Paramedic Pete Webster is worried sick about his daughter, Rowan, a high-school senior whom he has raised single-handedly ever since she was two. Rowan has adopted very untypical behavior, ignoring her studies and drinking heavily. It brings back bad memories of his ex-wife, Sheila. He pulled her from a car wreck while on the job and soon fell madly in love with her both for her beauty and her irreverent sense of humor. When she became pregnant, he married her though he was only 21. They were very happy until Sheila began drinking all day, every day. Now Pete is worried that their daughter believes she is doomed to repeat her mother’s mistakes; he decides to contact Sheila, whom he has not seen or heard from for 16 years. The prolific Shreve brings her customary care to this thoroughly absorbing, perfectly paced domestic drama. Alternating between the 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. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Since 2001, Shreve’s books have spent more than 100 weeks on the New York Times best-seller lists; her sixteenth novel will no doubt follow suit. –Joanne Wilkinson
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.
This book is one that forces the reader to do self-examination in that it makes you think “what am I willing to risk for the sake of my child”. More than likely it is everything and we are of course accepting of what the casualties this decision might bring. Anita Shreve always writes thought provoking books but this one hits home because we all at some time have to decide whether we are a help to another. – Mary J. Gramlich, Amazon Review
From its opening car crash, Anita Shreve’s character-driven ‘Rescue’ is worth the ride
The Washington Post Book Review – December 10, 2010 (Excerpt)
With more than a dozen highly readable novels to her credit, including an Oprah’s Book Club pick for “The Pilot’s Wife,” Anita Shreve is a reliable presence on the bestseller list. “The Pilot’s Wife” opened with a mysterious plane crash, and another novel, “A Change in Altitude,” began with a spur-of-the-moment decision by unprepared amateurs to climb the treacherous Mount Kenya. From such opening crises, her novels spread quietly and inexorably, drawing readers into the hearts of her characters.
No one can create the beginning of a complex relationship like Shreve. Her latest book, “Rescue,” opens with a car accident that changes both lives involved. Peter Webster, a rookie emergency medical technician, is roused at 1:10 a.m. to race to the scene of a one-car wreck involving a drunk driver who has “wrapped herself around a tree.” The injured driver is a young woman named Sheila Arsenault. After she is rushed off in an ambulance, Webster, overcome by an unexpected desire, talks his way into the hospital to see her and then returns to the crash site, finds her keys and takes them to her. He feels a puzzling link to this patient he knows nothing about. [Read the full article...]