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The Stars Are Fire

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  34,027 ratings  ·  3,697 reviews
In October 1947, after a summer-long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, ...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Random House (first published April 18th 2017)
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Popular Answered Questions
Anne Wolfe Yes. The English Language. But I'm sure that's not what you meant. No. There is no profanity. If that would offend you, you are safe.…moreYes. The English Language. But I'm sure that's not what you meant. No. There is no profanity. If that would offend you, you are safe.(less)
Angela Hi Kim,

I don't think there's anything here that would upset you on that front. I believe the only mention about animals is of a deer (uninjured) runni…more
Hi Kim,

I don't think there's anything here that would upset you on that front. I believe the only mention about animals is of a deer (uninjured) running from the fire and some farmers not wanting to leave their livestock behind. I'm quite sensitive to things along these lines, too, so even though it's been about a week since I finished this one and I've read a couple of others since, I feel certain I would remember anything that had unsettled me. Hope this helps!(less)

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Average rating 3.86  · 
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Diane S ☔
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor
I always look forward to novels by this author, and this time it has felt like a very long wait. She writes such good stories about women, hemmed in by the expectations of their time periods, but women that find and harbor an inner strength that allows them to supersede and rise above their circumstances. Grace, the young wife and mother in this story is no exception.

The largest fire in Maine's history, October 1946, a fire that raged from Bar Harbor to Kittery. Grace, five months pregnant and
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The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve is a novel of fiction that takes place around the disastrous fire that ravaged Maine's coast in 1947. This is the first book I've read by this author. I listened to this on audible and enjoyed the narrator, Suzanne Elite Freeman.

May contain a mild spoiler...

The main character, Grace Holland, is suffering with a less than mediocre marriage with little to no attention from her husband, Gene. Sh
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve is a 2017 Random House publication.

I must confess, I had this book sitting on my TBR pile for a while, not in any big hurry to read it, until I heard the news of Anita Shreve’s passing. I decided to do a blog post in her honor and wanted to include the first book I’d read of hers- “The Pilot’s Wife” and thought it would be fitting, in a way, to feature the last book she published. So, I while I was re-reading TPW, I slowly worked my way through this one, as we
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
I started off giving The Stars are Fire 4 stars, however while writing my review I realized that there was a few things that were missing for me or did not really work for me.

When we first meet Grace Holland she is in a dutiful and loveless marriage to sour Gene who is a man of few words. The setting is based on the real life fires from October 1947 that raged in Maine following months of severe drought. I thought Anita Shreve gave me a good feel of the daily life in 1947 and the impact the fire
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Wow this is one special book! I was excited to read it so I had to jump ahead even though the pub date isn’t until May.

This is by far the best book that Ms. Shreve has ever penned. The characters are so well developed and the story simply brilliant and believable, the factual part based on a true story of the worst fire ever to occur in coastal Maine.

Time frame is Maine in 1947. Grace is a young woman with two small children in an unhappy marriage. She is young and doesn’t really understand her
Kasa Cotugno
Oh dear. I'm afraid I'm just the wrong audience for this book. After a strong beginning, it devolved into just another romantic fairy tale. Its strengths lay in the depiction of the devastating coastal fires that ravaged a drought-ridden Maine in 1947. Despite some glaring anachronisms, the era is well represented, and Grace is truly a woman of that age. There were several jarring mistakes in what followed, and half way in, I found myself skimming over too much attention to clothes and not enoug ...more
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I haven’t read anything by Anita Shreve in a long time. One of my favorite women’s fiction writers is back. Grace is in an unhappy, controlling marriage with two toddlers and one on the way. A fire breaks out and Gene, her husband, volunteers to help in the effort to get it under control. This was less about the Great Fires of 1947 and more about the resilience of a woman in 1947. 1947 is important because women weren’t seen as independent and capable. Grace is just that and determined.

When Gene
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This one started off slowly and it took a little while for me to engage with it, but then suddenly I found myself in that wonderful state of being so involved I did not even notice when people were talking to me.
Grace is a superb character, someone who lives within the narrow confines of her life until circumstances demand that she step up and step up she does! The scene where she saves her children's lives by holding them in the sea as a huge wildfire burns down the town is amazing, as is the
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
You can read all of my reviews at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine.

Having never read any of Anita Shreve's earlier novels, I was drawn to The Stars are Fire because I enjoy learning about historical events I know little or nothing about. This events in this book unfold as a result of what has become know as the Great Fires of 1947, a series of forest fires that devastated hundreds of thousands of acres in Maine.

Grace Holland is five months pregnant when the fires rip through her neighborhood, destroying everyt
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Man, I didn't realize how much I have missed Anita Shreve until I started this book this morning and finished it tonight. It is that good. I enjoyed Grace's story tremendously.

Grace is a thoughtful young woman feeling confused and trapped in what I would call an odd marriage, when the Maine coast is set ablaze one particularly dry autumn. Wildfires wreak devastation for miles. Everyone Grace knows is affected by the fires, by the huge losses, and by the kindness of strangers. This is how she sur
Veronica ⭐️
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
The Stars are Fire was my first by Anita Shreve and whilst the writing its self was exceptional and beautiful to read the storyline let me down. I wasn’t moved!

I had intended to write a huge spoiler ridden rant about the “convenience” of the plot but I hate spoilers in reviews so here is a condensed version.

Every event that happened throughout the story, even though at the time some seemed like great hardship, turned out to be very convenient to the storyline and so far removed from real life it
Cindy Burnett
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

The Stars Are Fire is a beautifully written story that is both heart-breaking and ultimately redemptive. The story is based on the true story of the 1947 fire that burned a significant portion of Maine’s coastal towns. As the book opens, Grace and her family live in a small coastal town that is in the midst of a drought. Grace struggles with the discontent she feels with her life and her husband. As the drought continues, the land becomes so dry that fire becomes a giant fear for Maine’
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
In October 1947, the biggest fires in Maine's history swept though the state burning for two weeks and destroying over 12oo homes and holiday houses. With this as backdrop, Anita Shreve has crafted her story of Grace Holland, a wife and mother of two, caught up in the fires and spat out to reinvent herself in the aftermath. Before the fires, Grace was a typical woman of her times, rearing her children in a tiny cottage, cooking and washing for her husband in a loveless marriage. Her best friend ...more
In The Stars Are Fire, Anita Shreve writes with a simple and minimal style but surprisingly succeeds at developing characters, a historical time period, a traumatizing setting, and a variety of relationships. This story follows the female lead character: Grace while life leads her through several situations and relationships that occur before, during, but mostly after a horrific state-wide fire. Some are happy and some severely unhappy, but the journey remains engaging through its entirety.
Cathrine ☯️
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.75 ★
Anita Shreve has a way about her storytelling. For me the reading pace is measured but I’m immediately all in, even when I’ve experienced lukewarm reception in the past. Her characters are so compelling.
The story is set up against the historic 1947 wildfires that ravaged the coast of Maine. As I was reading, hurricanes Hugo and Irma, catastrophic Asian monsoons, an 8.1 earthquake in Mexico, and record setting heat waves and wildfires following years of drought in California and other state
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve is a one sitting read. Once you pick up the book and read the first sentence, you will not want to or be able to put it down. A five star book of engaging historical fiction.

Shreve transports us to coastal Maine in 1947 where we meet Grace, a mother of two and married to Gene. Her best friend Rosie lives next door with her two children and husband Tim. All summer there has been a drought and now wildfires are raging across the state. Grace and Rosie’s husbands
♥ Sandi ❣
4.5 stars

Few people can write like Anita Shreve. Once she determines a topic she takes control.
This is the story of a woman not only surviving but prospering.
Due to a fast moving wild fire following a drought in Maine in 1947, many towns and cities were totally wiped out. Grace, pregnant, is alone with her two children to make her way to safety, her husband Gene has left to fight the fires. Nothing is saved. The small family is rescued, none to soon, and given shelter by a loving couple whose
Sep 17, 2017 rated it liked it
The Star are fire did not set my interest on fire.

Grace Hollond is living a less than exciting life in Maine during 1947. She is in a strained marriage with a less than stellar sex life. She has two young children, and becomes pregnant with her third child and has resigned herself to that fact that this is how her life is going to be. Her happiness comes form her children and her best friend who lives next door. Her husband is a volunteer firefighter who gets called into action when a fire break
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is based on the real-fire catastrophic wildfire that took place in 1947 in Maine. There’s been a very long drought and Grace Holland and her best friend, Rosie, long for rain. But the lack of water isn’t the only drought Grace is facing. From what she hears from Rosie, Grace knows that her marriage bed is not what it should be. A violent night with her husband leaves her pregnant with her third child. This is her third pregnancy in less than two years and she’s exhausted.

When Grace is
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anita Shreve is an excellent story teller. Not all authors who can write are. And this tale is exceptionally well done.

The window into the time is nearly perfect for the "eyes" and the context characters. So is the language, especially within its cliches. Such as "you made your bed, now you have to lie in it."

It's also quite spot on for larger catastrophe, in this case a wide spread coastal area wild fire. All changes of such dire nature (tornado was ours), and individual importance becomes dif
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book reviews on

The Stars Are Fire is a wonderfully written, touching story of life during the post-war 1940's, and how traumatic events can either make or break someone.

I really liked the main character, Grace, who is a strong and likeable woman. Her married life is not unhappy, as such, but she feels like something is missing between them. She's not completely happy, but happy enough, until...

The fire that rips through their house (and almost kills her and her children) see
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well this was a surprise of a book. I'm not normally one for a love story but this has additional elements that draw you in. This was my first Anita Shreve book and my can she write: the story moves along seamlessly like liquid gold. The setting is Maine and the impact of the great fire on those living there. The main character Grace, is a young married woman, with a young family. I don't want to give the plot away because i read a review for this book when mid way through and hit a spoiler whic ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
There are some authors that I always know I will enjoy reading, and Anita Shreve has been one of those for me for a long, long time. She has a way of putting her characters into unusual situations and having them react just the way you think a person would. In this case, there is a serious fire that burns out much of Maine (based on an actual event in the 1930s), and a young mother’s life is turned upside down. Amid all this loss, Grace finds herself, and finds a kind of strength of character th ...more
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I must say that one of the best experiences when reading a book is the sensory aspects. The quiet promise in the bookstore. The smell of a new book. The graphic artistry on the cover. The feel of the page as it turns in your hand. This book has AMAZING artistry on the cover and the page stock is that perfect stiff thickness, just below a cardstock that makes reading and holding the book a treat! This was definitely a total sensory experience and for me, that makes book reading and reviewing all ...more
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In October 1947, Maine experienced the worst fire disaster in it's history.

Anita Shrives last book, "The Stars are Fire", was her best novel, in my opinion. It’s based on a true story. When I met Grace and Gene I immediately knew that their marriage had some secrets and problems. I was captivated by their story.

Shortly after the book opens Gene and Grace start smelling smoke. Gene knows that there is fire ahead and he takes off to help put the fire out while leaving Grace and her two children b
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Anita Shreve is taking shortcuts here. Whereas some of her prior books: "The Weight of Water", "The Pilot's Wife", and "Fortune's Rocks" held surprising plot twists and in depth characters, this one felt like she was writing a paint-by-numbers story. Without spoiling the plot, lady stuck in a bad marriage in rural Maine in the early 50's. Along comes a fire and destroys her life as she knows it. But surprise, there is a wonderful empty furnished house for her to move into, complete with a new ro ...more

Originally posted on This Chick Reads

I think there's no reader, especially of women's fiction and historical fiction that hasn't heard of Anita Shreve. She's a well known name and author of many brilliant books. The first book of her's I've read was The Pilot's Wife and it was kind of love at first sight moment for me. Naturally I was so excited to hear she's got a new book coming out and I couldn't wait to read it. While it's classic Anita Shreve that we know, I think this certainly is her best
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general
The Stars Are Fire is about how a woman survived after a bush fire that destroyed everything. Grace Holland was unhappy with her life in small Maine village, with an abusive and controlling husband and two small children. However, Grace Holland did not know how to change or fix her miserable life. However, this changed for Grace when a bush fire destroyed her home and left her husband in hospital with severe burns. The readers of The Stars Are Fire will follow Graces journey to find freedom and ...more
Based on the factual events of a fire that burned a large portion of Maine's costal towns in 1947.
Grace is stuck in a loveless marriage, but is doing her best to be a good wife and mother to her two young children. She relies on her close friend Rosie and her widowed mother for support and companionship. As a women of her times, Grace must rely on her husband, Gene to support their family and to drive her to appointments and for weekly shopping. Gene is a cold man and his mother despises Grace.
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was one of the best books I have read this year! It’s got it all, adventure, love, suspense, passion. The heroine of this book is amazing and brave! A horrible fire takes her whole village and maybe her life and the lives of her husband and children. There are some very sad heartbreaking moments but also moments that you see great bravery and human will to overcome. Must read!
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Play Book Tag: The Stars are Fire / Anita Shreve. 4 stars 2 19 Jun 08, 2019 05:57AM  
La Crosse Public ...: The Stars are Fire 1 7 Mar 04, 2019 03:39PM  
Romance novel? 1 16 Nov 14, 2018 03:36PM  
Play Book Tag: The Stars are Fire - Shreve - 4 stars 4 26 May 29, 2018 08:33AM  
Play Book Tag: The Stars are Fire; 3 Stars 2 20 Jan 29, 2018 02:23PM  
Play Book Tag: The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve - 4 stars 1 12 Sep 30, 2017 08:58AM  

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Anita Shreve was an American writer, chiefly known for her novels. Shreve's novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. She attended Tufts University and began writing while working as a high school teacher. One of her first published stories, Past the Island, Drifting, (published in 1975) was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1976. Among other jobs, Shreve spent three years working as a journalist ...more

Articles featuring this book

In The Pilot's Wife author's new novel, The Stars Are Fire, a tragic 1947 fire in Maine destroys a woman's life and leaves her husband missing.
12 likes · 8 comments
“Each house has its own signature, unknown to all except the grown children who go back to visit.” 8 likes
“Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love. William Shakespeare, Hamlet” 4 likes
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