‘A Star for Mrs. Blake’ Explodes the Myths of War

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A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith
Monica Reads Review
By Monica Drahonovsky

April Smith relates a time in history – the year 1929.

Congress passed legislation empowering the Secretary of War to arrange pilgrimages to European cemeteries for mothers and widows of members of military and naval forces who died in service from April 5, 1917 and July 1, 1921.

Monica Drahonovsky

Monica Drahonovsky

The Office of the Quartermaster General determined that 17,389 women were eligible. By Oct. 31, 1933, when the project ended, 6,693 women had made the pilgrimage. This is a fictional story of what happened on these journeys.

The four women in Party A were accompanied, like all of the other pilgrimages, by a nurse and an active duty military man.

The story is a page turner. You will not be able to put it down. The women explode myths of the time. Color, wealth, rank and the great depression are front and center in the tale. The emotions are raw and immersed in fear and anxiety. The fear and dislike of the German forces is clear.

The ravages of the Great War are discussed and the next war was shaping up inside Germany.

The scenario includes a faceless victim who befriends one of the women, her regret regarding her son’s leaving over her objections, the hold that wealth had on everyone – even what they read in the big newspapers. The Great War was not great.

It was a killing machine that revealed the gross lack of concern for death. The military of all countries involved were more concerned about their individual country’s military legacy. Who would remember what they did and where they would send their men? There was not one winner in the Great War. We all lost, especially the mothers, widows, and grandmothers.

Please read this book. You will learn about the history of this war, medical abilities and the power of the bond between men and wives, mothers and grandmothers. Why did the United States and the vast manufacturing concerns of the time even think we could change the outcome?

It would have ended whether the United States got involved or not. The second World War was set to happen because of the major reparations that were imposed during the Armistice.

Oh my. What a book.

Monica Reads is InDepthNH.org’s latest column. It is written by Monica Drahonovsky who is known for her love of history and her lifelong love for reading. She has a bachelor’s degree in History, with a minor in English, along with teaching credentials. “My years of reading for leisure and pleasure have given me the insight to read a book and analyze the author’s baggage, cargo and ability to write the language of his/her mind and utilize the gift of prose to educate and entertain the reader.  Go get a book, read it and enjoy the adventure.” Contact Monica at mawest@tds.net.

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