Friday, January 24, 2014

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve - 272 pages

Stella Bain is the persona adopted by the lead character after she is mysteriously found injured near the front in World War I.  All that is known about her is that she was serving as a nurse.  After more time spent working in a French medical camp, Stella finds her way to London to seek someone at the Admiralty--the building sparking the only memory she has of her previous life.  Once in London, she becomes a guest of Dr. August Bridge and his wife and he helps her regain her memory, a process finished when she finds an old friend at the Admiralty.

With her memory regained, Etna Bliss Van Tassel returns to her native United States in an effort to regain custody of her children.  In this part of the book, Shreve wrote a flashback to help readers understand hardships that led Etna leave America for Europe.  The combination of these two events define the rest of the book as a custody trial occurs.

The novel was a quick and interesting read.  As Etna was diagnosed with shell shock, we can gain a bit of an understanding to that state of mind in the first part of the book.  In the latter, Etna's drive to regain her children shows the fierce dedication of a mother.

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