A young mother faces unimaginable challenges when fires brought on by a long summer drought burn her home along with thousands of others on the coast of Maine. Left homeless and without resources, she must face the future in a town that no longer exists, search for her husband who has been lost in the fire, and attempt to find happiness once again.
— Suzanne Rice
This period piece set post-WWII Maine when women's lives were still shockingly proscribed, is particularly timely given the devastating wildfires in California. Who knew Maine suffered such an extensive fire one extraordinarily dry summer? That revelation, with interesting details about such fires, is the backdrop for the spell-binding story of one woman's struggles with married life and her losses from the fire. — Heather Bellanca
May 2017 Indie Next List
“WOW! I began this book and couldn't put it down until the last page. Shreve is a masterful storyteller who mesmerizes with her marvelous characters. Grace is a woman who is stronger than she knows and the adversity she faces proves that point. I loved her resilience and zest for life. The men in her life - Gene, her husband; Aiden, the pianist who loves her; and John, a doctor and friend - are beautifully developed and kept me engaged to the end. A terrific read. Loved it!”
— Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER Washington Post 50 Notable Works of Fiction 2017
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot's Wife (an Oprah's Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event--based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine's history
In October 1947, Grace Holland is experiencing two simultaneous droughts. An unseasonably hot, dry summer has turned the state of Maine into a tinderbox, and Grace and her husband, Gene, have fallen out of love and barely speak. Five months pregnant and caring for two toddlers, Grace has resigned herself to a life of loneliness and domestic chores. One night she awakes to find that wildfires are racing down the coast, closer and closer to her house. Forced to pull her children into the ocean to escape the flames, Grace watches helplessly as everything she knows burns to the ground. By morning, her life is forever changed: she is homeless, penniless, awaiting news of her husband's fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. With courage and stoicism, Grace overcomes devastating loss and, through the smoke, is able to glimpse the opportunity to rewrite her own story.
About the Author
Anita Shreve was the New York Times best-selling author of seventeen novels that have been translated into thirty-six languages. She lived with her husband in New Hampshire.
“Long before Liane Moriarty was spinning her “Big Little Lies,” Shreve was spicing up domestic doings in beachfront settings with terrible husbands and third-act twists. She still is, as effectively as ever, this time with a narrative literally lit from within.” —Mary Pols, New York Times Book Review
“Like her sensational best-selling 1998 novel The Pilot’s Wife, about a widow who discovers her pilot husband had a second family, The Stars Are Fire explores what happens in the secret spaces between married people…Masterful… lingers long after the last page is turned, like the smoke from a wildfire.” —Patty Rhule, USA Today
“Precise, evocative prose brings the story’s vivid characters to life…original and gripping.” —People
"Anita Shreve’s books are reliably engrossing literary page-turners, never formulaic…Shreve consistently creates complex characters and plots, often drawn from the historical record or from obscure headlines…Then she tells their stories in unobtrusively elegant prose." —Kate manning, The Washington Post
"This is a suspenseful and heartwarming story of not just overcoming but also growing in the face of great difficulty." —Booklist
"This is sure to be a best seller. Shreve's prose mirrors the action of the fire, with popping embers of action, licks of blazing rage, and the slow burn of lyrical character development. Absolutely stunning." —Library Journal (starred review, Editors' Spring Picks)
"It is a book of small moments, a collection of seemingly simple themes that build to surprising and moving crescendoes. Shreve's spare, economic prose suits her character’s practicality and initial hesitance to determine the course of her own life... Shreve's crisp writing becomes more expansive in the moments when her protagonist consciously stretches beyond the boundaries of her previously narrow life." —BookPage
“I had the sense as I read Shreve’s newest and 18th novel, The Stars Are Fire, that I was in the company of millions of phantom future readers who will adore this novel and devour it and recommend it to all their friends and book clubs…Shreve’s storytelling choices feel organically wedded to her writing, a winning and essentially magical alchemy…It’s all totally irresistible. Along with storytelling mojo and stylistic verve, this novel has an excellent, suspenseful premise: Grace’s life is upended and ultimately transformed by a real-life historical catastrophe, the wildfires that spread through coastal Maine in October of 1947, following months of severe drought….In fact, The Stars Are Fire is so virtuosic, so infallibly readable, it could very well sell more copies than all Shreve’s others combined.” —Kate Christensen, Portland Press-Herald
"One of the pleasures of reading The Stars are Fire is Shreve’s ability to impart an authentic feel of 1940s daily life... Shreve’s writing is lovely." —WBUR.com ‘The ARTery’