Monday, April 25, 2016

Stella Bain - #TeaserTuesday and First Paragraph / First Chapter / Tuesday Intros

    Anita Shreve is such an excellent writer! I've just finished reading Stella Bain (published in 2013), and I loved the story. The plot takes place in Europe during World War I, before the United States became involved in the conflict. I don't want to include spoilers, so I'll just say that when the story opens, the main character has lost her memory.
    The author included vivid descriptions of the treatment of wounded soldiers during that war, and also gave me an appreciation of the way women were perceived. For example, a diagnosis of "shell shock" in men was deemed "hysteria" in women. Stella Bain's story unfolds slowly, as the protagonist recovers her memory, and the author goes deep inside her characters. My only complaint, and it's a minor one, is that I would have liked a little more time and attention given to the ending. But maybe that's because I didn't want the story to end! Otherwise, this is a fascinating book that I enjoyed immensely.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Length: 261 Pages (Hardback)
Amazon Link: Stella Bain
Author Website: Anita Shreve Books

First Paragraph(s):
Marne, March, 1916
    Sunrise glow through canvas panels. Foul smell of gas gangrene. Men moaning all around her. Pandemonium and chaos.
    She floats inside a cloud. Cottony, a little dingy. Pinpricks of light summon her to wakefulness. She drifts, and then she sleeps.
    Distinct sounds of metal on metal, used instruments tossed into a pan. She tries to remember why she lies on a cot, enclosed within panels of canvas, a place where men who die are prepared for burial away from the rest of the wounded, a task she has performed any number of times.
    She glances down and finds that she is wearing mauve men's pajamas. Why do her feet hurt?

Teaser (from Page 57 of my hardback copy - I cheated and included three sentences):
    Stella has a sudden and intense desire to flee, but she cannot run away from the man beside her. Instead, she freezes rigid on the spot, unable to move a limb, unable to make sense of anything happening around her. She reaches for the back of her neck, certain that someone or something is about to grab her.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):
    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.



Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Jenn of Books and A Beat. Post two sentences from somewhere in a book you're reading. No spoilers, please!

First Chapter/First Paragraph/Tuesday Intros is hosted by Bibliophile By The Sea. To participate, share the first paragraph (or a few) from a book you're reading or thinking about reading soon.



Twitter: @SandyNachlinger

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27 comments:

Margot said...

You are so right about her descriptive writing. It's beautiful. I'd like to read more.

Cleo Bannister said...

This sounds very good indeed - I think we realise how far we've come as women when you realise how very recently there was such a huge gap between the way men and women were treated, particularly by the medical profession. I love Anita Shreve's writing style too.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I love this author but never read this one as I am not a huge fan of historical fiction and, most of her books fall in the contemporary genre. I'll watch for your review and hope you enjoy it.

JoAnn said...

I've enjoyed quite a few of Shreve's novels and have had this on my list for a long time. Thanks for reminding me...I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

I've enjoyed my share of Anita Shreve novels over the years. Putting this one on my list because of the author and the setting.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed this author in the past, but haven't read one of her books in a while. I remember eyeing this one and adding it to my list. Now I'm definitely intrigued. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “LIES & OTHER ACTS OF LOVE”


Laura said...

Good teaser. I'd read more. I'm not familiar with this book. My Teaser

Nise' said...

I liked this one as well.

Janet said...

I love Anita Shreve. This goes on my TBR list.

Janet said...

I love Anita Shreve. This goes on my TBR list.

Emma Littlefield said...

I've always struggled with ANita Shreve so this isn't likely one for me though it sounds like a good story.

judy said...

Thanks for calling attention to Stella Bain. It sounds like a book I'd like to read. I've read a couple of others by Anita Shreve and enjoyed them.

Heather Fineisen said...

I have this one, I'll have to move it up my TBR list. Glad you enjoyed it!

Vonnie R said...

Oh my! You got me all excited about this one. I have to look it up now. Thanks for sharing!!!

Vonnie's Teaser

Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads said...

This book sounds so good! I've only read one literary fiction book before (that I can remember anyway) and wasn't a huge fan, but I may have to give this one a try. I absolutely love historical fiction.

Laura Thomas said...

Such strong writing. I see why you enjoy her books. A new author for me!

Here's My TT

Kathy Reads Fiction said...

This really looks good and is a new title to me. I would definitely keep reading to see where it takes you. I can't wait to see how it turns out for you.

avgriffin said...

This sounds like a very interesting book! Thanks for sharing.

Linda said...

I've been reading more historical fiction lately. I think I might like this one! Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my teaser.

Charlie Anderson said...

I can't see myself reading this. I don't read heavily war-focused so I would probably pass this one up.

Jacqueline Gum said...

I love historical fiction...find the comparisons to then and now fascinating. This could be a good one for me:)

Maria Behar said...

I really need to read more historical fiction. This one sounds very interesting indeed!

Thanks for commenting on my own Tuesday Intros post! :)

Louisa Paarsmarkt said...

That is certainly a ominous teaser! I want to know more! Thanks for stopping by! Happy reading!

Bev Bouwer said...

Thanks for sharing - I'm reading Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve at the moment. I will have to look out for this one.

Cyn @ Bookmunchies said...

I like the descriptions in the first paragraph, and I'm definitely intrigued by teaser! I hope she's okay!
Glad you enjoyed this book, thanks for sharing (:

Katiria Rodriguez said...

Ohh great teaser this one looks and sounds like an amazing and great historical fiction book. Thank you for stopping by my blog! :D

The Candid Cover: YA Book Blogger said...

I love the description you wrote for this book! It sounds really intriguing to read about WWI from a woman's perspective. It might make me mad to read about gender inequality, but I suppose we can also see how far we have come! :)