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Editorial Reviews

Having earned a reputation for channeling women so aptly in The Pilot’s Wife and other best sellers, in Rescue, Anita Shreve explores the world of parenthood and broken relationships from the perspective of a man. Dennis Holland ably carries the first person narration of Peter Webster, paramedic and single father to Rowan — who is falling apart.
In this story of many different types of rescues, Shreve and Holland take the listener from a snowy hilltop where Webster dreams he’ll build a warm and safe home for his family one day to the dangerous curve of highway where his family dangerously and awkwardly begins. It is at the scene of an accident there that he meets Sheila — his future wife and the mother of his daughter — an alcoholic who has wrapped her car around a tree.
Rescue is the story of Peter’s attempts to save Sheila — from the burning vehicle, from her past, from her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But he simply cannot save her from herself. Holland’s voice embodies a very careful balance between deeply seeded rage and pure and abiding love for his family. It is only when Sheila’s alcoholism threatens their daughter’s safety, that one overcomes the other. In this part of the story, Holland’s voice is eerily calm, expertly burying the fury and pain of this protective father and wounded husband.
Shreve and Holland explore the impact of alcoholism on families — those left behind and those who leave. They leave it up to the listener to decide which is lonelier. Though he is able to pull bodies from burning vehicles, Peter is unable to rescue his wife from her own disease or his daughter from what seems like the beginning of a dangerous path. All he can do is love and hope — in the end that is all we have. —Sarah Evans Hogeboom
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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2010 Anita Shreve (P)2010 Hachette
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Pamela Harvey on 12-02-10


This book does not have the complex characters that have populated Anita Shreve's novels in the past. The characters seem rather limited, live within a very narrow world in a rural state. There is something about this book that makes me think it's one of Shreve's earlier novels, re-engineered and re-marketed, even though the publication date says 2010. There is no mention of email, text messaging, internet in general, all the ways the web has become such a significant part of our lives and an integral part of the way we do business.

Are these methods of communication and information-gathering too mundane and pedestrian for writers to work with? The preponderance of fiction that takes place in the 80's and 90's for no other significant plot reason like a flashback, makes me think writers want to avoid the entire realm of digital communication in general.

However, this "listen" is interesting for its discussions of EMT procedures and insight into the life of an emergency medical tech. The story is good enough and kept my attention, though this is by no means a compelling read. I would give it a "3" if it weren't for the narrator who gave a very exaggerated New England accent to a primary female character and made her seem provincial, coarse and masculine. Adding this to the character's confrontational personality throughout much of the novel made her difficult to connect with.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Jenya on 12-14-10


I have read and listened to a lot of Anita Shreve but this one just fell flat. It lacked the gravity it thought it conveyed. It completely lacked emotion and was just blah. None of it resonates and while the narrator is very good there is just no depth here. Its simply trite. Skip it.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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