Stella Bain


Stella Bain by Anita Shreve - 261 pages
Book Blurb:
When an American woman, Stella Bain, is found suffering from severe shell shock in an exclusive garden in London, surgeon August Bridge and his wife selflessly agree to take her in.
A gesture of goodwill turns into something more as Bridge quickly develops a clinical interest in his houseguest. Stella had been working as a nurse's aide near the front, but she can't remember anything prior to four months earlier when she was found wounded on a French battlefield.
In a narrative that takes us from London to America and back again, Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, set against the haunting backdrop of a war that destroyed an entire generation.
My Review: 2.5 stars
I was happy to pick up this book as the plot intrigued me...a woman on the front during WW1 that has amnesia. Sounds like the perfect scenario for a book, right? Well, it could’ve been, but I had a hard time with the narrator for the first half of the book. It was told in first person present tense which came off odd and unreliable as Stella has amnesia. Basically it was lacking depth and information, yet I was curious enough about Stella to turn the pages and learn more. I would’ve liked a different point of view in this book to keep it even keeled especially when it came to the legal side of things. The plot kept me going, yet overall the book lacked the character development and complexity of plot I was looking for.
Quotes I liked:
- “The purest form of analysis, according to Sigmund Freud, is one in which the physician speaks not at all. You’re familiar with Dr. Freud?”

- “I feel as though I’m floating in a world in which I have no part. It’s an extraordinary sensation, as if this were merely a dream, and at any moment I might wake up.”

- “He will be her one-room cottage, her oasis.”

Tags: 2013, Historical Fiction, WW1, France

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