As Bright as Heaven

As Bright as Heaven

Book - 2018
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In 1918 Philadelphia, during the Spanish flu epidemic, a family is reeling from the losses of loved ones and changes in their adopted city, a situation that is further shaped by their decision to take in an orphaned infant.
Publisher: New York : Berkley, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780399585968
0399585966
Branch Call Number: F MEISSNER
Characteristics: 387 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Meissner's prose draws you in to the flu epidemic of 1918 using the viewpoints of a mother and three daughters in an undertaker’s family. You will need tissues.
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darladoodles
Jan 14, 2019

Read this a second time for a book group and found it to be an even more enjoyable read the second time around. Meissner has a gift for immersing us in the time periods she writes about and gives us information about a subject that is not as well known to many. Her characters jump off the page and into our hearts. You will need tissues!

h
hezzie14
Aug 26, 2018

I always love Susan Meissner's books. This one started great and then, hit a huge snag. I am not sure what happened to the flow or if she had too many ideas to do one book but at the end of part one this went from a 5 star to a 3 start book. The start was easy to read and believable. Part 2 becomes unrealistic - a doctor falls in love with a patients husband (?) Very disappointed in this book. It is dark as the subject matter is death, dieing, the Spanish Flu epidemic, war and the world of the undertaker. An ok read, but after Meissner's other books, a major let down.

d
darladoodles
Feb 06, 2018

Since I am a big fan of Susan Meissner's historical fiction, it was a treat to acquire an ARC from the publisher and NetGalley.

Unlike some of Meissner's other novels, this one does not have a present and past storyline. It focuses solely on Philadelphia beginning in 1918. The Bright family moves from the country to the city so Thomas, the father, can take over Uncle Fred's funeral home. We view the story through the eyes of Pauline (mother) and her three daughters: Evie, Maggie and Willa. Their age range allows us to see very different aspects of the flu epidemic, men going off to war and the aftermath.

Meissner's prose draws you in and be sure to have a tissue box handy. There are many heartrending scenes that we feel along with the characters. I also love the many chapters that end with concise yet profound pronouncements like: "She was ready."

An author quote from the Acknowledgements sums it up nicely: "Death comes for us all in one way or another. It is a certainty. Our lives will one day end, and most of us never know when. Interestingly enough, it is our mortality that gives our existence its value and beauty. If our days were not numbered, we probably wouldn't care how we spent them. How does knowledge that we are mortal affect our choices? The risks we take? The risks we don't? These were the questions I wanted to explore as I wrote this book and that I wanted you to ponder as you read it. We are, all of us, living out stories of our lives. Each of our stories will end, in time, but meanwhile, we fill the pages of our existence with all the love we can, for as long as we can. The is how we make a life."

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