I like novels set during the first world war and I also like Anita Shreve so The Lives of Stella Bain jumped off the shelf when I spotted it in my local indie bookstore.
This is a short novel and at just 272 pages The Lives of Stella Bain perhaps doesn’t fully do justice to the themes it sets out to explore but the characters are believable and the plot is interesting.
There are some nods to the fads of the early 1900s — such as Freudian psychoanalysis — that often crop up in novels set during World War 1 and the horrors endured by medical and nursing personnel tending war-wounded with limited, often useless resources are sensitively described.
For me, aspects of The Lives of Stella Bain recall other novel like Ian McEwan’s Atonement and Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy. This work by Anita Shreve is a slighter novel but it is an enjoyable and easy read. I liked it.
The Lives of Stella Bain by Anita Shreve is published by Little Brown. ISBN 9781408702963.
See also Testimony by Anita Shreve