April Smith, author of the Ana Grey Mystery Series and other books.

A Star for Mrs. Blake

An emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel set in the 1930s about five American women — Gold Star Mothers — who travel to France to visit the graves of their World War I 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 wartime 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. 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.

“A Star For Mrs. Blake is a beautiful and
unforgettable novel about five Gold Star Mothers
whose stories are both personal and universal . . .
a labor of love that 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

“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

“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’s foray into historical fiction is captivating
and enlightening.”

Booklist, Starred Review


  • A Featured Selection of The Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Book-of-the-Month Club, Mystery Guild, Rhapsody Book Club, Doubleday Large Print and BOMC2

  • “On the Same Page” — Cincinnati Public Library all-city reads choice for 2014
  • Excerpt in Good Housekeeping magazine, January edition on sale 12/16

  • An Apple iBooks sneak peek
  • Available in hardcover, e-book, large print and audio editions. Discounted pre-orders taken now

  • Author tour, including military bases
  • IndieBound
  • Knopf
  • Barnes&Noble
  • Amazon