Rescue by Anita Shreve
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
My Take: This book is a tricky one to review. Tricky because Anita Shreve is an incredibly gifted writer. Her style is unique and her voice clear. But this book was not interesting to me.
Summary: Small town young man saves trashy but sexy drunk stranger. Before developing any kind of meaningful relationship with her, they have a quick wham, bam, and thank you ma'am. And then some more. And then she announces she's pregnant. She's still trashy and he (Webster, the protagonist) gives up his dreams because now he's going to be a daddy.
Baby comes. It's a girl. Honeymoon phase and everything's peachy. Did I mention that Sheila, the new mother is trashy? The history on her is vague and sparse. Essentially, hard childhood, one living sister, Sheila learns how to play pool and thus hustle. Angry men losing to a hustling woman, history of a bad relationship with a cop that she owes money to and she's a drunk. Oh, and she's still trashy. And a drunk.
Fast forward into Rowan's teenage years. She's struggling and may not get into college because... wait for it... she's a drunk. Webster is single parenting because Sheila is gone. That particular conflict is described. Bottom line: Sheila is a trashy girl and a drunk. Catalyst = Webster finding Sheila and then a big drama regarding Rowan.
The story was just uninteresting to me. Shreve details the life saving techniques EMT's use every day. Interesting but not interesting enough to comprise so much of the book. The story of Sheila, Webster and Rowan is incomplete. The past 15 years is summed up in one paragraph for Sheila. Who is Sheila? I have no idea. Webster is a little more developed but, by the end of the book, I still didn't even know him. Rowan is a confused teenager who may be a drunk. Maybe she's trashy, too.
Writing style is clearly Shreve. She writes well. It's just not a story I cared about. Language is moderately offensive. Just in case you missed it, Sheila is a trashy mystery. And a drunk. Sex is limited but random.
If you love Anita Shreve, you'll like the book. I like Anita Shreve. I feel nothing for the story.
Thanks to Brad at Hatchette Book Groups, I have one copy for one lucky Shreve lover!
U.S. and Canada only.
One copy per household.
No P.O. Boxes
Contest ends December 22