Book review: The Stars Are Fire

Five months pregnant with two toddlers already, Grace Holland is a 1940s housewife, trapped in a loveless marriage.

Anita Shreve

Little, Brown, £18.99 HB;

ebook, £9.99

When fires sweep Maine, she is left homeless and destitute — and her husband Gene has vanished.

For Grace, the tragedy brings both uncertainty and incredible freedom as she struggles to survive. Then, in another shocking twist, she faces danger as never before.

A compulsive read, this novel pulled me into an ordinary woman’s life and made me care too much about her to put the book down.

My attention was gripped until near the end — when the characters suddenly felt stereotypically good or bad.

I kept reading, but this increasingly grated. Then the novel’s too cute, tidy and unlikely ending lost my sympathy completely.

As I closed this rollercoaster read, I felt oddly empty.


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