Happy Wednesday. I can’t believe the week is almost half over. Not that I’m complaining. Today, I’m reviewing A Star For Mrs. Blake, which is on tour with France Book Tours. Here’s the link for all the tour stops.
Release date: January 14, 2014 at Knopf
Hardcover, 352 pages
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for historical fiction. Many, many years ago it was all that I read. When I read the blurb for this novel I was intrigued. I had never heard of the pilgrimages made by mothers and widows of members of the armed forces who died in World War I. This is the type of history that fascinates me: the history of everyday life.
The story follows five women on their pilgrimage. Each woman is an individual and this adds a wonderful degree of tension in the story. However, Smith wisely focuses on one of the mothers, Cora Blake. She’s the glue holding everything together.
Right from the start I liked Cora Blake. She’s tough, determined, and broken. Not many mothers ever get over the loss of a child. As the story progressed I wanted to know more about Cora. It’s great to have an intriguing character that pulls you into a story.
My one complaint about this novel is the second half started to include too many revolving parts. Smith introduces some characters, while they play pivotal roles, I still have to wonder if they were completely necessary. I know this sounds odd, but I have to wonder if there was another way of telling the story and keeping the focus on Mrs. Blake and her four companions. I won’t say too much since I don’t want to give away anything. For me, having so much going on diminished the sense of loss all the women endured when they first heard the news and then on the pilgrimage. The novel wasn’t as emotional as I expected it to be.
This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the story. I did. I really did. I just feel that it could have been trimmed some to enhance the flow of the story.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
April Smith is the author of the FBI Special Agent Ana Grey mystery series,
starting with North of Montana.
She is also an Emmy-nominated writer and producer of dramatic series and movies for television.
She lives in Santa Monica with her husband.