Stella Bain has no memory of her past when she wakes up in a hospital bed in Marne, France. It is 1916, and she wears the uniform of a British war nurse but speaks with an American accent. As soon as she is able, Stella sets out for London, where she hopes to find answers. What she discovers-with the help of Dr. August Bridge, who takes an interest in her case-both shocks and startles. As Stella’s memories come racing back, she must undertake a journey across the ocean to confront the haunted past of the woman she used to be.
In this gripping historical drama that transports us from Europe to America and back again, Anita Shreve weaves an engrossing tale about love and memory, set against the backdrop of a war that devastated an entire generation.
I thought this book was an interesting look at WWI and the role of women in service in WWI. This is the second book from Shreve that I have read and I appreciate the honesty of her writing. In this book, for example, she does not gloss over or try to beautify the ugliness of war. The injuries the soldiers face and the emotional trauma that is a side effect of war is forefront throughout the book.
One of the reasons why I enjoy historical fiction so much is because one can get an idea of how people that lived during the time might have viewed events or ideas that came into vogue when they actually happened. In this book, it was interesting to hear about Freud’s ideas when they were newly introduced.
This novel held my attention because I had no idea which way it was going to go and where Stella would end up. The mystery of her identify was revealed expertly by Shreve in such a way that it was impossible to figure it out before it was time. However, there was enough action and interest to keep me reading to find out who Stella was.
Overall, I thought it was an interesting book that would be great for a weekend read.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.