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Rescue: A Novel
     

Rescue: A Novel

3.4 382
by Anita Shreve
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Shreve's smooth if unsurprising latest (after A Change in Altitude), EMT Peter Webster is drawn to a woman he rescues at the scene of a one-car drunk driving accident. Webster is well intentioned, but alcoholic Sheila, with her dangerous history, could prove beyond his efforts to save her, though the two embark on an affair that evolves into marriage and parenthood with the birth of their daughter, Rowan. Sheila's drinking, meanwhile, escalates until she causes another accident, this time with young Rowan in the car, causing Webster to send Sheila away to avoid jail time. Years later, with not a word from long-gone Sheila, Rowan is a typically turmoil-ridden high school senior--moody, her grades slipping, drinking--and her tribulations prompt Webster to reach out to Sheila to help his daughter. Webster and Sheila are more type than character--good-hearted man, damaged woman incapable of love--and the paramedic rescue scenes feel mostly like opportunities for Shreve to show off her research. Still, the story runs like a well-oiled machine and should sate the author's fans. (Nov.)
Brigitte Weeks - Washington Post
"From its opening car crash, 'Rescue' is worth the ride....No one can create the beginning of a complex relationship like Shreve....Shreve gets deep inside these characters, and her insights draw us into their lives.... A story of hope and fear, of promises made and broken.... Shreve creates a little world, peoples it with believable characters, and puts them through agonizing and joyful moments without a false note or a dissonant figure of speech."
Joanna Powell - People
"A paramedic and the troubled young beauty he saves propel Shreve's engrossing latest...With the insistent thrum of life-and-death EMT calls as background, Shreve's vividly told tale captures the deep-seated fears of mortality and loneliness that can drive us to test the bounds of family and forgiveness."
Mary Foster - Associated Press Staff
"Rescue is Shreve at her best....Shreve knows love may be intense, life-changing and passionate, but it is never enough. Her characters bruise each other as much as they comfort each other...."Rescue" is full of themes Shreve loves: How a moment can change a life; loss and love; forgiveness and pain."
Sara Vilkomerson - Entertainment Weekly
"Compelling.... Fans of Anita Shreve will likely devour this new novel."
Joanne Wilkinson - Booklist
"A thoroughly absorbing, perfectly paced domestic drama. Alternating between life-and-death scenarios Pete encounters on the job and the fraught family tension between father and daughter, Shreve pulls readers right into her story."
From the Publisher
"From its opening car crash, 'Rescue' is worth the ride....No one can create the beginning of a complex relationship like Shreve....Shreve gets deep inside these characters, and her insights draw us into their lives.... A story of hope and fear, of promises made and broken.... Shreve creates a little world, peoples it with believable characters, and puts them through agonizing and joyful moments without a false note or a dissonant figure of speech."—Brigitte Weeks, Washington Post"

A paramedic and the troubled young beauty he saves propel Shreve's engrossing latest...With the insistent thrum of life-and-death EMT calls as background, Shreve's vividly told tale captures the deep-seated fears of mortality and loneliness that can drive us to test the bounds of family and forgiveness."—Joanna Powell, People"

Rescue is Shreve at her best....Shreve knows love may be intense, life-changing and passionate, but it is never enough. Her characters bruise each other as much as they comfort each other...."Rescue" is full of themes Shreve loves: How a moment can change a life; loss and love; forgiveness and pain."—Mary Foster, Associated Press"

Compelling.... Fans of Anita Shreve will likely devour this new novel."—Sara Vilkomerson, Entertainment Weekly"

A thoroughly absorbing, perfectly paced domestic drama. Alternating between life-and-death scenarios Pete encounters on the job and the fraught family tension between father and daughter, Shreve pulls readers right into her story."—Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

Library Journal
Webster, a paramedic living with his parents in rural Vermont, meets Sheila Arsenault when he pulls her, bloodied and unconscious, out of a car wreck caused by her driving under the influence of alcohol. Her glossy brown hair draws him compulsively back, and he steadfastly ignores all warning signs as their relationship develops. Restlessness, a decidedly rocky past, and hints of alcoholism surround Sheila as their affair barrels into marriage and an unexpected pregnancy. An act of Sheila's finally causes their breakup, and Webster is left as the single father of two-year-old daughter Rowan. Years later, he must revisit decisions made during his marriage, as Rowan's teenage years begin to mirror her mother's history. Shreve, the best-selling author of The Pilot's Wife and Testimony, brings her usual balance of tension, family drama, and debatably likable characters to the mix in this story of love, duty, addiction, and loss. VERDICT For Shreve fans and all contemporary fiction lovers, this is a solid read, though not the author's most compelling or dazzling work. Excellent fodder for book clubs; there is plenty to discuss in the protagonists' motivations, decisions, and characterization. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/10.]—Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316129169
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
11/30/2010
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
79,438
File size:
645 KB

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What People are Saying About This

Mameve Medwed
Rescue has everything a reader could want in a novel. It's a literary page-turner with gorgeous writing, layered characters, a gripping story. No one is better than Shreve at mapping the emotional intersections of families — that place where tension, suspense, inevitability, and love collide and take our breath away. I adore this book!-- (Mameve Medwed, author of How Elizabeth Barrett Browning Saved My Life and Of Men and Their Mothers)
Augusten Burroughs
This book is why I love Anita Shreve: her prose is so flawlessly disciplined and elegant; the characters seem too real to be made out of words and the story she unfolds is gripping, fiercely intelligent and deeply moving. Rescue is a literary novel for those ruled by the heart. --(Augusten Burroughs, author of A Wolf at the Table and You Better Not Cry)
Andre Dubus III
“With taut, evocative prose, Anita Shreve takes us deeply into a single father’s love for his daughter. He is a man whose profession is the rescuing of strangers from serious harm, but what if those closest to him are beyond rescue? What if some of us are seemingly beyond saving? This engrossing novel forces its flesh and blood characters, and us, to live through this compelling and haunting question, one whose answer leads to a most universal place, the human heart.” --(Andre Dubus III, author of The Garden of Last Days)
Dennis Lehane
“A beautiful novel about the limits of forgiveness and the fragility of family. Pitch-perfect all the way to the final line.”--(Dennis Lehane, author of Moonlight Mile)
Stacy Schiff
“A compassionate, perceptive, uncommonly moving tale of a family shattered and redeemed. Rescue picks you up by the scruff of the neck and refuses to let you go.”--(Stacy Schiff, author of Cleopatra: A Life)
Richard Russo
Is there a more deft storyteller around than Anita Shreve? Rescue is by turns harrowing and heartfelt. --(Richard Russo, author of Bridge of Sighs and That Old Cape Magic)

Meet the Author

Anita Shreve is the acclaimed author of 15 previous novels, including A Change in Altitude; Testimony; The Pilot's Wife, which was a selection of Oprah's Book Club; and The Weight of Water, which was a finalist for England's Orange prize. She lives in Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New Hampshire; Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
1946
Education:
B.A., Tufts University
Website:
http://www.twbookmark.com/authors/41/239/index.html

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Rescue 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 382 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Hartstone, Vermont, paramedic Peter Webster stops at the scene of an apparent one car crash. Peter pulls out the unconscious driver Sheila Arsenalt who obviously was driving under the influence. He treats her injury. Afterward he is drawn to her like a bear to honey. They have an affair and eventually marry. Soon they have a daughter Rowan. However, parenthood does not abate Sheila's drinking. Instead she hits the bottle much more until she is in another car accident with Rowan as a passenger. To keep his wife out of jail, a desperate Webster sends Sheila away. Years later, a high school senior Rowan has begun drinking; hoping for A Change in Attitude, Webster begs for Sheila to come home to help their daughter. Rescue is an entertaining family drama starring three intriguing characters that seem to prove love is not enough to cement strong relationships. Neither Peter (as heroic first responder - even meets a teen he brought into the world years ago in an emergency), Sheila (as a woman unable to stop from hurting those she loves or herself) or Rowan (teen in peril) are fully developed beyond their dysfunctional roles. Yet in spite of the characterization, readers will enjoy Anita Shreve's enjoyable relationship tale. Harriet Klausner
-TESSA- More than 1 year ago
RESCUE Anita Shreve RESCUE is about a man whose work is to save lives in spite of his self-destructive family. This one is about coping with what is dealt, dealing with life and making the best of it. There are unpredictable choices to be made, alcoholism to deal with, search for hope, a man desperate to protect his daughter, vulnerable people, and lots of problems to solve, such is life as most of us know it. It is a poignant story about a good man who makes a mistake, but takes full responsibility for his actions. Peter Webster, the main protagonist, is a conscientious and loving parent and a hard-working man who accepts the fact that he must make the best of a bad situation. He is a person we can admire and rally around. The Sheila character, however, is a tortured soul who lacks the ability to comprehend that no one can help her deal with herself but herself. Shreve is a wonderful story teller who delivers reality with feeling and generosity. I enjoy all of her books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a spot for us to give our "view" on the book NOT to tell what happens from the first page to the last..............please people, stop spoiling the books for everyone. You're supposed to just say whether you liked it or not.
Listeningartist More than 1 year ago
I listened to this audiobook. The production was acceptable, not outstanding. Ms. Shreve tells a good story here, but her dialogue seems awkward and forced. She could have done much more with this story. I have read most of her work, and this is not her best.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Peter Webster was 21 when he literally saved Sheila Arsenault's life. His EMT team was responding to the call for medical assistance and they met. While these were less than ideal circumstances a relationship was formed and Sheila grabbed on with both hands to Webster's lifeline. Webster had the one and only thing Sheila craved - normalcy. Sheila comes with excessive baggage to the relationship but Webster ignores it all and falls in love despite the huge problems. They have a daughter, Rowan and Webster prays that this will bring Sheila to her senses and have her stop the spiral of destruction she keeps putting herself into. But with all hopes and dreams this one for Webster is short-lived and he takes the matter of caring for his daughter in his own hands. Sheila cannot be a mother and a drunk and when he made her choose it left Webster alone to raise Rowan. Life seemed ideal until Rowan hit 17 and beyond the regular adolescent angst Rowan turns angry toward him and Webster is powerless to figure out why. He reaches out to Sheila who has been gone for 15 years and the timing could not have been better as Rowan has found herself in a situation even an EMT can't save her from. Will Sheila being back help or hurt the life Webster has made he doesn't know but for Rowan any risk is worth taking.
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
Shreve just nails it again. A story of a small family, torn apart by alcohol and the subtle turnings of life. It could grow sappy and overdone, but no - deftly worked and all told, the ending is like a soft turn of the page with that whisper of air that makes the reader breathe out more of the story.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Little Brown Publishing Release Date: November 30, 2010 Paul Webster is working as an Emergency Medical Technician. On one of his first calls he pulls a beautiful woman from the wreckage, she never should have survived but Sheila Arsenault pulls through and is released from the hospital. Webster just can't get her out of his mind and breaking all the rules of his job tracks her down and they become involved in a torrid love affair. She becomes pregnant and the relationship that probably would have fizzled if allowed to run it's course is now moving full speed ahead. When she does something unforgivable, Webster is forced to give her some money and send her away, both for her own good and his. It is now eighteen years later, Webster has raised his daughter on his own, but lately she seems to be on a course headed for destruction. Maybe she needs her mom to help her get back on tracks but does he really want to invite her back into their lives? Is he ready to forgive her? Is he ready to answer all the questions his daughter will have? I couldn't put this book down it was so good. I read almost the whole thing in one sitting. I love this author and the way she writes. You are just drawn right in from page one. Her characters are easy to identify with, the story is current and real, you feel you are almost right there with them with their story unfolds right before your eyes. This is sure to land on the bestseller's list and remain there a while. It is one you will truly want to read and maybe more than once. It is definitely one for the keeper shelf. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received these books free from Little Brown, a Division of Hachette Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
yowen2010 More than 1 year ago
Quite honestly, this book didn't hold me so much. The style of writing was confusing and unclear...the plot was mediocre and the ending was abrupt. Disappointing.
sara32878 More than 1 year ago
I've read most of Anita Shreve books, and this one did not disappoint. I am writing my review because I saw others were disappointed. I read this book in 1.5 days, the story was touching. She makes you feel for the characters and the transitioning from the past to the present was seamless. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a parent.
BookLoaner More than 1 year ago
As soon as I started this book, I literally could not put it down. I'd highly recommend this title as well as an earlier book by the same author, "Sea Glass."
katz27 More than 1 year ago
I did not enjoy this book. I am a huge fan of Anita Shreve and was surprised at her lack of originality and weak storyline. Surprised to see others enjoyed it.
jessie2 More than 1 year ago
The first thing I "caught" in this book was the piece of land that Webster longs for, the house he dreams of building there, and I really thought that somewhere in the end this dream would come true. Enter Sheila and nothing is the same. I ask myself how someone so straight and narrow as Webster could fall in love with someone as "trashy and troubled" as Sheila. You can see right from the start that she is bad news and want to tell Webster to run the other way. The ending was too simplistic SPOILER ALERT Rowan is no longer troubled, Sheila is back in the picture and maybe back with Webster. I liked the book, it held my attention, easy read, would have ended it differently.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, but I would have given it totally different ending!
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ritaann425 More than 1 year ago
i really love her storytelling
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I liked it. Read really quick. One or two parts were iffy. But it made me want to keep reading.
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A-Duquesne-Girl More than 1 year ago
Great-good-enjoyable----easy to read in a day or so Good for a day saying out of the sun or rain or snow ENJOY
Anonymous More than 1 year ago