A Star for Mrs. Blake

By April Smith
(Knopf Publishing Group, Hardcover, 9780307958846, 329pp.)

Publication Date: January 14, 2014

List Price: $24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2014 Indie Next List
“A Star for Mrs. Blake highlights a little-known slice of American history. The Gold Star Mothers, whose sons died in WWI and were buried in France, were escorted to their graves years later by the U.S. Army. Mrs. Blake, a spunky and practical woman from Maine, is one of a group of mothers making the journey. These women, unlikely candidates for friendships due to differences in class and life experiences, are brought together by the great equalizer of grief. This band of women is quirky and full of fire and vinegar, and readers are right beside them every step of the way as they prove that a mother's love is indomitable.”
-- karen schwettman, FoxTale Book Shoppe, Woodstock, GA


Description
The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons' graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women.
They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected: a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.
None of these pilgrims will be as affected as Cora Blake, who has lived almost her entire life in a small fishing village off the coast of Maine, caring for her late sister's three daughters, hoping to fill the void left by the death of her son, Sammy, who was killed on a scouting mission during the final days of the war. Cora believes she is managing as well as can be expected in the midst of the Depression, but nothing has prepared her for what lies ahead on this unpredictable journey, including an extraordinary encounter with an expatriate American journalist, Griffin Reed, who was wounded in the trenches and hides behind a metal mask, one of hundreds of "tin noses" who became symbols of the war.
With expert storytelling, memorable characters, and beautiful prose, April Smith gives us a timeless story, by turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, set against a footnote of history--little known, yet unforgettable.



About the Author
April Smith is the author of North of Montana and Be the One. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and children.
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