As bright as heaven by susan meissner
medical HISTORICAL FICTION, 464 PP
As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner, caught my eye in a Facebook group mentioning it covered the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic in Philadelphia. Ms. Meissner did an incredible job with the details of the flu and seamlessly wove it into her story. She also employed varying POVs with four characters. This is a difficult approach for writers, but she maintained consistency swapping between each one, even having the language grow and evolve as the characters did throughout the novel.
Related Blog Post: Part I: Done
Susan Meissner’s historical fictions never disappoint. I’ve also read her Secrets of a Charmed Life and The Fall of Marigolds. While I enjoyed Secrets, unfortunately I read it during the continued height of the WWII craze, which detracted from my overall connection to the story. The Fall of Marigolds, however, is captivating and one of the best examples of a dual timeline narrative moving between 1911 and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and Ellis Island and 2011 and the tenth anniversary of 9-11. Its approach and the use of a single object to connect the story has inspired a second novel idea for me.
I also have The Last Year of the War in my TBR pile, but as it’s yet another WWII-theme, albeit US based and centered on the internment camps, I think it will get shuffled down lower so I can pick up her newest release coming in February 2021, The Nature of Fragile Things about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. I’ve already ordered an autographed copy from an indie bookstore in CA as promoted by Susan. Keep an eye out for my review(s).
That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.Jhumpa Lahiri
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