As Bright as Heaven
Book Review - As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
I started listening to this book on my drive to Chicago - Eric and I visited for the first time since our move to celebrate our 10th anniversary. I finished this book leaving Chicago after an unforgettable weekend with friends. I cried for four hours straight. Lliterally. That is no exaggeration - the entire four hours it took me to drive from Chicago to Bloomington, IN. I was already emotionally vulnerable leaving the city I love and the friends I love, but also this book tugs at the heartstrings so hard I would be hard pressed to find someone who didn't tear up while reading this book.
As Bright as Heaven is a historical fiction work set during the Spanish Flu - starting in 1918 and ending in the mid 1920s. The story is told from the perspective of the Bright Family, each chapter changing the narrator between Pauline, the mother, and her three daughters: Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa. The Bright Family moved to Philadelphia just prior to WWI and the outbreak of the Spanish Flu - they are living with their uncle who owns and operates a mortuary giving them a unique perspective on the thousands of deaths caused by the Spanish Flu.
Prior to reading this book, I had very little knowledge of the Spanish Flu - and I commend Susan Meissner for choosing a less glamorous time in history as the setting for her book. It is difficult to get people excited to read a book about the Spanish Flu, but Meissner wrote a beautiful story that drew me in almost immediately. Plus, for those of you who prefer the hustle and bustle and glamour of the 1920s, there is a little bit of that for you, too!
Susan Meissner has long been one of my favorite authors. A few of my other favorites by her include Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, Secrets of a Charmed Life, and A Fall of Marigolds (click the links for my reviews.) I heard mixed reviews about her last book, A Bridge Across the Ocean, so I didn't read it. I was thrilled to hear great things about this book - I was eager for another great work of historical fiction by Susan Meissner. I'm also so happy that she agreed to do an interview with me (perks of being a book blogger!) So check back on Thursday for more about Susan Meissner.