I found out over the weekend that Anita Shreve, one of my favorite novelists, died at age 71 from cancer.
I was heartbroken. Shreve was one of my first favorite authors and remains so to this day. I first heard of her when The Weight of Water was adapted into a movie. I never saw the movie, but I picked up the book from the library. I was drawn into both the historic murder mystery and the modern-day plight of a woman who can’t quite prove her husband is cheating but feels it in her bones.
The Weight of Water was the first of many books I read by Shreve. My favorite was Fortune’s Rocks, about a 19th century girl who falls in love with a man, has a baby, loses both, then manages to get both back — though the baby comes back through a sensational custody trial.
Shreve was from New England. Though I only lived in New England for four years, I feel drawn to authors from the area and to stories set there. Almost all of her books take place there, namely in seaside towns or on the beach. I learned when reading her obituary that Shreve once took a photo of a beachside house in Maine, and that photo served as an inspiration for several of her books.
Shreve had a talent for writing stories that were both romantic and melancholy. I felt comforted reading her prose, even when it was sad. She will be missed.
If you’d like to read her books, a few of my favorites are below: