Indie Next ListJanuary 2014
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
Cora Blake never dreamed she’d go to Paris. She’s hardly ever left the small fishing village where she grew up. Yet in the summer of 1931, she is invited to travel to France with hundreds of other Gold Star Mothers, courtesy of the U.S. government, to say goodbye to their fallen sons, American casualties of World War I who were buried overseas.
Chaperoned by a dashing West Point officer, Cora’s group includes the wife of an immigrant chicken farmer; a housemaid; a socialite; a former tennis star in precarious mental health; and dozens of other women from all over the country. Along the way, the women will forge lifelong friendships as they face a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.
About the Author
April Smith is the author of the successful novels featuring FBI Special Agent Ana Grey as the central character. She is also an Emmy-nominated television writer and producer. In her research for A Star for Mrs. Blake, she traveled to Maine, New York City, Paris, Verdun, and the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. Her home base is Santa Monica, California, where she lives with her husband.
Praise for A Star for Mrs. Blake…
“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
“[Smith] brings graceful life to a wrongly forgotten historical footnote.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Detailed and colorful . . . A story of America—rich in the lives of each of the characters.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Vivid and utterly unforgettable..” —The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Compelling. . . . A first-rate novel that is well worth reading.” —The Huffington Post
“Moving and surprising. . . . Smith, a lucid writer with a detective’s eye for detail, doesn’t let us forget the painful event that launched her heroine’s journey.” —BookPage
“A sensitively drawn portrait of an obscure but consequential event. It is also a story that highlights the power of female community, how that bond can help mitigate even a grief that has no end.” —WBUR.org
“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
“Smith writes with great depth of detail and of emotion, giving voice to . . . [these] Gold Star Mothers who traveled from America to their sons’ graves in France.” —Historical Novel Society
“Riveting. . . Smith has told this story with memorable characters and truly beautiful writing.” —Hudson Valley News
“Smith captures the mothers’ interactions in beautiful detail.” —Publishers Weekly
“Captivating and enlightening. . . . A heartfelt glimpse into a little-known episode in U.S. history.” —Booklist (starred review)