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. At just 272 pages The Lives of Stella Bain perhaps doesn’t fully do justice to the themes it sets out to explore. Nevertheless, the characters are believable and the plot is interesting.
There are nods to fads of the early 1900s such as Freudian psychoanalysis. This often crops up in novels set during World War 1. Shreve sensitively describes horrors endured by medical and nursing personnel tending war-wounded with limited, often useless resources.
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 from publisher Little Brown. ISBN 9781408702963.
See also Testimony by Anita Shreve