The Girl in the Blue Beret-Bobbie Ann Mason

The Girl in the Blue Beret

Bobbie Ann Mason

Random House, Jul 10 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780812978872

 

In 1944 over France, the Germans hit an allied B-17 bomber heading to Frankfort.  Co-pilot Marshall Stone lands the crippled plane in Belgium saving much of the Dirty Lily crew.  The resistance enables him and others to get back to England safely.

 

In 1978 his wife Loretta suddenly died and soon afterward he is forced into retirement as being too old to fly planes.  Two years since his Loretta passed, feeling alone, sexagenarian Marshall compulsively decides to fly to France and Belgium to thank those who saved his life as he scurried from one house to another like a rat.  He hopes the Vallons who kept him safe in Paris, Robert the planner of his great escape from France through Spain, and Annette the teenage school Girl in the Blue Beret who lived in one of the safe houses still live as he prays he can find them.

 

Rotating between the war and 1980, this is a moving historical as the memories and the realties do not often gel.  Like Marshall, readers will want to know what happened to those who risked their lives for the pilot.  Although a 1980 subplot involving Marshall and Annette feels unnecessary; fans will enjoy trekking from Paris across the Pyrenees as he retraces his trail.

 

Harriet Klausner

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