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 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.

As Bright as Heaven Details

TitleAs Bright as Heaven
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherBerkley Books
ISBN-139780399585968
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, War

As Bright as Heaven Review

  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Hazel Gaynor
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Lisa Wingate
    January 1, 1970
    One of the loveliest benefits of author life is being given the opportunity to peruse upcoming books before they make their way to the rest of the world. When an early copy of Bright as Heaven came my way (still in a plain white wrapper, no gorgeous cover yet), I couldn't wait to crack open the pages. Rich in historical detail, Bright as Heaven is a vivid journey into an almost unimaginable time. Pauline, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa face loss, transition, change, and uncertainty with grace and resi One of the loveliest benefits of author life is being given the opportunity to peruse upcoming books before they make their way to the rest of the world. When an early copy of Bright as Heaven came my way (still in a plain white wrapper, no gorgeous cover yet), I couldn't wait to crack open the pages. Rich in historical detail, Bright as Heaven is a vivid journey into an almost unimaginable time. Pauline, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa face loss, transition, change, and uncertainty with grace and resilience as they come to life on the pages. Kudos to Susan Meissner for spinning this skillfuly-told tale and illuminating a fascinating slice of American history.
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  • Pam Jenoff
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to have an early read of this wonderful book set in Philadelphia around the outbreak of WWI. It is a unique premise and gloriously written!
  • Cindy Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Meigan
    January 1, 1970
    As Bright as Heaven is a story of love and loss and tragedy, but most importantly - hope. 1918 - the Bright family has relocated to Philadelphia from Allentown, PA, to live with Mr. Bright’s uncle and take over the family’s funeral business. Brimming with optimism in the face of such newfound prosperity, the Brights settle in and quickly adapt to their new lives and routines. But their routines and that new feeling of comfort is short-lived as the Great War is just beginning, the drafts have sta As Bright as Heaven is a story of love and loss and tragedy, but most importantly - hope. 1918 - the Bright family has relocated to Philadelphia from Allentown, PA, to live with Mr. Bright’s uncle and take over the family’s funeral business. Brimming with optimism in the face of such newfound prosperity, the Brights settle in and quickly adapt to their new lives and routines. But their routines and that new feeling of comfort is short-lived as the Great War is just beginning, the drafts have started, and Mr. Bright along with several beloved friends and neighbors are called to serve. On the heels of this tragedy, the Brights and the world at large are in the crosshairs of a new and invisible enemy - the Spanish Flu. As soon as I saw “Spanish flu”, this was a book I definitely wanted to get my hands on. Hailed as the one of the worst epidemics in human history, the Spanish flu of 1918 killed an estimated 50-100 million people in countries all over the world. An unimaginable and unfathomable tragedy, and Meissner deftly weaves in historically accurate details, making this fictional tale feel a bit more realistic. As Bright as Heaven is a story heavily laden with loss and tragedy and heartbreak, but it also showcases the strength and the resilience of the human spirit. The characters in this book have all been touched by death and their ability and sheer desire to endure in the face of such suffering was definitely a bright spot in this otherwise bleak and heart-wrenching tale. Highly recommended, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to discovering other books by this author. *I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads giveaways.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    My Review of “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan MeissnerI love the vivid descriptions of the setting and the characters in “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan Meissner. The genres for this story are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The story setting for this story is mostly in Philadelphia, and some other areas as described in the story. The timeline of the story is around 1918, when there is the Spanish flu epidemic and carries through the Great War, World War One, and after.The characters are described My Review of “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan MeissnerI love the vivid descriptions of the setting and the characters in “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan Meissner. The genres for this story are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The story setting for this story is mostly in Philadelphia, and some other areas as described in the story. The timeline of the story is around 1918, when there is the Spanish flu epidemic and carries through the Great War, World War One, and after.The characters are described as complex complicated and confused, mostly dictated by the devastating times. The Bright family moves to Philadelphia to hope for a better life, where the husband will be working in his Uncle’s Funeral Home. Pauline Bright has lost her baby son, so this move for her family looks like it could be positive. Despite the fact that men are headed to fight in The Great War, the possiblility of the new move for Pauline, her husband and three daughters seems like a wonderful chance and new beginnings.The Spanish flu epidemic has grasped hold of much of the country and soon schools and public places are closed. There are many deaths. The funeral home doesn’t have space for all the deceased bodies. Moving to Philadelphia, where the population is greater, and there are so many sick people may not have been such a great choice.Pauline volunteers to go to the poorer part of town to deliver food and materials to sick people. Her daughter accompanies her. While Pauline goes to one of the apartments, Maggie hears the cries of a young baby. She sees that the mother is dead, and brings the baby to her mother Who will care for the little boy?Despite the heartbreaks and challenges, the family looks at the choices they have to make. Are there really all good choices, or all bad choices?I appreciate the historical research that Susan Meissner has done for this time period. The Spanish Flu doesn’t discriminate between the rich and poor, or the young or old. I also love that the author discusses the importance of family, friends, good neighbors, loyalty, courage, kindness, being helpful, love, hope and faith. I would highly recommend this book for readers of Historical Fiction. I received an Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.
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  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 5th book of SM's that I've read and I will definitely continue to read her work. All of them are completely different from the others in their settings and characters yet they all hold the same qualities and equally compelling stories. These aren't books that instantly hit you over the head but instead are slow build-up's told about relatable & genuine people/families that slowly close their grip on you so that you don't realize how deeply the characters & story have gotten i This is the 5th book of SM's that I've read and I will definitely continue to read her work. All of them are completely different from the others in their settings and characters yet they all hold the same qualities and equally compelling stories. These aren't books that instantly hit you over the head but instead are slow build-up's told about relatable & genuine people/families that slowly close their grip on you so that you don't realize how deeply the characters & story have gotten inside you. Only when it ends are you fully aware that now you and the book are forever linked. The stories SM has chosen to tell are as beautiful and they are heartbreaking. Each one that I've read has a different setting but they are all equally vivid and genuine.For a family, moving from the country surrounded by those they love to a city where they know only one person (and that is very distantly), that's an enormous change to endure. Follow that up with the beginning of WWI and then the Spanish Flu pandemic and you have the setting of As Bright as Heaven. This family is forever altered in more ways than they can imagine and won't be known fully for years to come. We all make decisions that seem right at the time and only time will tell if that was truly the right decision.I highly recommend giving Ms. Meissner's books a try. You won't be disappointed.
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  • Shelby Machart
    January 1, 1970
    Won another Goodreads giveaway!
  • PennsyLady (Bev)
    January 1, 1970
    AS BRIGHT AS HEAVENThe turbulent 1918 finds the Bright family moving fromrural Quakertown to Philadelphia.The father (Tom) will assist Uncle Fred in providing services fromthe Bright Funeral Home.Mother (Pauline) and girls Evelyn, Maggie and Willa will be given a "chance at a better life."As the WWI draft looms to include 36 yr old Thomas, he volunteers in the fall 1918, hoping to serve in the field hospital.The Spanish flu, subtle at first, then strikes the city with a fury.With each chapter we AS BRIGHT AS HEAVENThe turbulent 1918 finds the Bright family moving fromrural Quakertown to Philadelphia.The father (Tom) will assist Uncle Fred in providing services fromthe Bright Funeral Home.Mother (Pauline) and girls Evelyn, Maggie and Willa will be given a "chance at a better life."As the WWI draft looms to include 36 yr old Thomas, he volunteers in the fall 1918, hoping to serve in the field hospital.The Spanish flu, subtle at first, then strikes the city with a fury.With each chapter we find one of the females addressing usand updating life from her personal perspective.I would recommend this as a vivid, touching historical fiction novel.I found many chances for contemplating life throughout the novel.The book's tapestry was complete (no loose ends) but I did findEvelyn's mode of restoration a bit unsettling.
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  • Sharon Lawler
    January 1, 1970
    Exceptional writing delivers a tale centered on the grief felt by the Bright sisters, their parents, and those they come to love. Not just historical fiction centered on the 1918 influenza outbreak and its impact on Philadelphia, but an examination of death and loss, and how different personalities cope with being left behind.
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    I received my copy free through Goodreads Giveaways
  • Sarah Smith
    January 1, 1970
    I happen to be a big fan of historical fiction so this book immediately caught my attention. The novel opens in January of 1918, Tom and Pauline are grieving the recent loss of their infant son and decide to uproot their family (3 young daughters) from rural Pennsylvania to the bustling city of Philadelphia so Tom can work with his Uncle and eventually take over his funeral home business. Soon after their move, more and more American soldiers join/are drafted into WWI and the Spanish Flu spreads I happen to be a big fan of historical fiction so this book immediately caught my attention. The novel opens in January of 1918, Tom and Pauline are grieving the recent loss of their infant son and decide to uproot their family (3 young daughters) from rural Pennsylvania to the bustling city of Philadelphia so Tom can work with his Uncle and eventually take over his funeral home business. Soon after their move, more and more American soldiers join/are drafted into WWI and the Spanish Flu spreads across Philly and the rest of the world. Times are unbelievably difficult and their family must stick together in order to survive. In the midst of all of the chaos surrounding them, they end up finding an orphaned baby boy who they take in and take care of. The baby boy, who they affectionally name Alex is a welcomed distraction and provides the family hope when they need it the most. Fast forward 7 years later, to Part Two of the book, where we get to see how the family has grown and evolved. I love when a novel is written like this as I find it very interesting to see how characters are impacted by certain events and situations years after, and it gives the reader closure as we get to really close the loop on story lines. Every character in this book is dynamic, they all have good intentions but at the end of the day, they are human and don’t always make the right decisions, especially in such trying circumstances. This book has everything; family, love, loss, history, hope and heartbreak. I cried more times that I would like to admit (and tried to hide it on a packed commuter train) but I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. I recommend this book wholeheartedly and cannot wait to get my hands on another one of Susan Meissner’s books!
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  • Julia Alberino
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for agreeing to write an honest review. I was stunned by how much I enjoyed this book! Susan Meissner is so skilled at writing from multiple points of view that I am left in awe of her talent. The four female characters (Pauline, Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa) who tell the story in alternating chapters captured my attention and interest from the first page. Add in some truly memorable male characters (especially Jamie, and Full disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for agreeing to write an honest review. I was stunned by how much I enjoyed this book! Susan Meissner is so skilled at writing from multiple points of view that I am left in awe of her talent. The four female characters (Pauline, Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa) who tell the story in alternating chapters captured my attention and interest from the first page. Add in some truly memorable male characters (especially Jamie, and though he has a very minor role, Mr. Weiss) and "As Bright as Heaven" becomes a book with wide appeal. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 is practically a character in this work of historical fiction, given that it is the flu that influences just about all that takes place for the Bright family. Above all else, though, for me, this is a book about love in its many manifestations. As Pauline comments midway through the book: "If we were made of stone or iron, we would be impervious to disease and injury and disaster, but then we could not give love and receive love, could we? We’d be unable to feel anything at all, and surely incapable of spreading our wings and flying…” These characters to a person give and receive love, and the sisters Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa, surely spread their wings and fly in three very diverse fields, psychiatry, mortuary science, and jazz. Loving parents support most of the children in the novel, and, were it not for the flu and World War I, their lives would be too perfect to believe. But the history against which the novel is set lends a necessary dose of reality. So, cancel your appointments for a day and settle in to read "As Bright as Heaven." You won’t be sorry.
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  • Patricia Linville
    January 1, 1970
    "The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 was the deadliest disease in history...Fifty million people worldwide are estimated to have died from Spanish Flu." acknowledges author Susan Meissner. Her novel As Bright As Heaven chronicles the disease through one family's experiences. Pauline and Thomas are moving to Philadelphia to take over Uncle Fred's undertaking business. No longer do families care for the deceased in their own homes. Now they deliver the body to the undertaker, allow him to do all t "The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 was the deadliest disease in history...Fifty million people worldwide are estimated to have died from Spanish Flu." acknowledges author Susan Meissner. Her novel As Bright As Heaven chronicles the disease through one family's experiences. Pauline and Thomas are moving to Philadelphia to take over Uncle Fred's undertaking business. No longer do families care for the deceased in their own homes. Now they deliver the body to the undertaker, allow him to do all the preparation and funeral planning. What is thought to be a new beginning for them and their three daughters begins to unravel as friends and family begin to fall ill. The story unfolds slowly at first but each character is well known by the time the unraveling begins. I found this book fascinating and difficult to put down. While we generally remember 1918-19 as the time period of the Great War, which also figures prominently in the novel, the Spanish Flu is usually a mere footnote to the time. This novel puts these events in grisly perspective with the intimate telling of one family's story and leaves one to wonder how others, possibly those close, were similarly impacted. Highly recommended to gain a most humbling respect for those who endured the era.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    I am grateful to Penguin Random House for this advance reading copy of "As Bright As Heaven". Susan Meissner style is character and drama with added historical intrigue. What I like about this story is the delivery in each character's view on war, loss, and triumph. What I did not like is that each character is written in the first person dialogue, in turn making the reader have to stop and refresh on "who" is talking even though the chapter heading clearly tells you who is speaking. The story s I am grateful to Penguin Random House for this advance reading copy of "As Bright As Heaven". Susan Meissner style is character and drama with added historical intrigue. What I like about this story is the delivery in each character's view on war, loss, and triumph. What I did not like is that each character is written in the first person dialogue, in turn making the reader have to stop and refresh on "who" is talking even though the chapter heading clearly tells you who is speaking. The story starts off with an intense plot that draws the reader in. By the middle of the book, the reader is well connected to the view and personality of Pauline (the mother), Thomas (the father), Evelyn (named Evie), Maggie, and Willa. The reader encounters other characters in the history of war, plague, and survival. By the end of the book, the reader is in the midst of character risk, drama, love, loss, and desperation. The story is well written and should be a hit with readers of historical literature. I gave the book four stars for the reason of First person dialogue for multiple characters making the transitions between chapters, thus pulling the reader out of the story. Otherwise, I found this book a great read.
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  • Brenda
    January 1, 1970
    I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this wonderful book. I have read and loved many of Susan Meissner's books, but this one may just be my favorite. To read of the harrowing onset of the flu epidemic and to delve into the fear and panic felt by everyone, for no one was untouched, makes for compelling reading. We are treated to the Bright Family's multi-generational points of view, which adds an interesting depth to the story. These intelligent, strong willed women are so engaging that each of th I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this wonderful book. I have read and loved many of Susan Meissner's books, but this one may just be my favorite. To read of the harrowing onset of the flu epidemic and to delve into the fear and panic felt by everyone, for no one was untouched, makes for compelling reading. We are treated to the Bright Family's multi-generational points of view, which adds an interesting depth to the story. These intelligent, strong willed women are so engaging that each of their differing, but related story lines kept me turning the pages to see what would come next. The heart of the story, I felt, was how families can be together yet still separate in their grief. It was interesting to see how a family can grieve for the same loss, but how that loss means something different to each of them. Grief shapes them as they're going through it, and sends them down very different paths as they try to make sense of it. If you are a fan of Susan's, of historical fiction, or just supremely well written books, you'll find As Bright as Heaven to be a must-read.
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  • Rosanna
    January 1, 1970
    “Love something long enough and true enough and fate will tear it out of your hands if it chooses and there’s nothing you can do about it.”Loved the setting of this book, during WWI and the Spanish Flu epidemic in the U.S at the time. I was not at all familiar with this era, having read more WWII historical fiction. However, this book dealt with family relationships and boy, do I know about those! Are we predestined in our familial relationships or do we have any control over them? The Bright fa “Love something long enough and true enough and fate will tear it out of your hands if it chooses and there’s nothing you can do about it.”Loved the setting of this book, during WWI and the Spanish Flu epidemic in the U.S at the time. I was not at all familiar with this era, having read more WWII historical fiction. However, this book dealt with family relationships and boy, do I know about those! Are we predestined in our familial relationships or do we have any control over them? The Bright family moves to the big city, in hopes of a better life and to a degree, achieved it, but at what price. Was their fate sealed, or could they change it? I loved the development of the characters in this family and description of their surroundings. The author did an excellent job of describing their circumstances, dilemmas, and challenges. I would imagine this would be a good pick for a book club discussion.
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  • Jennifer Kelley
    January 1, 1970
    I read an excerpt of the book, and am eager to read the rest. Chapter One brings us Pauline, standing at the grave of her infant son, who was granted only a short life. She is readying herself to leave the home she has always known, where she grew up, married and had her children. To move to the city of Philadelphia, where her husband will undertake a new career in his uncle's mortuary.I was immediately drawn in by Pauline's voice and look forward to learning more about her family. The Spanish I read an excerpt of the book, and am eager to read the rest. Chapter One brings us Pauline, standing at the grave of her infant son, who was granted only a short life. She is readying herself to leave the home she has always known, where she grew up, married and had her children. To move to the city of Philadelphia, where her husband will undertake a new career in his uncle's mortuary.I was immediately drawn in by Pauline's voice and look forward to learning more about her family. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 is something I don't know much about, and it will be interesting to learn about this time period from the viewpoint of a character living through it, and seeing death close at hand.The author immediately captures the character of Pauline, and makes us eager to follow her and her family on their journey.
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  • Aida Alberto
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced copy of this book from the Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own. Before I joined this group I didn't read much historical fiction but I promised myself that when they offered books to be read and reviewed I would expand my horizons to read a little of everything. I absolutely loved this book. This is the book that awoke my passion for historical books. It is vibrant, emotional and lyrical. She makes you feel as if the scenes of the book are leaping into reality and y I received an advanced copy of this book from the Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own. Before I joined this group I didn't read much historical fiction but I promised myself that when they offered books to be read and reviewed I would expand my horizons to read a little of everything. I absolutely loved this book. This is the book that awoke my passion for historical books. It is vibrant, emotional and lyrical. She makes you feel as if the scenes of the book are leaping into reality and you are there along with them cheering them on. The characters were absolutely wonderful. The plot was well done and the pacing of the book kept you engrossed until the very last page. This is definitely a pick me up and read me. This new to me author is sure to become one of my favorites. Happy reading!
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  • Lillian
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book I have read from this author and was provided to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.I enjoyed reading As Bright as Heaven very much and consider it a great read especially Adults and Young Adults and also for Book Clubs, since there are themes and events presented throughout the book which can lead to an interesting discussion. The author sets her historical fiction book in the year of 1918, when the Spanish Flu was considered the deadliest disease in history, This is the first book I have read from this author and was provided to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.I enjoyed reading As Bright as Heaven very much and consider it a great read especially Adults and Young Adults and also for Book Clubs, since there are themes and events presented throughout the book which can lead to an interesting discussion. The author sets her historical fiction book in the year of 1918, when the Spanish Flu was considered the deadliest disease in history, resulting in worldwide deaths of 50 to 100 million people. The Novel As Bright as Heaven narrates this historical event and its impact on the Bright family who at the time lived in Philadelphia. If you like reading Historical Fiction mixed with love, loss, fate, decisions, sacrifice, war, death, tragedy and more, don’t miss on this one. You won’t regret it.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    It is 1918, and Evie, Maggie, and Willa, who narrate the chapters alternately, are relocating from their rural hometown to Philadelphia, where their father has been offered employment in his uncle’s funeral parlor. At the heart of this novel is Death. Loved ones, strangers, children, and adults are affected by the terrible flu pandemic sweeping the world, and the Great War is raging, changing those who can never forget the horror they have seen. The research is excellent, the characters are unfo It is 1918, and Evie, Maggie, and Willa, who narrate the chapters alternately, are relocating from their rural hometown to Philadelphia, where their father has been offered employment in his uncle’s funeral parlor. At the heart of this novel is Death. Loved ones, strangers, children, and adults are affected by the terrible flu pandemic sweeping the world, and the Great War is raging, changing those who can never forget the horror they have seen. The research is excellent, the characters are unforgettable, and the story is compelling—I saw so many positive reviews on Netgalley I felt I had to read this novel. I am glad I did. As Maggie says, “We are all doing the best we can with what life hands us. That’s all we’ve ever been able to do. This is how we live our story.”
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  • Bea
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book from Bookbrowse.com free in exchange for a review. This story follows the lives of four women in a family starting in 1918 and ends in 1926. It takes place in Philadelphia and, while it is during the Great War, it also is during the Spanish Flu epidemic, which I didn't realize killed 12 million people worldwide. The story is told in alternating chapters by a mother and her three daughters. I felt like I knew the characters and became enmeshed in their lives and wanted to get I received this book from Bookbrowse.com free in exchange for a review. This story follows the lives of four women in a family starting in 1918 and ends in 1926. It takes place in Philadelphia and, while it is during the Great War, it also is during the Spanish Flu epidemic, which I didn't realize killed 12 million people worldwide. The story is told in alternating chapters by a mother and her three daughters. I felt like I knew the characters and became enmeshed in their lives and wanted to get back to reading it every day. The family in the story are undertakers, but there is nothing ghoulish about it. It just seems like a necessary thing that someone has got to do, and provides perspective about the amount of deaths there were from the epidemic.
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  • Ginger Pollard
    January 1, 1970
    I was a lucky girl to win this wonderful book on Goodreads! This book starts in one of my favorite years, 1918. It's the year my grandfather, who raised me was born! I'm always interested in this time period. This book does not disappoint, it's absolutely fantastic! The characters are so well developed that you feel like you are there with them. They're people who you really want to know and see succeed in life. A terrible tragedy happens halfway through and I wondered how the author was ever go I was a lucky girl to win this wonderful book on Goodreads! This book starts in one of my favorite years, 1918. It's the year my grandfather, who raised me was born! I'm always interested in this time period. This book does not disappoint, it's absolutely fantastic! The characters are so well developed that you feel like you are there with them. They're people who you really want to know and see succeed in life. A terrible tragedy happens halfway through and I wondered how the author was ever going to pull through it. But pull through, she does! If this is an indication of what the year 2018 has in store for readers, we are a lucky group! I enjoyed it very much! I highly recommend all readers put this on their TBR for the coming year. I would give it a million stars! Don't miss it!
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  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    This is such a sweet historical fiction about a gruesome part of history. Thanks great writing, strong character development m, and deep empathetic storylines, we get a glimpse into the past that's as readable as it illustrative.I started this book last night, without realizing how immersive and healing each character storyline would be, now rewarded with a full circle conclusion and a story I could put down! The Spanish influenza was a horrible plague upon this nation, yet told from one family' This is such a sweet historical fiction about a gruesome part of history. Thanks great writing, strong character development m, and deep empathetic storylines, we get a glimpse into the past that's as readable as it illustrative.I started this book last night, without realizing how immersive and healing each character storyline would be, now rewarded with a full circle conclusion and a story I could put down! The Spanish influenza was a horrible plague upon this nation, yet told from one family's perspective illustrates so much more than the grizzly history, but the light they can come out of the darkness.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    I won an ARC copy here on goodreads and I'm so happy I did! This latest Susan Meissner did not disappoint. If you've read her other recent books, you will notice a difference, in that we are not reading parallel stories from two different time periods, but rather we get to read a story about the Spanish Flu epidemic from the different viewpoints of all the ladies in a family... a mother & her three daughters. I loved that their stories all told something a little bit different and I felt I c I won an ARC copy here on goodreads and I'm so happy I did! This latest Susan Meissner did not disappoint. If you've read her other recent books, you will notice a difference, in that we are not reading parallel stories from two different time periods, but rather we get to read a story about the Spanish Flu epidemic from the different viewpoints of all the ladies in a family... a mother & her three daughters. I loved that their stories all told something a little bit different and I felt I could identify with them all in some way. Also, before I read the book, I knew absolutely nothing about this worldwide epidemic, so it was very interesting to read!
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  • Diane Perry
    January 1, 1970
    I received this in a Goodreads giveaway. I want to thank Berkley Publishing for this advanced copy. Brilliant and compelling. I felt I was back in the 1900s and living with this family. Every tragedy, trial and triumph I went through with the Bright family. I love the fact it was told by the Mother and the three daughters POV. To see how all of them saw the war, there flu epidemic, and work as a family was an emotional rollercoaster ride. This is one strong family. Grab a box of tissues or two a I received this in a Goodreads giveaway. I want to thank Berkley Publishing for this advanced copy. Brilliant and compelling. I felt I was back in the 1900s and living with this family. Every tragedy, trial and triumph I went through with the Bright family. I love the fact it was told by the Mother and the three daughters POV. To see how all of them saw the war, there flu epidemic, and work as a family was an emotional rollercoaster ride. This is one strong family. Grab a box of tissues or two and dive in. You will not be disappointed! Unputdownable!
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    This was a warm, inspirational and satisfying story set in Pennsylvania during World War I and the 1918 flu epidemic. I received an advanced reading copy and finished the book in two days because the story was so moving and well-developed. The Bright family endures the losses of friends and family members, a hectic undertaker business and dealing with death in their lives on a daily basis, and they still manage to live with love, caring and hopeful optimism. I think this is a good book for group This was a warm, inspirational and satisfying story set in Pennsylvania during World War I and the 1918 flu epidemic. I received an advanced reading copy and finished the book in two days because the story was so moving and well-developed. The Bright family endures the losses of friends and family members, a hectic undertaker business and dealing with death in their lives on a daily basis, and they still manage to live with love, caring and hopeful optimism. I think this is a good book for group discussion.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    This novel is a work of historical fiction, with the 1918 outbreak of Spanish flu and its victims coming on the heels of deaths from WWI. In Philadelphia, the Bright family is trying to make a new start after losing their son Henry. Living with an uncle who is an undertaker, the family is in Philadelphia where 12,000 died of the flu. I loved the characters, mainly Maggie, Evelyn and Willa, three sisters who move beyond tragedy to make very different decisions. I recommend this story of family an This novel is a work of historical fiction, with the 1918 outbreak of Spanish flu and its victims coming on the heels of deaths from WWI. In Philadelphia, the Bright family is trying to make a new start after losing their son Henry. Living with an uncle who is an undertaker, the family is in Philadelphia where 12,000 died of the flu. I loved the characters, mainly Maggie, Evelyn and Willa, three sisters who move beyond tragedy to make very different decisions. I recommend this story of family and their strength in the face of tragedy,
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  • Ann Marie
    January 1, 1970
    I connected instantly with the mother in this story. Two pages in I was already crying. Has the author suffered a loss to be able to write a scene like this one? Many other profound moments to follow. Tidbits of wisdom. Each character is so well written. Touching story that transcends time. Relevant even today. Any who experience suffering and loss and how to move on will understand. I will be happy to read more of Susan Meissner's books.
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