Martin's Must Reads: 'The Stars are Fire'

Apr 16, 2019

“A spring of no spring. On the last beautiful afternoon, over two weeks ago, there was wash on the line in every front porch and backyard.  With white sheets, undershirts, and rags flapping in the wind, it looked as though an entire town of women had surrendered.”

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and so begins the story of Grace and the life she has surrendered to her husband Gene in Anita Shreve’s novel The Stars Are Fire. It’s obvious from the very beginning of the story that he doesn’t love her, but that she will be faithful to her marriage vows. After all, she can’t drive, has never had a job and spends her days taking care of her two young children. The highlights of her days are visiting with her mother and her neighbor Rosie.

After weeks of constant rain, the 1947 summer turns to blistering heat, a drought and then the worst fire in Maine’s history. Grace saves her children by laying with them at the water’s edge. Once rescued, she loses her unborn child and discovers her husband is missing. She takes her children and her mother, moves into her dead mother-in-law’s home and rents a room to a talented pianist who has sought refuge in the house. Grace falls in love with his music and him.

She learns to drive, finds a job and discovers the power of her own resilience. And then her husband returns. He’s badly scarred both physically and mentally. The reader is immediately drawn into the story and watches Grace come into her own and find the power to do what is right for her and her children.

If you love a well written story about strength and resilience, then you must read The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreveport.