Hamline News

Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth, MFAC '09


Stars Over Clear Lake by Loretta Ellsworth
Published by Thomas Dunne Books
Publication date: May 2, 2017
Novel, 312 pages 

Order the book: St. Martin's Press
Author Site: lorettaellsworth.com 
Read Ginny Greene's review in the Star Tribune



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.



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 of The Secret of the Nightingale Palace and If You Lived Here

In this wonderful book, we are given so much history, how World War II played out in the middle of the country, this musical era, the tale of the POW camps in Iowa. A very moving, musical, and magical love story.
—Mary Logue, author of the Claire Watkins mysteries

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.
—Publishers Weekly



Thursday, May 11th at 7 pm: Hear Loretta read and discuss her new novel; book signing to follow! 
Subtext Books: event details
6 W. 5th St. St. Paul, MN

Sunday, June 11th at 4 pm: Coincides with the Surf's Big Band series that night at 6:00 pm with Hunter Fuerste and His Vintage Orchestra. Book World will sell books at the event.
(No charge for the presentation/book signing, but the dance is $15). 
Surf Ballroom: event details
460 N. Shore Dr., Clear Lake, IA

Thursday, June 15th at 7 pm 
Literature Lover’s Night Out
Excelsior Bay, MN. (tickets required) 



Loretta is a former Spanish teacher and the author of four young adult novels: The Shrouding Woman, In Search of Mockingbird, In a Heartbeat, and Unforgettable. Her books have been awarded many accolades, including Teen’s Top Ten Finalist, ALA and IRA Notables, New York Library List of Books for the Teen Age, Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Honor Award, Midwest Connection’s Pick, BBCB Choice, NEMBA (North Eastern Minnesota Book Award) finalist, Rebecca Caudill Nominee, and Charlotte Award Nominee.

Loretta received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University and lives with her husband and children in Lakeville, Minnesota. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s usually playing tennis.

Connect with Loretta at her
Facebook Page
and Twitter: @LEllsworth