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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

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

What members say

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  • Overall

"Rescue"

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

ehhh

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • Old Saybrook, CT, United States
  • 12-25-10

Not the Anita Shreve I remember

I've not read (or listened to) Anita's last 3 books - but have read/listened to all of her other books. I thought I'd listen to Rescue however. The book was not bad BUT it was no where near the depth and emotion of her previous stories. I was disappointed to say the least. I don't want to take away from the fact that this story actually had a story and it was a good one. I am ONLY saying if you love Fortune's Rock, Sea Glass, The Last Time They Met, etc. then this book might as well been written by someone else.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Liked it, but very predictable

I like the story, but it was so predictable. I know I should expect this from chic lit. 😊 It was a good, light "read". I think fans of Anita Shreve will like this book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Real Life Characters, Story Draws You In

No one can write about people like Anita Shreve. These characters and this storyline has stayed with me, enjoyed the experience of listening to this book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Worst narration ever

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The narrator was simply horrible. The story might have been engaging enough but the narration was flat, and the cadence was annoying. Lots of times when his voice dropped off and I thought it was because my phone was about to ring.

Has Rescue turned you off from other books in this genre?

Quite possibly, unfortunately, this was my first Shreve.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Ashley
  • West Lebanon, NH, United States
  • 03-14-12

Very dissapointing.

Anita Shreve's best novel was Fortunes Rock, then the couple that followed. The last three novels were fair, but Rescue was the worst.

Shreve never went deep into any character. Threw a character in for a brief second, killed the character off, and never went into how the person with the character that died felt, never had the survivor morn. This is just one example of how Shreve, a one time great story teller, but has become a very poor story teller.

I don't think I will give Shreve another chance. A waist of my time and money.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Glad when it ended.

Read for a bookclub. Narration voice was pleasant but inflection was horrible. One of the few books I thought would be better read than listened to. The story was bland and filled with information about EMT runs that made you wonder what the point was.

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  • Story

Just so so

Boy, I've read almost every book she's written and was ready for another good read. Sorry to say it is pretty weak . . . .

  • Overall
  • Valerie
  • Covington, GA, United States
  • 08-13-11

plodding

i wish i had 'listened' to the lackluster reviews from others .... this was excruciatingly predictable. no denouement.. i usually enjoy this author.:<