educated as well as entertained as I read.
Usually preferring a novel with a linear time scale, I actually loved the structure of The Lives of Stella Bain and the uncovering of the mystery surrounding Stella. Anita Shreve has magnificent insight into the human psyche so that Stella, as she is initially known, is a compelling, human and believable woman. I thought all the characters were engaging and I enjoyed the way in which the novel ultimately resolves itself around them.
As well as being well written and entertaining with some wonderful descriptions that give a dramatic sense of place, I thought The Lives of Stella Bain had great depth too. Anita Shreve considers the place of women in marriage and society, the role of motherhood and who judges (literally in this case) what it means to be a woman and mother. She raises the questions of identity and self, and of love and hatred, so that I was made thankful for the life and love I have.
The Lives of Stella Bain may be my first Anita Shreve read but it most certainly won’t be my last. It’s a highly appealing story.
Did my literary taste change or has she written too many books and become lazy. The plot is ridiculous coincidence after coincidence. Also parts of the plot are retold too many times.
I’ve given it 3 stars rather than 2 because I did finish it and it did start well and held my attention for the first few chapters.
I won’t be seeking her out in future.
What must it be like to not know where you came from, your heritage, your background?
This story is set around World war 1. So first, put yourself in that time zone.
Here is a woman in a hospital, no memory of her past or present, just now and again hazey sketches that she cannot piece together.
Its uncanny how she hits on the name Stella.
A psychologist helps her unravel who she is, but is she prepared for what she uncovers.
This is also a love story. Its a great novel from Anita Shreve and I would urge you to read this. Its very good.
I would like to thank ittle, Brown Book Group UK via Net Galley for allowing me my copy to read and review (
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