Saturday, September 6, 2014

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

When Stella Bain awakens in a French hospital camp, she cannot remember who she is, or how she got there – she’s not even sure her name is Stella Bain.  As World War I rages around her, Stella begins working as a nurse and ambulance driver, until one day when she is overcome with the need to visit the Admiralty in London, sure it will lead her to answers about her past.

Falling ill on her journey, Stella is taken in by surgeon Dr. August Bridge and his wife.  Fascinated by Stella’s condition, the doctor offers to help treat her severe shell shock with talk therapy, hoping to piece together her missing memory.  But it isn’t until a chance meeting with a man from her past that Stella discovers who she is, and what exactly she left behind to join the war effort.

Traveling through France, England, and America, Anita Shreve takes the reader on a winding journey as Stella first fights to discover her identity, then fights harder still to get back the life she lost.  Interestingly, Stella Bain actually is a continuation of Shreve’s previous work, All He Ever Wanted.  For those who enjoy historical fiction, you’ll find a quiet and steady story with a focus on family and identity.

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