From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.
In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life.
But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it.
As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.
My Review of As Bright as Heaven
As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner is the poignant story of the Bright Family during turbulent times in America amid the Great War and the Spanish Flu.
Wanting to give his wife and daughters a better life, Thomas Bright accepts an offer from his Uncle Fred to come to Philadelphia and become an apprentice in his mortician practise. Having recently recovered from the loss of their baby Henry, Thomas’s wife Pauline is more than ready to say goodbye to their home in Quakertown and start afresh in a new city. At first Thomas, Pauline and the girls have to become accustomed to their new home and life with Uncle Fred, but soon Pauline and the girls are settling in and enjoying their new surroundings, routine and making Philadelphia their home. Willa, the youngest is making friends, Maggie is infatuated with their new neighbor Jamie Sutcliff and Evie is submerged in her studies. Thomas is busy learning everything he can about the business from Uncle Fred and Pauline is now running the household, as well as assisting Thomas and Uncle Fred.
Life, however, is unpredictable as the Bright family well knows and rumors of war become the reality of the day. Jamie Sutcliff much to Maggie’s dismay is now leaving for the Army and Thomas has been called into service too leaving just Uncle Fred and Pauline to run the business. And if the war is not bad enough, a darker menace has come to the shores of America in the form of a plague called the Spanish Flu. There is no rhyme or reason as to whom the flu strikes and thousands become ill, many dying. The Bright family is not immune to this menace and soon members of the household are fighting for their very lives. It is at this time that Maggie makes a discovery and a decision that will forever alter the course of all their lives. The Great War and the Spanish Flu forever changes the lives and landscape of all that it touches. Only the love and courage of those left behind can help one another survive, carry on and begin again.
I really liked this book. I liked the way the story evolved and all the characters Susan Meissner created. It was a joy reading a novel with strong female leads. My favorite characters were Pauline and Evie. Pauline would do anything for her family, friends and those in need. She was not afraid to challenge death and her strength and resilience was a thing of beauty. Evie was so like her mother, strong, smart and willing to face fear head on. She was not afraid to do what was right, even when it drastically changed the lives of those she dearly loved. As Bright as Heaven also made me research the Spanish Flu. I am so glad that I live in an age where medical science knows a little more how to combat these viruses, as well as the medicines to fight them. It was a real eye opener for me.
As Bright as Heaven is a story about the bonds of family and friends and the courage to keep moving in the worst of times. It is the story about love, loss and what makes us family. It is a book that is a must read if you love historical fiction with strong female characters and a compelling story-line. A great book to help you get through the last of winter.
I want to thank Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner for a fair and honest review.
Get our Badge!
save our badge, then link back to us at: