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. Read more...
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Customers Also BoughtMore About Stella Bain by Anita ShreveOverviewAn 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.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-08-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Shreve’s 17th novel is a tragic yet hopeful story of love, memory, loss, and rebuilding. A young woman wakes up with amnesia in a battlefield hospital tent in Marne, France, in 1916. She thinks her name is Stella Bain, and she thinks she knows how to nurse and drive an ambulance. As she recovers, she returns to duty in this new environment, caring for the wounded and dying. When she arrives in the city exhausted and destitute, she’s discovered in a park by a doctor’s wife, who takes her in. The doctor, Augustus Bridge, is a cranial surgeon with an interest in psychiatry. Stella becomes a “quasi-patient”; he finds a way to get her into the Admiralty, and, when a former friend recognizes her by name, her memories return, including the fact that she has children—and the reason why she left them. The amnesia and its cause are only part of the story; the lack of understanding at the time of the consequences of witnessing the horrors of war, for both men and women, also plays a key role. The novel is both tender and harsh, and the only false note is the use of present tense, which prevents the reader from being pulled in more closely. Shreve’s thoughtful, provocative, historical tale has modern resonance. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, WME Entertainment. (Nov.)