The Girl in the Blue Beret, by Bobbie Ann Mason
Marshall Stone, a commercial airline pilot, is being forced to retire in 1980 at age 60. Now that he has more free time, he wonders what happened to the people he met in 1944, when his B-17 bomber was shot down and crash landed in a Belgian field near the French border. Recently widowed, he rents a temporary flat in Paris, and revisits his past. He writes to his surviving crew mates, and meets Nicolas Albert, whose parents hid him and other aviators as part of the French resistance. Nicolas helps Marshall trace the people and places he encountered in the months before he was smuggled back to England. He most wants to meet Annette Vallon, the girl in the blue beret, and her friend Robert. As Marshall remembers his wartime experiences, Nicolas, Annette, and Robert’s daughter gradually explain what happened to them. The author was inspired by the real-life adventure of her father-in-law, and the people who helped him. A moving and memorable book, it reminds me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. For more information about the book, visit the author’s web site.