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A Star for Mrs. Blake

By April Smith, 1949- author

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. 


This ebook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.

Format

Book

Availability

2 available at Cooper (Forest Acres)
  • F Smith, Fiction
  • F Smith, Fiction

Publish Date

2014

ISBN

9780307958846


Format: Book
Author: Smith, April, 1949- author
Summary: "An emotionally-charged, brilliantly realized novel set in the l930's about five American women--Gold Star Mothers--who travel to France to visit the graves of their WWI soldier sons: a pilgrimage that will change their lives in unforeseeable and indelible ways. The women meet for the first time just before their journey begins: Katie, an Irish maid from Dorchester, Massachusetts; Minnie, wife of an immigrant Russian Jewish chicken farmer; Bobbie, a wealthy Boston socialite ; Wilhelmina, a former tennis star in precarious mental health; and Cora Blake, a single mother and librarian from coastal Maine. In Paris, Cora meets a journalist whose drug habit helps him hide from his own war-time fate--facial wounds so grievous he's forced to wear a metal mask. This man will change Cora's life in wholly unexpected ways. And when the women finally travel to Verdun to visit the battlegrounds where their sons fought as well as the cemeteries where they are buried, shocking events -a death, a scandal, a secret revealed--will guarantee that Cora's life and those of her traveling companions will become inextricably intertwined, and only now will they be able to emerge from their grief and return home to their loved ones. This is a timeless story set against a footnote of history: little known but unforgettable.."-- Provided by publisher.
Title: A star for Mrs. Blake / April Smith.
Publisher Date: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Subject: Mothers and sons -- Fiction. Parental grief -- Fiction. World War, 1914-1918 -- Fiction. Cemeteries -- France -- Verdun -- Fiction. United States -- History -- 1919-1933 -- Fiction.
Isbn: 9780307958846 (hardcover) 0307958841 (hardcover)
Current Holds: 0
System Items Available: 3
System Items Total: 4
Call Number: F Smith
Oclc: 846889299
Upc:
Bib Id: 495035

Format: Book
Author: Smith, April, 1949- author.
Summary: Meeting for the first time for a shared pilgrimage to France to visit the graves of their World War I soldier sons, an Irish maid, a chicken farmer's wife, a Boston socialite, a former tennis star, and a librarian meet a brutally scarred journalist before confronting a shocking secret.
Summary: "An emotionally-charged, brilliantly realized novel set in the l930's about five American women--Gold Star Mothers--who travel to France to visit the graves of their WWI soldier sons: a pilgrimage that will change their lives in unforeseeable and indelible ways. The women meet for the first time just before their journey begins: Katie, an Irish maid from Dorchester, Massachusetts; Minnie, wife of an immigrant Russian Jewish chicken farmer; Bobbie, a wealthy Boston socialite ; Wilhelmina, a former tennis star in precarious mental health; and Cora Blake, a single mother and librarian from coastal Maine. In Paris, Cora meets a journalist whose drug habit helps him hide from his own war-time fate--facial wounds so grievous he's forced to wear a metal mask. This man will change Cora's life in wholly unexpected ways. And when the women finally travel to Verdun to visit the battlegrounds where their sons fought as well as the cemeteries where they are buried, shocking events -a death, a scandal, a secret revealed--will guarantee that Cora's life and those of her traveling companions will become inextricably intertwined, and only now will they be able to emerge from their grief and return home to their loved ones. This is a timeless story set against a footnote of history: little known but unforgettable.."-- Provided by publisher.
Title: A star for Mrs. Blake / April Smith.
Edition: First edition.
Publisher, Date: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.
Description: 329 pages ; 24 cm
Subjects: Mothers and sons -- Fiction.
Subjects: Parental grief -- Fiction.
Subjects: World War, 1914-1918 -- Fiction.
Subjects: Cemeteries -- France -- Verdun -- Fiction.
Subjects: United States -- History -- 1919-1933 -- Fiction.
Other Title: Star for Missus Blake
LCCN: 2013023987
ISBN: 9780307958846 (hardcover)
ISBN: 0307958841 (hardcover)
Requests: 0
Available Copies: 3
Total Copies: 4
Call Number: F Smith