Book 88 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from October 28 - November 7
A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith
Summary (via the book jacket)
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, courtesy of the U.S. government, she joins hundreds of other Gold Star Mothers traveling to France to say a final 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.
The book is fictional but the author explains the real program for Gold Star Mothers it was based on. I wasn't familiar with it before but I thought it was a very nice thing to do for the mothers/families.
Will this whole "which Mrs. Russell" subplot end up being necessary? At first it just added confusion. And once it was settled, I missed the first Mrs. Russell we met; she was a great character and I feel it was a missed opportunity for a different perspective not to follow her journey
A Few Quotes from the Book
"The blue star symbolized hope and pride, one star for every family member in military service...Then one day they accepted the lonely task of replacing the blue star with one of gold. Gold meant sacrifice to the cause of liberty and freedom. It meant they were now Gold Star Mothers. They hadn't asked for this, nor did they have any say in how it happened, but they had been given to bear the most violent and dark cost of the nation's war."
"He believed in his country and his superiors, and that President Wilson had been correct when he said, "The world must be made safe for democracy - the right is more precious than peace," so when [the mothers] settled down, he assumed his military posture in the front of the bus, and bravely met the expectations of the mothers in his care. His duty was to represent the army, not to rewrite history. But he could show it to them in a more gentle light."