Like Shreve’s acclaimed book The Pilot’s Wife, her latest novel explores the inner and outer lives of her characters through a mystery of identity. Readers will feel as if they are unraveling a thread as Shreve deftly reveals Stella’s past and her reclamation of the future. Shreve gives this quick, easy read a feeling of immediacy by writing it in the present tense, and her talent for producing quality, thought-provoking work only continues to develop. Stella Bain is a book well worth reading more than once.
Stella awakens in a hospital ward in France with no memory of anything before the last few months. All she can seem to recall is the name Stella Bain and that she knows how to drive an ambulance. When she’s able, Stella leaves France for England where she is found by a doctor’s wife, Lily Bridges. Lily recognizes something is not right with the lovely young woman in the garden and brings her home for her husband, August, to heal. August realizes Stella is suffering from shell shock as well as pneumonia and he becomes determined to help her regain her memory and health. As she is recuperating, Stella strives to recall anything of her past, but only her drawings give August a hint as to her true self. As Stella recovers and more information begins to emerge, she must face the truths of her illness to have another chance for happiness. (LITTLE, BROWN, Nov., 272 pp., $28.00)