I had said in a blog post that I love reading books that take place in areas that I know. I have loved books by Allen Eskens, William Kent Krueger, and Heather Gudenkauf. All of these authors have written books that take place in Iowa and Minnesota…my stomping grounds.
In one of Allen Eskens’s books, he writes about Mankato Minnesota and the main character who was going to college there. It’s where I went to college. I can vividly see everything the author is writing and I love it.
A blog reader mentioned that I might like the book Stars Over Clear Lake. The story takes place in Clear Lake Iowa part present-day and part in WWII. It sounded like something I might want to check out…and I did.
The first part I loved about the book, one of my favorite audiobook performers was reading the book, Tavia Gilbert. The second part I loved about the book was that it was reminiscent of the book Summer of My German Soldier. Do you remember that book? Did you read in as a teen? I did. I remember loving watching the show. It starred Kristy McNichol and I loved her.
This book didn’t involve an escaped soldier but one from a POW camp in Algona Iowa which isn’t far from Clear Lake.
The book also focuses on The Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. I’ve been to The Surf several times. I’ve seen many performances there as they still (pre-covid) host many musical groups there.
So for me…a fun read or should I say listen. I do think others would also enjoy the story as well. It’s a little more romance like than I usually read, but not bad at all.
Here’s what Amazon had to say: “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.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.6 stars. I’d likely say 4.4 stars. The book has people “appear” that were dead and that isn’t quite my thing, but the lady who sees the dead is an older lady and I chalked it up to beginning Alzheimer vs actually seeing them.
You can find the book HERE on Amazon.
If anyone can recommend other books written by Iowa and Minnesota authors, please let me know about them in the comment section…THANKS!
5 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Stars Over Clear Lake”
I just watched a video on you tube about the Surf Ballroom. A member of my favorite vocal group, Home Free, did a tour of the Surf Ballroom. What an amazing place, so full of music history. I had heard of the Surf Ballroom but never really knew that much about it. Awesome! I would love to see it someday. Now when I read the book I will be able to picture the Surf Ballroom as I read.
Also, Home Free was started in Mankato! Excellent all vocal group.
Have you read any of John Sandford’s books? Lucas Davenport (the names Sandford came up with crack me up) is a sometimes a cop, detective, investigator. They mostly take place in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. The series all include ‘Prey’ in the title. I agree that it is fun to know the places the story is taking place. Julie Kramer also has several books that take place in Minnesota.
I have enjoyed books by Donald Harstad. Before he started to write he worked in the sheriff’s department in Clayton county Iowa. He uses fictional place names but the books take place in eastern Iowa and western Wisconsin.
I too like reading books set in locations I know of want to experience. Since Covid has grounded us I’ve especially enjoyed Lucinda Riley’s “Seven sisters” series. Settings take you all around the world, into the past and other cultures. Clever plot line. I want to meet the sisters. Try to read them in series order.
Dr Dennis Glawe also writes about NE Iowa. Loved the historical references!