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.
Ellsworth alternates between 2007 and the 1940s, as one Iowa woman's journey into the past helps her reconcile her present. Lorraine Kindred laments her difficult relationship with her adult daughter, Daisy, as she copes with missing her recently deceased husband, Sid. Lorraine recalls when she once went to the Surf Ballroom before the original burned down. And she evades the questions her son-in-law Harry asks her about the fire and what caused it. Ellsworth gives the reader a view of the original Surf Ballroom, and the time when Lorraine's father hired German POWs from a nearby POW camp to help with their Iowa farm. Lorraine eventually falls in love with one of those men, Jens. Lorraine's most difficult choice was between Scotty, the man she grew up with and her mother's choice for her, and Jens, the love of her life. Ellsworth's depiction of 1940s life in a rural Iowa town, complicated by the tragedies of World War II, vividly brings this novel to life. Yet it is the focus on love, loss, and life choices that will resonate most with the reader.