The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve
Hot breath on Grace's face. Claire is screaming, and Grace is on her feet. As she lifts her daughter, a wall of fire fills the window. Perhaps a quarter of a mile back, if even that. Where's Gene? Didn't he come home?
1947. Fires are racing along the coast of Maine after a summer-long drought, ravaging thousands of acres, causing unprecedented confusion and fear.
Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her difficult and unpredictable husband Gene joins the volunteers fighting to bring the fire under control. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie's two young children, the women watch in horror as their houses go up in flames, then walk into the ocean as a last resort. They spend the night frantically trying to save their children. When dawn comes, they have miraculously survived, but their lives are forever changed: homeless, penniless, and left to face an uncertain future.
As Grace awaits news of her husband's fate, she is thrust into a new world in which she must make a life on her own, beginning with absolutely nothing; she must find work, a home, a way to provide for her children. In the midst of devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms - joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain - and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens, and Grace's bravery is tested as never before.
The background to this story is true. There was a great fire in Maime in 1947, 1,100 homes were burned down.
This book held my attention the whole way through. Grace with two young children finds herself pregnant again just when her husband Gene is becoming harder to understand and live with. When the fires come Grace Is left alone with her children as Gene helps to fire fight. Rosie too is alone with her children and the two friends try to help each other.
This part of the story was so frightening reading about people fleeing their homes, unsure at times if it was best to stay and fight the fire or leave. My heart was in my mouth at what lengths Grace and Rosie have to go to to save themselves and their children.
Rosie's life has changed forever and just as she's picking up the threads she receives a shock which is set to change her life once more.
Oh my heart went out to Grace. I loved how she just got on with things and dealt with the hand she was given. The book had good ending but I thought that Gene's story was tied up too easily and perhaps a bit unbelievable considering what kind of man he was.
Out now for kindle and hardback and paperback. Although this is a good read and I really enjoyed it I think it's a bit pricey for kindle and paperback.