The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to
fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their
sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made
the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith
breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience
of five of these women.
They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become
inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold
Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final
good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected:
a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.
None of these pilgrims will be as affected as Cora Blake,
who has lived almost her entire life in a small fishing village off the coast
of Maine, caring for her late sister’s three daughters, hoping to fill the void
left by the death of her son, Sammy, who was killed on a scouting mission during
the final days of the war. Cora believes she is managing as well as can be
expected in the midst of the Depression, but nothing has prepared her for what
lies ahead on this unpredictable journey, including an extraordinary encounter
with an expatriate American journalist, Griffin Reed, who was wounded in the
trenches and hides behind a metal mask, one of hundreds of “tin noses” who
became symbols of the war.
With expert storytelling, memorable characters, and
beautiful prose, April Smith gives us a timeless story, by turns heartwarming
and heartbreaking, set against a footnote of history––little known, yet
unforgettable. Download and start listening now!