WCC Book Club

The devastating Maine fires of 1947 which wiped out 9 towns, left 2,500 homeless and killed 16 people is the backdrop for our Tuesday, January 2nd selection, Anita Shreve’s gripping novel The Stars Are Fire.  Twenty-four year old Grace is the mother of two toddlers and pregnant with another child.  Her marriage to Gene, a highway surveyor, is dutiful but loveless.  A summer-long drought has left her coastal town at Hunts Beach a tinderbox and now in October fires are reported in several Maine towns.  Gene goes off to join others creating a breakfront to fight the blaze, which leaves Grace and the children to flee their home when the fire advances.  Grace saves them by burrowing in the surf and sand as flames lick the beaches.  After a terrifying night on the beach watching her house burn to the ground, she and the children are rescued.  Homeless, penniless and weak, she is unable to find her husband who has never come back and she is faced with an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists.  Grace is in a constant state of alert and Shreve keeps a low level of dread running through her pages to increase the tension.  Grace is tested again and again and emerges stronger by surviving the ravages of life and even finding beauty at times.  Join us on the 2nd at 4:00 pm in the Ladies’ Lounge as Christine Barker leads the discussion of this riveting, historical novel.

Our February novel, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See is a stirring coming of age novel of a young Chinese woman who has had to give her baby daughter away because of the rigid customs and traditions of her family’s ethic minority tribe, the Akha. She deals with her sorrow at losing her daughter by finding purpose, passion and the key to a new life by getting involved again in the tea growing traditions of her ancestors.  This is a beautiful story of the growing of tea in China and the strong bonds between mothers and daughters especially when a child is given up for adoption.