Stella Bain

A Novel

Shreve, Anita

Book - 2013
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Stella Bain
"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."--

Publisher: New York :, Little, Brown and Company,, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 0316098868
Characteristics: 265 pages ;,25 cm


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Feb 23, 2015
  • InvernessS rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Anita Shreve is always a good read. Her story line & writing flows so easily, keeping me interested.

Jun 29, 2014
  • sammana rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This is quite an interesting story about an American woman working as a nurses aid and ambulance driver in the front line in WW1. She then looses her memory in tragic circumstances.
I think that the writing is interesting and passionate in patches especially during the time describing her life while she has her memory of the war, the trial and her visit to her old friend who was maimed. I wish Ms Shreve had written with the same passion and imagination throughout the book. The rest of the writing is only matter of fact and factual.

Apr 28, 2014
  • Jane60201 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A fast and pleasant read. The setting and story were very creative and unusual but toward the end it resolved in kind of a trite fashion.

Mar 28, 2014
  • Bearwomyn rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A friend recommended this book. I cannot recall who but am pleased for it. A fast read, interesting. During WWI an American woman flees, or perhaps it is more appropriate to say escapes, the violent confines of her prison-like home and abusive husband - an act, by default, that results in her also leaving behind her two young children. Unsure where to go and not knowing just how far away "safe" will be...she finds a temporary answer when a posted billet calls out to her "wartime help needed along the European front." She becomes a VAD, learning her nursing skills boat wise during the voyage over seas. This is a tale of her journey with complexities interwoven; a women of that century with limited rights, the traumatic face of war, a mothers loss, an abused wive's fears...broken relationships, personal self discovery. She finds herself, loses herself, hates herself, heals herself. We have rape accusations, custody battles, ambulance runs through muck and blood, an orangery, doctors, tin faces, private schools, shell shock, lost memories, broken hearted children, shrapnel both real and mental...uniforms, the admiralty, love, deceit, longing and resolve. I recommend this story.

Feb 07, 2014
  • pattyloucor67 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Anita Shreve is a master of words. This novel, set during WWI, tells of woman who has lost her memory. Found nearly dead in France, she takes a name (Stella Bain), an occupation (volunteer nurse and ambulance driver), and a mission (discovering her identity). As she discovers who she is ("I have children"), the author reveals Stella/Etna's past and seeks to redeem her future. As I read this book, I realized that when one reads a master crafts person, the words each take a succinct meaning. I loved this book, not only for the beautifully written story and characters, but also for the joy of words used so eloquently to tell it.

Jan 10, 2014
  • aggiefather rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed listening to this audiobook. The reader was very good. The story was interesting to me because I've always been curious about the Great War.

Note:I was surprised that none of the professional reviewers "connected the dots" and mentioned that "Stella Bain" is a prequel/sequel to the author's, "All He Ever Wanted" (2003) and includes most of the same characters. Don't they read the books they review?

Jan 06, 2014
  • creatureofhabit rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

i do like anita shreves writing & it did not take long to read this book. was slow going though. having read other books such as the pilots wife which was great. this one fell short.

Jan 01, 2014
  • kafkakat rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

If this was my first Shreve novel I would never read her again-her talent has always been creating 1 dimensional characters and dropping them into plots taut with tension and serving up a twist for the ending. Painfully boring, I finished this novel only because I hoped it would redeem itself.Terrible writing.

Dec 27, 2013
  • mayfairlady rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Love the writing. Can always depend on a good story from Anita Shreve.

Dec 18, 2013
  • wendybird rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I find Ms. Shreve's novels (previous include, "The pilot's wife", made into a film) like a wonderful warm bath with hot chocolate on the side - wonderfully written, clear and evocative, nicely drawn historical settings & characters. Perhaps not high literature - but not dashed-off best seller romance either. Perfect read for the couch on a cold winter's eve.


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