Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth

Stars Over Clear Lake

By Loretta Ellsworth


Critical Praise:


"A timeless story of love and loss in the wartime American heartland." —Linda Lael Miller, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Stars Over Clear Lake is an absorbing love story full of nostalgia, heartbreak, and secrets long buried—whether to protect others or simply for survival. Highlighting the lesser-known history of POWs in America during World War II, Ellsworth's tale serves as a timely reminder of the humanity that connects us, regardless of borders or circumstance, to even those labeled 'the enemy.' A memorable, highly transporting novel." —Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of The Edge of Lost and The Pieces We Keep

"A heartfelt, stirring novel of love, loss and redemption. Told in rich historical detail and with unflinching honesty, Stars Over Clear Lake sweeps the reader back and forth between the stark reality and the sacrifices brought on by war and the healing powers of hope, love and forgiveness." —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Missing Pieces

"A moving and life-affirming story that illuminates an often overlooked chapter in American history. Loretta Ellsworth takes the reader on an enthralling journey through the ups and downs of the human heart." —Ann Howard Creel, author of The Magic of Ordinary Days and While You Were Mine

"Loretta Ellsworth has written a moving romance that, at the same time, illuminates a little-known aspect of World War II history—the presence of German prisoner of war camps in the American heartland. With warmth and candor, Ellsworth brings that period, and the people who lived through it, to life." —Dana Sachs, author ofThe Secret of the Nightingale Palace and If You Lived Here
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*Discussion Questions



1. The book evokes the fear that people felt about German POWs, yet some people became friends with the Germans while they were in the U.S. How does that reflect the culture of that time, and is it relevant to our society today?

2. One of the themes of the book is secrets. What are some of the secrets kept by the different characters, and how does it affect their relationships?

3. The story evokes a strong sense of place, both in North Iowa and in the Surf Ballroom. How does this sense of place shape the narrative? How does it echo the internal conflicts of Lorraine?

4. Clear Lake is a real town in North Iowa and the Surf Ballroom is a cultural icon. Why do you think the author used a real -life ballroom? What are some of the benefits and is advantages in using existing places and buildings in a novel?

5. How does the author use the music of the time period to add atmosphere to the novel?

6. The book explores mother-daughter relationships. How does Lorraine’s relationship with her mother shape her future relationship with her own daughter?

7. How does Lorraine’s revelation about Daisy’s father at the end of the novel change Daisy’s view of her own heritage?

8. Another theme is following your dreams. How did societal expectations make Lorraine’s decisions more difficult?

9. Lorraine’s mother suffered from depression. How has medicine and culture changed in treating this today compared to the 1940s?

10. What sacrifices do the characters make in the novel? Do you agree with their sacrifices, or would you do things differently

Book Summary
Thomas Dunne Books St.| Martin's Press | 05/02/2017 | ISBN: 9781250097033 | 320 Pages
Mesmerizing and romantic, Stars Over Clear Lake transports readers to the Surf Ballroom, where musical acts became legends in the 1940s and which holds the key to one woman’s deepest secret.

Lorraine Kindred’s most cherished memories are of the Surf Ballroom, the place where youth lost themselves to the brassy sounds and magnetic energy of the big band swing, where boys spent their last nights before shipping off to war—and where Lorraine herself was swept away by a star-crossed romance.

Returning to the ballroom for the first time in decades, Lorraine enters a dazzling world she thought long vanished. But as the sparkling past comes to life, so does the fateful encounter that forced her to choose between her heart and her duty all those years ago—and Lorraine must face the secret she’s buried ever since. Along the way, she’ll rediscover herself, her passion, and her capacity for resilience.

Set during the 1940s and the present and inspired by a real-life ballroom, Loretta Ellsworth’s Stars Over Clear Lake is a moving story of forbidden love, lost love, everlasting love—and self love.
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