As Bright as Heaven

As Bright as Heaven

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 fres...

DownloadRead Online
Title:As Bright as Heaven
Author:Susan Meissner
Rating:
Edition Language:English

As Bright as Heaven Reviews

  • Hazel Gaynor

    I was very lucky to read an ARC of Susan Meissner's forthcoming novel and it totally swept me away. Beautifully written and vividly imagined, AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN is a mesmerizing portrayal of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, a devastating event in our global history that I haven't read about in such depth before. The author deals with the subject with grace and sensitivity, while drawing the reader into the wonderfully constructed world of her female protagonists - a mother and her three daught

    I was very lucky to read an ARC of Susan Meissner's forthcoming novel and it totally swept me away. Beautifully written and vividly imagined, AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN is a mesmerizing portrayal of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, a devastating event in our global history that I haven't read about in such depth before. The author deals with the subject with grace and sensitivity, while drawing the reader into the wonderfully constructed world of her female protagonists - a mother and her three daughters - who move into a funeral home just before the outbreak of the flu epidemic. I walked every step with Pauline, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa around their unusual and atmospheric home, and around the flu-stricken streets of Philadelphia. Brilliantly researched and emotionally charged, this is a novel which will linger long in the memory.

  • Cindy Burnett

    Sue Meissner’s books just get better and better with each new one; every time I pick up her latest book I hope that it will be as good as her last ones, and instead I end up liking the newest one the most. Very few authors can sustain that level of excellence; it is quite an impressive feat. As Bright as Heaven is simply fantastic: Meissner’s tale is fascinating, heartbreaking and an all-around beautifully written book. Moreover, her characters are well-developed, authentic and believable. Using

    Sue Meissner’s books just get better and better with each new one; every time I pick up her latest book I hope that it will be as good as her last ones, and instead I end up liking the newest one the most. Very few authors can sustain that level of excellence; it is quite an impressive feat. As Bright as Heaven is simply fantastic: Meissner’s tale is fascinating, heartbreaking and an all-around beautifully written book. Moreover, her characters are well-developed, authentic and believable. Using the four Bright females as narrators was a solid and effective choice; their various stories are slowly unfurled as the pages fly by. Each female character has a distinct personality, and I was constantly awestruck at how Meissner chose the perfect individual to reveal a particular secret or fact.

    I knew virtually nothing about the Spanish Flu epidemic in the United States (I knew that it had devastated parts of Europe) at the end of World War 1 before I read As Bright as Heaven. Learning about events like this is one of my favorite things about historical fiction, and I especially enjoyed that aspect in this book because it was a significant event about which I am glad I now know occurred. In her Author’s Note, Meissner states that the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919 was the deadliest disease in history, significantly worse than the Black Plague, and she chose it because it was an untold story. I am so glad that she did.

    There are times when I am reading a novel, and the events occurring are such that I cannot see an ending that will be satisfactory to me. There were two such plot lines in As Bright as Heaven. Without including any spoilers, Meissner managed to wrap both issues up successfully (one better than the other but both reasonable resolutions) which I felt was no small feat.

    I highly, highly recommend As Bright as Heaven. I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought’s Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.

  • Dorie

    I had previously read “A Bridge Across The Ocean” by Ms. Meissner and I was anxious to read this new novel. Wow, it is one of the best books that I have read this year!!! The prose is beautiful and flowing and amongst all of the heartache and physical and emotional difficulties the human spirit shines brightly!

    The setting is Philadelphia around 1917 and on. The Bright family, husband Thomas, wife Pauline and their three daughters have just moved to Philadelphia from a poor tobacco town to join T

    I had previously read “A Bridge Across The Ocean” by Ms. Meissner and I was anxious to read this new novel. Wow, it is one of the best books that I have read this year!!! The prose is beautiful and flowing and amongst all of the heartache and physical and emotional difficulties the human spirit shines brightly!

    The setting is Philadelphia around 1917 and on. The Bright family, husband Thomas, wife Pauline and their three daughters have just moved to Philadelphia from a poor tobacco town to join Tom’s uncle’s funeral business. The Bright’s have recently lost their young infant son and have decided that a move would be a positive thing for them, a new environment, better education for their girls, a solid well paying job for Tom with the knowledge that he will someday inherit the funeral business from his childless uncle.

    The novel is so multi-layered that it’s difficult to do it justice in a review. It is told from multiple perspectives of family members. The war begins to really rage in Europe and soon even Tom, in his 40’s, is called to serve. Not long after their father leaves the Spanish flu begins to spread it’s ugly tentacles across the US, having started in Europe. Many soldiers have died while in service and they also return to the US forts and hospitals and the flu spreads like a wildfire. I didn’t know much about this terrible time but Ms. Meissner has done extensive research and there is a wealth of knowledge here. She helps us see the extent of the human suffering, the victims falling to the disease so quickly, the undertakers and gravediggers can’t work fast enough or provide enough caskets for the dead. In the end it’s told that around 10,000 people in Philadelphia alone died from the flu.

    It’s at this time that Pauline and her daughter Maggie volunteer to take food to the sick and Maggie hears the cry of a baby, enters his home and finds his dead mother and what she believes to be his dying sister. She bundles the filthy, untended baby in her coat and returns to her mother. They take in the child and raise it as their own having provided all of the information that they know to the police and other authorities.

    The family experiences the horror of the flu as their mother, Pauline, dies. Through the years, as their father returns from the war to care for the children and eventually run the funeral home they experience happiness again.

    There are so many interesting stories of the girls, their interests, loves and losses that are all well developed and I felt as though I knew each of the girls. This book made me realize that the flu in the end claimed almost one third of the population in the world, more than all of the soldiers that died in the World Wars. It’s hard to even imagine a devastating disease such as this ever happening again, but there is always that chance that science may not be able to keep up with the ever changing viruses.

    I would recommend this book to everyone, there is so much to like about this book. The interesting plot with well researched facts, the well rounded characters believable and incredible and the writing flows like a river. Buy this book, read it and pass it on, it’s that good.

    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, thank you.

  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON FEBRUARY 1, 2018

    "Ms. Meissner has written another touching book that teaches us some history as well as teaches us about the goodness of mankind and its generosity in times of a crisis.

    Another marvelous, heartfelt read by Ms. Meissner you won't want to miss. You will fall in love with the characters and won't want the book to end.

    AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN has a beautiful story line, beautiful research, and beautiful characters.

    You will also need a few tissues. 5/5

    This book was g

    FULL REVIEW WILL BE ON FEBRUARY 1, 2018

    "Ms. Meissner has written another touching book that teaches us some history as well as teaches us about the goodness of mankind and its generosity in times of a crisis.

    Another marvelous, heartfelt read by Ms. Meissner you won't want to miss. You will fall in love with the characters and won't want the book to end.

    AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN has a beautiful story line, beautiful research, and beautiful characters.

    You will also need a few tissues. 5/5

    This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher, NetGalley, and BookishFirst. I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.

  • Andrea

    5 GLORIOUS stars (and 5 random thoughts):

    1. My first ARC! Thank you to the publisher for providing my with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

    2. Apparently, 100 years ago, fifty-million people worldwide perished from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the deadliest disease in history and I had NO idea. As the backdrop for this novel, I was enthralled.

    3. The story follows the alternating perspectives of a wife and her 3 resilient daughters as they make a new life in Philadelphia. The

    5 GLORIOUS stars (and 5 random thoughts):

    1. My first ARC! Thank you to the publisher for providing my with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

    2. Apparently, 100 years ago, fifty-million people worldwide perished from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the deadliest disease in history and I had NO idea. As the backdrop for this novel, I was enthralled.

    3. The story follows the alternating perspectives of a wife and her 3 resilient daughters as they make a new life in Philadelphia. Their voices are spot-on authentic. Never once did I want to take my nose out of this book.

    4. Be warned....It is a complete sob-fest, but so worthwhile! Books like this are why I read.

    5. “She surely will come to understand when she is older, as we all do. Sooner or later she will learn that time changes everything, takes everything; sometimes in a blink and sometimes so slowly you can’t even see it happening.”

  • Lori

    Perfection! I absolutely adored this novel. I have never read anything about the Spanish Flu and was astounded at the number of people & families it affected. Meissners writing is flawless. She draws you in with her remarkable characters and storytelling. This is a novel not to be missed! 5+ stars.

  • Diane S ☔

    1918, Philadelphia, a city with many opportunities, a city that the Bright family, Pauline, Thomas and their three daughters move to for just that purpose. Thomas's elderly, childless uncle wants them to live in his large house, and for Thomas to train and takeover his mortuary business. Leaving Quakertown behind, this is what the family looks forward to, a new and better life, especially after the tragedy of a terrific loss.

    I fell in love with this family, and we hear individually from each of

    1918, Philadelphia, a city with many opportunities, a city that the Bright family, Pauline, Thomas and their three daughters move to for just that purpose. Thomas's elderly, childless uncle wants them to live in his large house, and for Thomas to train and takeover his mortuary business. Leaving Quakertown behind, this is what the family looks forward to, a new and better life, especially after the tragedy of a terrific loss.

    I fell in love with this family, and we hear individually from each of them in alternating chapters. Things look promising for them but then the Spanish flu comes to call, an unwelcome Spector that causes further loss. Such a winning combination of characters, history and a first hand look at the devastation of War. The Spanish flu hit Philadelphia extremely hard, the hardest in the nation and caused untold hardship and heartache for many. The Bright family will lose much but also gain a baby in an unusual manner, and this child will keep the family moving forward.

    We watch as the girls grow, but there is a secret one is keeping that will come back to haunt. Prohibition is also instated at this time so we also are treated to a look at some of the results of this act. This is a wonderfully told story, rich in family, love, and history. So many details make this book stand out, details for n the mortuary business and in everyday lives. Sorrows and hurts, joys and happiness. An immersive story that tugs at the heart.

    ARC from bookbrowse and publisher.

  • Angela M

    1918, a family after a tragic loss, moves from Quakertown to Philadelphia when the childless uncle invites the father of this family to work with him as an undertaker and become heir to his business and home. Philadelphia is a place where Thomas Bright thought he could give a better life to his wife and three daughters. They move into the funeral home so how could this book not be about death, given the business ? But death appears in ways that could not be anticipated with the outbreak of the S

    1918, a family after a tragic loss, moves from Quakertown to Philadelphia when the childless uncle invites the father of this family to work with him as an undertaker and become heir to his business and home. Philadelphia is a place where Thomas Bright thought he could give a better life to his wife and three daughters. They move into the funeral home so how could this book not be about death, given the business ? But death appears in ways that could not be anticipated with the outbreak of the Spanish flu and in ways that they could not imagine would touch their lives. It wasn’t until I read the author’s note after I read the book that I learned that Philadelphia was one of the hardest hit places.

    The novel begins in a beautifully introspective way with Pauline Bright’s narrative which tells of their loss and how she copes with the grief. It continues in alternating chapters from the perspective of her three daughters. Maggie who is 12 at the time is feisty and good hearted and so observant, not just about her surroundings but about her family as well. Willa is 6 and not much more to say about her at least in the beginning but she grows and changes. Evelyn at 15 is smart, inquisitive, and as observant as her sister and a prolific reader.

    Susan Meissner has written a fascinating work of historical fiction reflecting on the terrible impact of the flu epidemic, the death and misery it caused, as well as depicting how families were impacted when their loved ones went off to fight in WWI. It became more than a book about grief and death, but about how people can dig deep with themselves to move forward, about how an orphan baby brought hope and joy to this family when it seemed impossible. The character development is just so good and I was drawn to each of these characters. The ending, though, was just a little too neat. After reading the author’s note , it’s obvious how well researched this novel is. It’s a good story with characters to remember set in the middle of a tough time in history and I recommend it !

    I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkley Books through NetGalley.

  • Melisa

    I LOVED

    , have been wanting to read this one for ages🙌 Here we go!

Best Free Books is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2018 Best Free Books - All rights reserved.