I've read a few Shreve novels, the first being The Pilot's wife, which was wonderful. I read a couple of others they were just "okay", but this is definitely a good one. It's pretty hard to read in places, it is about domestic abuse, but it also makes you ask yourself some tough questions - at least it did me. There are so many layers to life and to the choices we make - AND to the consequences of those choices. This is a very well written novel. It took me a bit to get into it, but once I was there, I was THERE. In the end, my heart ached mostly for Emily. For the unanswered question in her life, for everything she had been through. Interesting that she was such a small character, but was the one that left me with the most thoughts.
Anita Shreve has such a beautiful way with the language, and this is another of her splendid novels, again telling the truth about people and relationships. It is moving and thought-provoking, and brings alive both the characters and the small town in Maine in which they find themselves. Or lose themselves. Sad, and compassionate, and moving.
Another dynamite book by Anita Shreve, it's the story of a couple who appear from the outside to have a stable marriage when the exact opposite is actually true. The woman escapes with her daughter to a small town in Maine and tries to have a fresh start, but her husband continues to pursue her. Excellent book - I highly recommend it.
This book is very well written. It's a very intense tale of a very intense situation. As many of Shreve's novels do, this one left me with questions and much after thought. I find myself feeling for Caroline as the real victim in this story. I find myself wondering about Helen Scofield and what makes her tick...how she sleeps at night. As always, Shreve has created characters with great complexities.
Meredith L. reviewed Strange Fits of Passion: A Novel on
Helpful Score: 1
Although sad and somewhat predictable as it starts at the end, I found this book well written and somewhat compelling. It reminded me very much of Julia Roberts' movie Sleeping with the Enemy. , Definitely an easy light read despite the subject matter.
Book is well written, however not one of Shreve's best. Plot is unusual and sort of expected love story. Title has nothing to do with content and cover picture is just made to lure you on with sex content which is not all that much in plot. Good depiction on small Main town and kind people.
Through the voices of its characters, given in interviews with a woman reporter, a tale of abuse and murder is told. The main character is an abused woman -- a woman who, to all others, appears to be living a perfectly loving marriage, but whom endures all manner of abuse. As with so many of those suffering this unique form of torture, she believes she is in some part to blame for the abuse. She feels she is complicit in some way because she allows it to happen. And the more it continues to happen, the more she feels her only hope it that one day it will end. It does, thanks to her own strength and the love of another. Knowing someone who has endure such abuse made this book extremely powerful to me.
I'm not sure how this ended up being the last Anita Shreve book for me to read, but it was worth the wait. This is a very painful story, but I think it is her best (I would have said Change of Altitude before this one). As horrible as the abuse was that the main character suffered, it paled in comparison to the blow she received from the media. In the world we live in we are guilty until proven innocent and if guilt makes a better story than innocence...you know the outcome.
Anita Shreve has a way of writing that cuts to the heart of the matter. This story, one of domestic violence told through the distant eye of a reporter, has all the elements one rarely sees in a novel about the topic. Told through flashbacks, interviews with people on the peripheral of the oncoming storm and those who have their own opinions of the murder on that frigid Maine coast, the story shows what others see of domestic violence, looking from the outside in -- and the answers are surprising, heartbreaking, and infuriating.
From the very beginning of the book, it is clear the abused wife has killed her husband. Was she justified? Would it have come down to her life or his? It even begs the question that surprised me the most: Why did she wait so long?
For anyone who has gone through domestic abuse or knows someone who has, this book holds a lot of insight that will change the way you view the world around you.
This was an interesting book...Anita Shreve weaves a tale of cruelty and abuse, love lost and found. It is an educational book as well attesting to just how devastating domestic abuse can be. It is also, as the back cover says, "...a powerful portrait of truth and deception."
A lone woman and her infant, running away from an abusive marriage; a wintry ocean house that beckons you to stay safe and comfortable within its walls; women who reach out to you and gift you with thier friendship; a man who offers love and safety; a murder, a suicide and you have all the makings for a great story! It touched all bases with me!
Reminds me of the 3 blind men and the elephant, one feeling the trunk, one feeling the tail and one feeling the leg. They each described the elephant as they "saw" it. So, too, the characters in this book "saw" and applied their own point of view to the dilemma therein. Even at the end of the book, the reader is not sure what to believe. We get to partake in the "seeing". Good book!
Mary chose St. Hilaire, Maine, becuase it was very small and far away from New York City. And everyone in town knew right away she was running. A woman with a baby alone. A woman with dark glasses that didn't quite hide her horribly beaten face. She gave her name as MAre Amesbury, but that was not true. What was ture was her fear-and that she had not run far enough. For soon there would be murder, a rape charge, and suicide in St. Hilaire. And then one last betrayal: An ambitious woman journalist would write the story of Mare Amesbury that would haunt her to the grave.
This is an early Anita Shreve book, and the subject is domestic violence and its tragic consequences. The book is a compilation of observations by different people as told in court and to the writer who wrote a book based on her correspondence with the domestic abuse victim. The reasoning of the abused wife for staying with the abuser is potent and pathetic. I was certain that she would have been drawn to another abuser eventually if she hadn't found this particular one.
I initially started listening to this book on audio cassette. It was fantastic with a great reader and very authentic Maine accents. The tape broke about halfway through and I could not find another copy, so I had to settle for reading the rest.
It's a page-turner of a book, but I enjoyed the audiobook most with a great reader bringing the characters to life with her wonderful skills.
Bookfanatic reviewed Strange Fits of Passion: A Novel on
This isn't the Anita Shreve book I'd recommend to others. I didn't enjoy reading this emotionally unsatisfying story filled with alcoholism, domestic violence and other forms of violence. On the surface, the Ivy League educated husband and wife have an ideal marriage, but as we all know appearances can be deceiving.
The story, which is set in the late 1960 or early 1970s, follows a sequence of events set mostly in a small cold town in Maine filled with a cast of colorful characters that you'd find in small cold Maine towns. I skimmed parts of the book just to see what happens at the end although you can tell from the first couple of pages what the ending is likely to be since the story starts off from the adult daughter's perspective. I'd recommend "The Last Time They Met" if you want to read one of Shreve's best works of fiction
It's not a new story -- an abusive relationship escalates until the victim flees, the aggressor finds her, and violence ensues.
Shreve has chosen to approach it via the stories of multiple people involved, including the writer whose cover story in a major magazine may have influenced the eventual verdict. The multiple-voice narration works well, but the magazine story (which is included toward the end of the narrative) feels very clumsy and poorly written, in marked contrast to Shreve's normal style.
And underlying the whole thing is a level of discomfort with the actions of the victim. The reader must keep reminding him/herself that the story, set in 1971, far predates the infamous "burning bed" incident of 1977 in which a long-abused woman killed her sleeping husband, and the 1978 Rideout case in Oregon, which led to legal recognition of marital rape and established it as a crime. Even given the era's lack of acknowledgement of the widespread nature of domestic abuse and the lack of legal/social support available for victims, it's difficult to understand many of the main character's actions.
Oversize PB, Second Shreve title. Everyone believes Maureen and Harrold English, 2 successful NYC journalists, have a happy, stable marriage. It's the early 70's and no one discusses or even suspects domestic abuse.......intense, but so well written.
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.
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 with her infant daughter to a coastal town in Maine. The weeks pass slowly, and just as Maureen settles into her new life and new identity, Harrold reappears, bringing the story to a violent, unforgettable climax. A labyrinth of a tale with an ingenious structure, Strange Fits of Passion is also a powerful portrait of truth and deception.