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.
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.
An interesting WW1 story. I have read most of Shreve's books and must admit to liking some more than others. This one falls somewhere inbetween. You will need to pay close attention to the story line as there are many flashbacks. If you are or were a fan of Boardwalk Empire, you will recognize one of the tragic characters. "Stella" is a likable character, a gutsy woman, even if you don't agree with all of her decisions. If you are interested in WW1 and the part women played in it, as well as the mystery of memory loss, you will probably enjoy this one.
Another wonderful story by this great author
I have come to expect Anita Shreve to tell a story so interesting in detail and character development that I can't put it down. Stella Bain does not disappoint. From the details of the medical staff working tirelessly on wounded in the war to the fight for her children, I was pulled into Etnas life. The reader feels and sees easily
what the characters are going through. I only hope Anita shreve continues publishing these excellent novels.
It kept my attention which is hard to do but I was shocked it ended so quick. The end just was blah. Other than that it was good.