For the 2014 War Challenge With a Twist at War Through the Generations, Serena and I will be hosting an August readalong of Stella Bain by Anita Shreve, which is set during World War I. 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, or the War to End All Wars.
It is 1916, and a woman awakens, wounded, in a field hospital in northern France. She wears the uniform of a British nurse’s aide but has an American accent. With no memory of her past or what brought her to this distant war, she knows only that she can drive an ambulance, and that her name is Stella Bain.
As she puts her skills to use, both transporting the wounded from the battlefield and ministering to them in hospital tents, the holes in Stella’s psyche gnaw at the edge of her consciousness. At last, desperate to find answers, she sets off for London to reconstruct her life.
She is taken in by Dr. August Bridge, a surgeon who becomes fascinated with her case and with the agonizing and inexplicable symptoms that plague her. Delving into her deeply fractured mind, Bridge seeks to understand what terrible blow could have separated a woman from herself. Together, they begin to unlock a disturbing history — of deception and thwarted love, violence and betrayal. But as her memories come racing back, Stella realizes she must embark on a new journey to confront the haunted past of the woman she used to be.
In a sweeping, dramatic narrative that takes us from England to America and back again, Anita Shreve has created an engrossing and wrenching tale about love and the meaning of memory, and about loss and redemption in the wake of a war that devastated an entire generation. (publisher’s summary)
Here’s the schedule for the discussions on War Through the Generations:
Friday, Aug. 8: pages 1-70
Friday, Aug. 15: pages 71-138
Friday, Aug. 22: pages 139-207
Friday, Aug. 29: pages 208-end
We hope you will read along with us, and even if you’ve already read the book, please feel free to join the discussion!
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