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Beamis12

Beamis12

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Stella Bain

Stella Bain - Anita Shreve

When she is found in a hospital camp in France without a memory she gives the nurses the name "Stella Bain. The Great War, 1916, camps in France and England, the horror of war and its effects on the psyches of those involved and a woman with a past that she must uncover. Though it will take a while, she will and this will lead to a court case and a new life, while making peace with her old.

 

This is when shell shock was first being talked about and studied, the talking cure proposed by Freud was beginning to be used in the treatment of this condition .What makes this book so different is that it recognizes the effects of shell shock on the nurses and the others in the camps who also saw horrible things and had to live with what they had seen. A woman had few choices in this time period and remembering that it is easy to understand some of the decisions she made in her life. The court case I am not sure about, not sure if a judge would have been as fair to a woman as this one was, but it might have helped that her husband was not at all a sympathetic person, thinking he was above even the dictates of the court.

 

A hopeful book about the rebuilding of a life, Shreve treats her characters with a tenderness and a gentleness and brings them to life. I think she must have liked her character Stella Bain quite a bit. I did too.

ARC from NetGalley.