If one has ever wondered what it feels like to taste freedom and independence and then suddenly lose it, Shreve’s latest novel, The Stars Are Fire immerses the reader in just that scenario. Grace, her husband and two children live in a coastal town in Maine. Although life is not idyllic for Grace, she has her best friend, Rosie, close by, and a home and two young children. A 1947 drought-inspired fire suddenly razes the town and life is forever changed. The town disappears in its entirety and Grace’s life no longer resembles all that she has known. Grace’s male-dominated household is suffocating and Grace truly has no options until the fire changes her path.
Shreve created characters the reader will love and hate. The reader will witness Grace’s rebirth coupled with hope, longing and naivete. Gene, Grace’s husband, will be easy to hate as he faces his own demons. But Shreve has written a novel that simmers and ultimately boils over with truth, hurt and decision points that prove humans are capable of much more if they dare to take risks. Be cautioned, the reader will plow through this book, but will forever be changed as it encourages them to contemplate the chains they carry in life and what freedom is truly worth.