Book Review – A Star for Mrs. Blake

In the early 1930’s the United States government send several thousand women, who had lost their sons in the fighting of World War I, to France to visit their graves. A Star for Mrs. Blake is a fictional account of a woman, Cora Blake, and the small group of other mothers with which she traveled to France. Cora Blake is from Maine.  She is a hard-working widow who had raised her son, Sammy, on her own, only to lose him in the last months of World War I.  She and several other women travel together to France to visit their sons’ graves and to act as goodwill ambassadors between the United States and France.  As they travel through France, Cora Blake’s story unfolds along with the story of a reporter she meets in Paris and, to a lesser extent, the stories of the other women and the officers in charge of the group.

What I liked:  The history was interesting.  I did not know anything about Gold Star mothers (mothers who lost sons in the war).  The descriptions and some of the events were also interesting.

What I didn’t like: The characters seemed very shallow at times.  Their interactions seemed forced, they became too familiar with each other too quickly, and their actions often didn’t seem believable.  Also, while the story could have been very good, many things were skimmed over so that it left me wanting to know more.  I kept waiting for more depth and more understanding as to why people were doing what they did but I finished it unsatisfied.

It is a quick read and I think it could have been a good book but I wish the author had spent more time developing her characters and sharing their motivations and thought processes rather than just skimming over the surface.

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