Rescue by Anita Shreve

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Rescue by Anita Shreve

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A story of love, difficult decisions and their aftermath, with real tension and beautifully told. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408700730

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When we meet Peter Webster he's a rookie paramedic who takes an emergency call to help a drunk driver who's been badly injured in a car crash. It was touch and go as to whether or not Sheila Arsenault made it, but she did and afterwards Webster can't get her out of his thoughts. Every instinct tells him that he shouldn't get involved with her – that it'll mean trouble – but perhaps it was the long, shining, dark hair that tipped the balance and Webster is involved in an intense love affair. He's also involved in Sheila's life – for better or for worse.

Eighteen years on and Sheila has been out of Webster's life for about sixteen of those years, during which time he's been a single parent to their daughter Rowan. So far it's not been too difficult, but as Rowan comes up to her High School Graduation Sheila's problems look as though they're surfacing in Rowan. She's drinking heavily and not always in control of her actions. Who can Webster turn to for help? He was the one who sent Sheila away. Can he find her and persuade her to help their daughter?

I'm always surprised at the apparent ease with which Anita Shreve paints a situation, perhaps slightly out of the ordinary but not so that it's beyond our comprehension, and then peoples it with characters we know and can relate to and we're with them as they work their way through the problems. The characters – all of them flawed as we all are – stay with you long after you've finished reading. It's a story of love (rather than romance), of difficult decisions and how people balance what they hold dear. There are no clever literary devices, just a darn good story, beautifully told.

As a paramedic Webster confronts death and serious injury on a daily basis and his experiences are a firm thread weaving their way through the story, speaking volumes about the man. They don't just tell us about his strengths, his heroism on occasions, but about his frailties too. His work gives a real tension to the plot and neatly balances what's happening at home. I read the book in two sittings: from choice it would have been just one.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

One man's obsession with a woman is mirrored in one of Shreve's earlier novels – All He Ever Wanted, but if you're looking for more of Anita Shreve we can recommend Body Surfing. YOu might also enjoy Love Notes for Freddie by Eva Rice.

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Buy Rescue by Anita Shreve at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Rescue by Anita Shreve at


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