A Star for Mrs. Blake - April Smith

An unlikely group of five women, all from different backgrounds, find themselves becoming friends in difficult circumstances.  All of them are WWI Gold Star Mothers, taking advantage of the US Government's offer of a trip to France to see their sons' final resting place.  At the center of the group is Cora Blake, a librarian from a tiny town in Maine.  She is so eager to help she is given the made-up job of member coordinator ... and thus gets to know the women before they all depart.

It is after they begin their journey together that the women become close, working initially through conflicts between cultures and class.  

The book examines prejudice, post-traumatic stress disorder (through the eyes of a seriously injured journalist who befriends the women in France), and different ways that humans love each other.  The characters are richly drawn and interesting, and the author's research brings post-war Paris to life.

Highly recommended.