Friday, February 7, 2014

Stella Bain by Anita Shreve

This book was acquired free from the author in exchange for a review.

Stella Bain is a novel about a woman by the same name who loses her memory due to shell shock. Surgeon August Bridge and his wife take her in and August does what he can to help Stella with her memory.

The book takes place during World War I, where Stella Bain is serving as a nurse's aide in a French camp. She begins waking up with no memories, and from there on it is a journey to regain them. It is important to keep track of her history, as it might be a little confusing if you do not understand the sequence of events that led up to her present. The book repeats the telling of many of these events several times though, which makes each scene very thorough. It feels as if the author is trying to make you feel like Stella Bain; you know nothing about the character from the beginning, and she is the same way. This is an interesting way to go about the novel; it is something that may have you wanting more.

Stella Bain can be broken down into a handful of sections, as each scene is thoroughly detailed. This helps develop the characters and plot very well, but this slow pace may not be appealing to everyone one. Character dialogue feels very realistic, and their interactions with each other are always interesting. It is interesting to see how Stella's memory begins to come back to her, which is something that can keep you reading. There are many twists throughout, which keeps things refreshing.

The book sometimes feels too slow. Scenes can drag out for a very long time. The book can be summarized pretty easily based on the handful of major scenes. The importance of reading the book though is so that you get all of small details throughout, which enhances the experience.

The book is well written, and makes you relate to what Stella is going through. It is very descriptive and easy to follow, so you will not get lost. The words flow very well, making this a rather easy book to read. There are no chapters; new pages and dividers create sections, with the occasional date and location showing a new section. This allows you to start and stop pretty much anywhere without having any trouble picking back up.

Stella Bain is an interesting novel that is incredibly detailed and interesting. It moves slowly, but this is helped by the amount of detail. It is worth reading, even if you may not be interested in World War I-related novels.

Interested? Get a preview of the book and buy it here.