The Girl in the Blue Beret

The Girl in the Blue Beret

A Novel

Book - 2011
Average Rating:
7
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Random House, Inc.
Inspired by the wartime experiences of her late father-in-law, award-winning author Bobbie Ann Mason has written an unforgettable novel about an American World War II pilot shot down in Occupied Europe.

When Marshall Stone returns to his crash site decades later, he finds himself drawn back in time to the brave people who helped him escape from the Nazis. He especially recalls one intrepid girl guide who risked her life to help him—the girl in the blue beret.

At twenty-three, Marshall Stone was a U.S. flyboy stationed in England. Headstrong and cocksure, he had nine exhilarating bombing raids under his belt when enemy fighters forced his B-17 to crash-land in a Belgian field near the border of France. The memories of what happened next—the frantic moments right after the fiery crash, the guilt of leaving his wounded crewmates and fleeing into the woods to escape German troops, the terror of being alone in a foreign country—all come rushing back when Marshall sets foot on that Belgian field again.

Marshall was saved only by the kindness of ordinary citizens who, as part of the Resistance, moved downed Allied airmen through clandestine, often outrageous routes (over the Pyrenees to Spain) to get them back to their bases in England. Even though Marshall shared a close bond with several of the Resistance members who risked their lives for him, after the war he did not look back. But now he wants to find them again—to thank them and renew their ties. Most of all, Marshall wants to find the courageous woman who guided him through Paris. She was a mere teenager at the time, one link in the underground line to freedom.

Marshall’s search becomes a wrenching odyssey of discovery that threatens to break his heart—and also sets him on a new course for the rest of his life. In his journey, he finds astonishing revelations about the people he knew during the war—none more electrifying and inspiring than the story of the girl in the blue beret.

Intimate and haunting, The Girl in the Blue Beret is a beautiful and affecting story of love and courage, war and redemption, and the startling promise of second chances.

Baker & Taylor
A tale inspired by a true story traces the efforts of a family man who tracks down the French Resistance members who saved his life decades earlier, a quest for healing and closure during which he falls in love with a woman who was among his rescuers.

Baker
& Taylor

A tale inspired by a true story traces the efforts of a family man who tracks down the French Resistance members who saved his life decades earlier, a quest for healing and closure during which he falls in love with a woman who was among his rescuers. By the American Book Award finalist author of In Country. 35,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Random House, 2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9781400067183
Branch Call Number: FIC MAS
Characteristics: 352 p. ;,25 cm.

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grammag4
Feb 02, 2016

I just want to reserve this book for my library and I don't seem to be able to like I used to do.

branch_reviews Nov 03, 2012

This historical novel was inspired by the real-life experiences of the author’s father-in-law.
Marshall Stone was a 23 year old U.S. pilot who survived the crash-landing of his fighter plane in a Belgian field during World War II. He is now a 60 year old widower, facing mandatory retirement from his fulfilling career as a pilot. Finding himself at loose ends, and unable to stop thinking about the past, Marshall sets out for Paris to try to find the people who risked their lives to help hide him and guide him to safety so long ago.
The novel moves between Marshall’s recollections of the events and the people of the past and his present-day quest to find those people who played such a significant role in his survival.
Through Marshall’s remembrances we see the members of the Resistance who often risked their lives to help downed airmen, and we realize, as does Marshall, the high price of war to those who lived through it.
The person who affected him the most, and the clearest memory he has, is of the courageous teenage girl who protected and guided him in occupied France - the girl in the blue beret.
“Ushering her readers back and forth across the decades, she (Mason) perfectly weaves history with fiction. In many ways the book is a tribute to these unsung civilians whose heroism often was never acknowledged by those they helped. [A] near-perfect war story.” USA Today. Reviewed by SK.

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EmilyEm
May 11, 2012

Reaching mandatory retirement age in his job as an airline pilot and recently widowed, Marshall Stone decides to spend some time in France. He wants to find and thank those people in the Resistance who sheltered and moved him through France to Spain after his plane was shot down in WWII. One in particular is the girl in the blue beret. When Stone discovers the back story of his adventure, he hears tales told through their eyes that are very different than he's ever considered. He finally grows up, I think. It's quite a compelling novel based on several real life stories, including that of the author's uncle. Highly recommended.

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AnneGleason
Oct 29, 2011

For anyone who likes historical novels about WWII this was really good. Gave me a different perspective on the French & Belgian people & how they endangered their lives for the American fliers who were downed during the war.

w
waimari
Sep 18, 2011

an easy enjoyable read, ending was a bit disappointing??...

d
dcafk
Sep 09, 2011

This book was a disappointment as the author enjoys a very good reputation and I found this book wanting. The girl of the title was just too good to be true. She was a cardboard character as were many others in this novel. This was chick lit, not literature.

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fictionrules
Sep 02, 2011

This was an interesting book as far as its WWII perspective. Never had really considered the occupation of France and downed American pilots, or that the French would be sent to concentration camps for "interfering". Got a little bogged down with all the airlplane jargon, but the story of a man's search for the people who saved him from a horrible fate was very touching.

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