About A Star for Mrs. Blake
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Knopf (January 14, 2014)
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.
“A Star for Mrs. Blake is a beautifully written, meticulously researched slice of American history. April Smith’s poignant and tender story of five courageous World War I Gold Star mothers’ amazing journey across the sea is one you will never forget.” —Fannie Flagg
“April Smith has written a beautiful and unforgettable novel about five Gold Star Mothers whose stories are both personal and universal. Writing A Star for Mrs. Blake must have been a labor of love and it shows on every page. Everyone who has served or is serving in the military, and also their families and friends, should read this book.” —Nelson DeMille
“A heartfelt glimpse into a little-known episode in U.S. history. . . Smith’s historical fiction is captivating and enlightening.” —Deborah Donovan, Booklist (starred review)
“Captivating. . . Smith captures the mothers’ interactions in beautiful detail and delves into the government’s not-entirely-altruistic reasons for sponsoring the trip.” —Publishers Weekly
April Smith is the author of North of Montana; Be the One; Good Morning, Killer; Judas Horse; and White Shotgun. She is also a television screenwriter and producer, whose most recent work was a TNT original movie based on Good Morning, Killer. She lives in Santa Monica.
April Smith’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Sunday, January 12th: Writer Unboxed author guest post
Tuesday, January 14th: A Bookish Affair
Wednesday, January 15th: Cici’s Theories
Thursday, January 16th: Bookchickdi
Monday, January 20th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, January 21st: Drey’s Library
Wednesday, January 22nd: Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, January 23rd: BookNAround
Monday, January 27th: Book Snob
Wednesday, February 5th: Books and Movies
Thursday, February 6th: The Lost Entwife
Monday, February 10th: Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, February 11th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Monday, February 17th: Library of Clean Reads
Monday, February 17th: Reading Lark