Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Rescue” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.33  ·  Rating details ·  14,650 ratings  ·  1,822 reviews
A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage.

Peter Webster pulls a young woman out of a car wreck that should have killed her. Sheila Arsenault haunts his thoughts, and despite his misgivings Peter is soon embroiled in an intense love affair -- and in Sheila's troubled world.

Paperback, 320 pages
Published June 27th 2011 by Back Bay Books (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Rescue, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Barbara If this is your first, it may well be your last. The Pilot's Wife is a good one. I have happy memories of Testimony and Sea Glass as well. …moreIf this is your first, it may well be your last. The Pilot's Wife is a good one. I have happy memories of Testimony and Sea Glass as well. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,650 ratings  ·  1,822 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Rescue
Dec 01, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My Take: This book is a tricky one to review. Tricky because Anita Shreve is an incredibly gifted writer. Her style is unique and her voice clear. But this book was not interesting to me.

Summary: Small town young man saves trashy but sexy drunk stranger. Before developing any kind of meaningful relationship with her, they have a quick wham, bam, and thank you ma'am. And then some more. And then she announces she's pregnant. She's still trashy and he (Webster, the protagonist) gives up his dream
This wasn't especially a book I looked forward to reading, having put it off for years, until finally the audio book became available. The reviews weren't exactly helping. But with the recent passing of Ms. Shreve, I wanted to read her again and this is about her only book I haven't read. I think there are two more I'll need to finish off one of these days.

I thought this unique for Shreve in that the main character was a man, and he is utterly middle class, struggling in life but more than conte
Feb 13, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shreve is a mixed bag. I really liked a book of hers (Pilot's Wife), then picked up an awful one (Wedding in December), and would've sworn off her altogether except I then ended up really loving another one of hers (Testimony), then couldn't even get through her recent one (The One Where They Are on a Mountain) - anyway that all being said I was in a rush to find SOMETHING to read (step it up, goodreaders, I am short on recommendations!) and so I just went for it.
Well, it's pretty bad. The novel
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My least favourite Anita Shreve. I am happy to read books about small lives,with small stories, ( I loved, and understood the thinking behind, 'Something Happened', for example)but this was too small. Whilst I appreciate any avoidance of a narrative driven by unlikelihoods and exaggeration, I just couldn't 'get' why this particular story had been written. The blurb in my edition used the word 'seismic' to describe events. My seismograph must be unplugged as I detected nothing other than the cons ...more
Peter Webster is a rookie paramedic when he pulls a young woman, Sheila Arsenault, from her totaled car. She's obviously inebriated but Peter falls for her instantly. Soon they are involved in an intense love affair and Sheila becomes pregnant. They marry and baby Rowan is born. All along, Peter was aware that Sheila never really stopped drinking. But, when Rowan is two, Peter is called to the scene of an accident involving Sheila and another driver. She was driving under the influence and both ...more
Jan 29, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book would have been more accurately titled if they'd gone with "Don't Bother". Sometimes I like to read brain-candy books, which is where Anita Shreve comes in. I came expecting no literary work, but this book??!! Truly, it is a stupid book. Unfortunately, it's an easy enough read that I didn't stop reading it altogether, but this is one of those books that I finished and thought, "Someone actually PUBLISHED that?!" Not because it is smut. Not because the main characters are unlikeable. It ...more
Feb 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would have rated it just a single star, but I feel the need to reserve that for books that I truly can not stand, not books that I just found dumb and boring.

Rescue is the story of a young paramedic who responds to a car crash. He finds a woman who has managed to run her car off the road and into a tree. A drunk driving incident. Sounds like a catch doesn't she. Webster, the paramedic, peruses her, she ends up getting pregnant and they marry. The marriage unravels and Webster is left to raise
Phenomenal writing and character development but predictable and at times boring plot. I've read much better from this author. Would recommend some of her other books rather than this one. ...more
Lee Anne
Jul 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was glad this book was over when I turned the last page, but I was extremely unhappy with the way I felt about the characters. I gave it two stars because I did read it in one afternoon, trying to find out what the big secret was that the book flap hinted at. I didn't give it three stars because I still don't know.

I felt I knew more about Webster, the main character / father / husband, and his skills as a medic than I did as a person. What made him want to pursue this girl who was selfish enou
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story of a young EMT man who falls in love with a patient of his following an accident as a result of her drunk driving. The story starts in the present and then takes the reader back 18 years to give the reader the opportunity to understand how it is just Webster and his daughter Rowan we read about in the beginning. I am a huge fan of Anita Shreve because of the way she is able to write characters vividly and entwine the reader with their every emotion. This book does not fail or dis ...more
Feb 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've got mixed feelings about this one. The writing started out as the lovely sort of tone and flow that Anna Quildlen can do, but then veered into obvious, on-the-nose dialogue and plot points that led the book into melodrama worthy of Nicholas Sparks.

At 23, Pete Webster, working as an EMT, rescues a drunk Bostonian (named Sheila) from a car accident. Though she's an alcoholic (and pool hustler?) and he exists in a Mayberry sort of world in Vermont, he inexplicibly falls in lust. She gets preg
Mary Gramlich
Nov 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
RESCUE by Anita Shreve
November 30, 2010 - Little, Brown & Company - Hardcover, 288 pages
ISBN-13: 9780316020725

Can you save someone else from their demons?

Peter Webster was 21 when he literally saved Sheila Arsenault’s life. His EMT team was responding to the call for medical assistance and they met. While these were less than ideal circumstances a relationship was formed and Sheila grabbed on with both hands to Webster’s lifeline. Webster had the one and only thing Sheila craved – normalcy.

Sep 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
Peter Webster is a rookie paramedic when he pulls a young woman out of a totaled car - a wreck that should have killed her. It's Peter's first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma - streetwise and tough talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely.

Sheila haunts his thoughts, and despite his misgivings Peter is soon embroile
Barbara H
Much to my frustration, this is the second review that I am writing about this book. Despite my instructions to SAVE ,the first has vanished into cyberspace.

I enjoyed reading Anita Shreve's most recent contribution, but I have found others that she has written more satisfying. I will not create any "spoilers" here. Further plot descriptions are readily available elsewhere.

Shreve's narrative skills are evident and she has created a degree of tension, but the novel did not require that the read
Nov 15, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved most of Ms. Shreve's books. I was so looking forward to this one. Can I be honest? I thought it read like a Harlequin. (O.K., i've only read 1 Harlequin for a Book Club experiment.) The entire story was just so corny. Most of Shreve's books have an edge to them that keeps me intrigued. This one was so different. For instance, Webster is a young 21 year old EMT. He responds to an accident where the victim, a young women is unconsious and has a metal something stuck in her stomach and ...more
Barbara Carter
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first introduction to Anita Shreve work was through a friend who had recommended The Pilot’s Wife, many years ago.
Since then I’ve read quite a few of her books, but not all.
Usually I pick up a well written work of fiction to escape into at a time when I’m looking for a break from an intense stretch of non-fiction reading. And I trust Anita Shreve to give me what I’m looking for!
There are characters of hers who have stuck with me long after finishing the book; feeling as if I knew them in real
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so good! I read quite a few reviews in which readers gave this book only 1 or 2 stars. I know not everyone is going to like or love the same book, but I honestly think this deserves more stars and credit than people gave it. I could’ve read this in a day, it was that good but I had to sleep sometime!

The only problem I had while reading it is that the MC, Pete Webster, was always referred to as Webster. Never Pete, except maybe once. I thought it was strange and I’m not sure why the aut
Mar 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m a fan of Anita Shreve and having just learnt that she died last year may have influenced my opinion of this book. I don’t believe it’s her best but it was an enjoyable read with engaging characters with lessons to be learnt.
Aug 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anita Shreve fans
Shelves: fiction
There are brief moments of perfect balance in life. Looking at your sleeping children, nestled with your spouse, having a beer with your friends.... You wish you could freeze that perfectly ordinary, perfect safe moment of contentment forever. But life moves on. We make choices, relationships change, and mortality moves from the abstract to the concrete.

RESCUE moves in and out of such moments. It opens with a rural Vermont EMT and his daughter, a high school senior, at breakfast. The EMT is Web
Aug 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
While Anita Shreve is usually an author I can count on, I was not a fan of this book. Part of it may have been that I listened to this book on CD and wasn't thrilled with the reader. His voice and intonations were all wrong-- and his inability to pull of a Boston accent made some of the dialogue tough to listen to.

But aside from the narrator, I just didn't love the story. It followed the life of a young EMT, who falls in love with a beautiful young woman he meets on an accident scene one night.
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Webster, an EMT, meets Sheila at the scene of an accident due to her drinking and driving. For some inexplicable reason, he tracks her down and gets to know her better. Shortly after this, she gets pregnant with their daughter, Rowan. While he tries to make a good life for them, Sheila begins drinking again and leads them all on a downward spiral. Webster makes the decision to ban Sheila from their lives and raises Rowan on his own. When his daughter starts to act differently, get bad grades and ...more
Jul 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to the library looking for a different book that they didn't have, so I picked up this one instead. When this first came out earlier this year it was everywhere. It seemed like I couldn't walk into a book store without seeing a thousand copied of this book in some kind of pyramid-shaped display. So the book stuck in my head and when I saw it on the shelf, I decided to give it a try. I don't really know how to review it other than to say it was okay. It kept me entertained, I didn't begrud ...more
Marcy Sue
Jul 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was drawn to this book by the promise of a well written EMT based novel. It was as fair an interpretation as a writer with no personal EMS history could write. Even in a small town, the coincidence of our protagonist being on the scene for both accidents involving his daughter seemed repetitive and almost beyond belief.

I wanted to like this book more. I wasn't expecting the dark cloud to be constantly present. Some burst of a sunlit uplifting scene could have made all the difference instead o
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Elizabeth Sulzby
Shreve is always a good read, with high human interest, I thought. Alas, on p. 163- of 288 pages, I wrote in the margin: Show me, don't tell me to death. Shortly after that point, the story focus began to move to the current time. The ending action was well executed and should have grabbed my heart, but it just didn't. And the ending came so abruptly and with such a letdown. Perhaps it was my mood, but not for those first 163+ pages. There is a lot of detail about the work of EMT's, but too much ...more
This is the first book by Shreve I've read in a few years, after being disappointed by a book or two. This one had the story-telling and writing I like and expect from her, and the complex relationships that happen in families. It also gave a good picture of life as an EMT. From reading the cover flap, I knew that a mother who'd abandoned her child and husband would come back, but just how that abandonment occurred, and what caused the contact after 15 years, was much more dramatic than I'd anti ...more
Mar 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 as enjoyed the descriptions of EMT and ER scenes. Hadn't read any of Shreve's works since "The Pilot's Wife", saw this book by her and picked it up solely on the basis of who wrote it. Must say it kept me a trifle more than mildly entertained, mostly because of it's medical content and my admiration for the EMT and his loyalty to his daughter who he raised as a single dad. Overall, neither the story nor the characters were very memorable. ...more
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book. I enjoyed that it was down to earth and focused on some of life's real issues. Believe it or not, there are not actually demons, vampire and witches taking over the unsuspecting humans. ;) Even though I do enjoy those books as well. ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so simple, trite and predictable! Why would anyone read books like this? If you want something so mindless, you might as well watch TV, it would be more visually stimulating, at least. Don't waste your time on this. ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I’ve read some of the reviews of this book and I must say, I think the negative ones are quite harsh.
Thinking about this read now: I recall feeling that the first, historical, section of the book went on a bit long; Webster is a very focused man, dedicated to and defined by his career; he has obviously been a very good father for 17 years; Rowan sounds like a ‘good girl’ who at 17 (that difficult age) feels unloved and unwanted and is struggling to deal with her mother’s abandonment of her.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Name that book 3 5 Feb 02, 2020 01:40AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #133 Rescue by Anita Shreve 1 1 Jul 27, 2015 07:38AM  
books by Anita Shreve 41 90 Mar 03, 2014 11:19PM  
Relationship 1 10 Aug 24, 2013 10:08AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • I See You Everywhere
  • The Piano Teacher
  • The Year That Follows
  • The Nose from Jupiter
  • The Coffinmaker’s Garden (Ash Henderson, #3)
  • Swan Loch
  • The Coach House
  • 44 (44 #1)
  • My Dear Frank: The Letters That Inspired the Novel, The Last Letter
  • All for You (Laurel Heights, #8.5)
  • 44: Book Two (44, #2)
  • The Penguin History of Latin America
  • The French Postmistress
  • Martin Harbottle's Appreciation of Time
  • Freemasonry
  • Day of the Assassins: A Jack Christie Adventure
  • She's Gotta Be Mine (Cottonmouth #1)
  • After
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

Who is Stella Bain? Injured near the front lines of World War I, an American woman awakes in France without her memory in this twisting historical...
34 likes · 4 comments
“Voltage crossed the distance between Sheila and Webster. A current composed of anger and remorse and something else-the last flicker of attraction” 3 likes
“Webster, as if he's done it every day of his life, as if he did it just the day before, trails his fingers from the small of Sheila's back to the nape of her neck.

Sheila turns her head, "Go slowly and be careful," she says.”
More quotes…