I love Anita Shreve. She just writes so beautifully. I cannot remember the first book of hers I read, but it was either The Weight of Water or The Pilot’s Wife. Both of those are wonderful stories, and it is no wonder that either of them caused me to be such a fan of Anita Shreve’s work.
Stella Bain does not fail to deliver, either. The book is set during World War I, across multiple locations and theaters of war. Stella wakes up in a hospital, with no memory of how she got there, or even of who she is. She has a sense she needs to go to London, and it is in a London garden where she is discovered. An empathetic surgeon and his wife agree to take Stella in; the surgeon, August Bridge, is fascinated by the new field of psychology and begins to trying to unlock Stella’s memories.
Dr. Bain delves deeper and deeper, and does all he can to assist Stella, so she can go home at last. When Stella’s memories are unlocked, she realizes sometimes the truth is more physically painful than the wounds suffered during the course of war.
Not much more can be said without giving away key points in the plot. That’s not the purpose of this review – this review is meant to pique your curiosity enough to read the book yourself.
However, it is interesting to note, that when I read this book, I read two other books about amnesia rather subconsciously. One of those was The Last Thing I Remember by Andrew Klavan; this book was about as different from Stella Bain as you could possibly get. The other book was slightly similar to Shreve’s work; that one was titled The Obituary Writer. I will review it over the next day or so. In the meantime, go find a copy of Stella Bain and read it.