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Anita Shreve's All He Ever Wanted reads like Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own told from the perspective of the husband. The wife gains a measure of freedom, but how does the repressive, abandoned husband feel about that freedom? Set in the early 1900s in the fictional New England college town of Thrupp, and narrated by the pompous Nicholas Van Tassel, All He Ever Wanted is at once an academic satire, a period novel, and a tale of suspense. Shreve's ability to nimbly hop through genres brings a liveliness to this story of love gone depressingly wrong. Van Tassel is an undistinguished professor of rhetoric at Thrupp College and a confirmed bachelor when he meets--in no less flamy a scenario than a hotel fire--the arresting Miss Etna Bliss. Immediately smitten, he woos and wins her. At least, he persuades her to become his wife. But Van Tassel hasn't really won her. Etna keeps her secrets and her feelings to herself. The extent of her withholding only becomes clear after a couple of kids and a decade or so of marriage. Then we find out that she's been creating a secret haven for herself all along. Van Tassel is in turn revealed--through his own priggish, puffed-up sentences--as something of a monster. The book is cleverly done; watching Etna through Van Tassel's eyes is like looking at beautiful bird from a hungry cat's point of view. But Van Tassel's voice might be too well written; he's pedantic and dull and snarky all at once, and by the end we find that we, like Etna, can't bear his company a minute longer.--Claire Dederer
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing once again, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a well-to-do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards' two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions. As the brothers vie for her affections, the fragile existence Sydney has rebuilt for herself is threatened. With the subtle wit, lyrical language, and brilliant insight into the human heart that has led her to be called "an author at one with her metier" (Miami Herald), Shreve weaves a novel about marriage, family, and the supreme courage that it takes to love.
Margaret and Patrick have been married just a few months when they set off on what they hope will be a great adventure--a year living in Kenya. Margaret quickly realizes there is a great deal she doesn't know about the complex mores of her new home, and about her own husband. A British couple invites the newlyweds to join on a climbing expedition to Mount Kenya, and they eagerly agree. But during their harrowing ascent, a horrific accident occurs. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Margaret struggles to understand what happened on the mountain and how these events have transformed her and her marriage, perhaps forever. A Change in Altitude illuminates the inner landscape of a couple, the irrevocable impact of tragedy, and the elusive nature of forgiveness. With stunning language and striking emotional intensity, Anita Shreve transports us to the exotic panoramas of Africa and into the core of our most intimate relationships.
A compelling tale of edgy, small-town emotions, lingering obsession, and romantic salvation.Andrew, after many years, returns to his hometown to attend his mother's funeral. Planning to remain only a few days, he is drawn into the tragic legacy of his childhood friend and beautiful girl next door, Eden Close. An adopted child, Eden had learned to avoid the mother who did not want her and to please the father who did. She also aimed to please Andrew and his friends, first by being one of the boys and later by seducing them. Then one hot night, Andrew was awakened by gunshots and piercing screams from the next farm: Mr. Close had been killed and Eden blinded.Now, seventeen years later, Andrew begins to uncover the grisly story - to unravel the layers of thwarted love between the husband, wife, and tormented girl. And as the truth about Eden's past comes to light, so too does Andrew's strange and binding attachment to her reveal itself.
New England 1899:Vacationing with her parents, Olympia falls in love with a married friend of her father's. Pregnant, she is exiled. Years later she files suit to reclaim her lost child.
THE FORTUNE'S ROCKS QUARTET collects four of Anita Shreve's most beloved novels--Fortune's Rocks, The Pilot's Wife, Sea Glass, and Body Surfing--for the first time. The novels highlight Shreve's ability to illuminate women's lives across different eras and share a delightful detail: they are all set in the same coastal New England home, one that has inspired Shreve for over a decade. Any house with age to it can tell a million stories about the families who have lived there, and Shreve has been quoted as saying, ''You could base an entire life's work on the people who come in and out of a house.''
A novel of love, forgiveness, and paths not followed. The novel travels back through the lives of Linda and Thomas, showing the reader how a single choice can alter lives forever.
Written from the point of view of 30-year-old Nicky as she recalls the vivid December day, 19 years earlier, when she and her father found an abandoned infant in the snow, this is a beautiful contemporary novel about love and memory from the author of the bestselling "All He Ever Wanted" and "The Pilot's Wife."
Oprah's latest Book Club pick is The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve--an engrossing thriller woven between the pages of a stirring meditation on love and betrayal. With one late-night knock on her door, Kathryn Lyons's worst fears as a pilot's wife come true: Her husband, Jack, has died in a mid-air explosion off the coast of Ireland. Later, a phone number found among Jack's papers leads Kathryn to London and the unfathomable truth about her husband's secret other life. A second wife and two young children are just the beginning of what Jack was hiding in England. With each staggering revelation, Kathryn must reconcile her memories of the man she loved with the disturbing portrait unfolding before her.
A rookie paramedic pulls a young woman alive from her totaled car, a first rescue that begins a lifelong tangle of love and wreckage. Sheila Arsenault is a gorgeous enigma--streetwise and tough-talking, with haunted eyes, fierce desires, and a never-look-back determination. Peter Webster, as straight an arrow as they come, falls for her instantly and entirely. Soon Sheila and Peter are embroiled in an intense love affair, married, and parents to a baby daughter. Like the crash that brought them together, it all happened so fast. Can you ever really save another person? Eighteen years later, Sheila is long gone and Peter is raising their daughter, Rowan, alone. But Rowan is veering dangerously off track, and for the first time in their ordered existence together, Webster fears for her future. His work shows him daily every danger the world contains, how wrong everything can go in a second. All the love a father can give a daughter is suddenly not enough. Sheila's sudden return may be a godsend--or it may be exactly the wrong moment for a lifetime of questions and anger and longing to surface anew. What tore a young family apart? Is there even worse damage ahead? The questions lifted up in Anita Shreve's utterly enthralling new novel are deep and lasting, and this is a novel that could only have been written by a master of the human heart.
This tale of impossible love--told with the same narrative grace and keen eye for human emotion that have distinguished all of Anita Shreve's cherished bestsellers--leads us into a harrowing world where forbidden passions have catastrophic consequences. In a Nazi-occupied Belgian village, Claire Daussois, the wife of a resistance worker, shelters a wounded American bomber pilot in a secret attic hideaway. As she nurses him back to health, Claire is drawn into an affair that seems strong enough to conquer all--until the brutal realities of war intrude, shattering every idea she ever had about love, trust, and betrayal.
From its opening pages, Anita Shreve's Sea Glass surrounds the reader in the surprisingly rich feeling of the New Hampshire coast in winter. Vividly evoking the life of the coastal community at the beginning of the Great Depression, Sea Glass shifts through the multiple points of view of six principal characters; it's a skillfully created story of braided lives that bounces easily (even inevitably) from character to character. We learn how these lives come together following the stock market crash of 1929 and about the struggles of mill workers on the starkly beautiful New Hampshire coast during the following year. At the novel's center is the story of Honora Beecher, a young newlywed who compulsively collects sea glass along the beach as she collects unexpected friendship in her new beachside community, and Francis, a boy who discovers a father figure in the towering character of McDermott, an Irish mill worker, at a time when he most needs direction. Each character finds unexpected new purpose beyond the struggle to survive during that turbulent year among the dunes. First their lives barely touch, then they intersect, and finally they become inextricably bound. By the powerful and unexpected final scenes of the story, every point of view, every brilliant shard of life depends deeply on all the others. It is a very satisfying read--confidently told and deeply felt--with as many subtle colors and reflections as the sea glass that permeates the narrative. --Paul Ford
An epic story, set against the backdrop of World War I, from bestselling author Anita Shreve.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.
The reader is left to uncover the truth in this labryinth of a tale, a riveting story told within the framework of one reporter's notes and a woman's letters from prison. Everyone believes that Maureen and Harrold English, two successful New York City journalists, have a happy, stable marriage. It's the early '70s and no one discusses or even suspects domestic abuse. But after Maureen suffers another brutal beating, she flees New York with her infant daughter and seeks refuge in a small coastal town in Maine. The weeks pass slowly, and just as Maureen begins to heal physically and emotionally, Harrold finds her, bringing the story to a violent, unforgettable end.
At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment. Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.
In Massachusetts, seven former schoolmates gather for a wedding. Nora, the owner of the inn, has recently had to reinvent her life following the death of her husband. Avery, who still hears echoes from a horrific event at Kidd Academy twenty-six years ago, has made a life for himself in Toronto with his wife and two sons. Agnes, now a history teacher at Kidd is a still-single woman who longs to tell a secret she cannot reveal to the others, a secret that would stun them all. Bridget, the mother of a 15-year-old boy, has agreed to marry Bill, an old high school lover whom she has recently re-met, despite uncertainties about her health and future. Indeed, it is Bill who passionately wants this wedding and who has brought everyone together for an astonishing weekend of revelation and recrimination, forgiveness and redemption. This is Anita Shreves most ambitious and moving novel to date, probing into human motivation with the grace and skill that have made her one of the finest novelists of her time (Boston Herald).
Journeying to Smuttynose Island, off the coast of New Hampshire, to shoot a photo essay about a century-old double murder, a photographer becomes absorbed by the crime and increasingly obsessed with jealousy over the idea that her husband is having an affair.
Shreve, who mixed up such a potent brew of love and tragedy in her earlier Eden Close (1989) and Strange Fits of Passion (1991), serves us something else here--slightly sweeter but also thinner, something that for all its fizz feels flat by the end. Charles Callahan, a 44-year-old Rhode Island insurance broker, is a man who has deep feelings but finds himself emotionally thwarted in the life he leads. He loves his three children, but his marriage to Harriet is passionless. He also knows too many sad, painful secrets about friends and acquaintances, and he's powerless to help. When he chances upon a photograph of poet Sin Richardsin the Sunday newspaper, his life changes. Sin was his first love, 31 years ago at summer camp. Now, at Charles's instigation, the two childhood sweethearts begin corresponding and, before long, resume their old romance. Sin, married to melancholy, reserved Stephen, has suffered the loss of a child, and, aftersome hesitation, she allows herself to turn to Charles with the same urgency he feels for her. Shreve evokes this emotional buildup deftly, complete with stirring old songs and flashbacks to teenaged love, unforgettable in its combination of innocence and intensity.
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