The Secret Life of Mrs. London
San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.PRAISE FOR THE SECRET OF MRS. LONDONFrom Victoria Kelly, MRS. HOUDINI, THE NOVEL The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren't enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.From John Cox, WILD ABOUT HOUDINIOne of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner. –John Cox, wildabouthoudini.comFrom Malena Watrous, SPARKED, IF YOU FOLLOW METhe SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmain London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after they put it down.US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072KRP7MNUK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B072KRP7MNAU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B072KRP7MN

The Secret Life of Mrs. London Details

TitleThe Secret Life of Mrs. London
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 30th, 2018
PublisherLake Union Publishing
ISBN-139781542048736
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Secret Life of Mrs. London Review

  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    Update..... given I ‘AM’ still thinking about this novel ... I’m adding one more star... from 3 stars to 4. This book is growing on me!!!!This is a hard review for me to write ...because I wasn’t crazy about this book. I have only myself to blame. I didn’t read ‘one’ thing about this novel when Rebecca Rosenberg asked me if I would like to read it: “The Secret Life of Mrs. London”, in exchange for a review. I was happy to read Rebecca’s novel....California native, who lives in Sonoma...always ni Update..... given I ‘AM’ still thinking about this novel ... I’m adding one more star... from 3 stars to 4. This book is growing on me!!!!This is a hard review for me to write ...because I wasn’t crazy about this book. I have only myself to blame. I didn’t read ‘one’ thing about this novel when Rebecca Rosenberg asked me if I would like to read it: “The Secret Life of Mrs. London”, in exchange for a review. I was happy to read Rebecca’s novel....California native, who lives in Sonoma...always nice to get behind our locals - and first time authors. Plus, there is some hanky-panky weird history about Jack London in relationship to my husband, Paul. Without going into all the nitty-gritty details that have been passed down to us —- we are fairly certain Jack London was Paul’s great great biological grandfather. I’ve never been a huge Jack London fan myself beyond a couple of his books, but the ties with Paul’s Family kinda interested me. However -if I had just read the blurb on Goodreads as I did seconds ago - I would have read about Houdini being part of this story. I have zero interest in Houdini....and he’s a large presence throughout. So for those who are interested in anything Houdini- then by all means - choose this book - lots of Houdini to chew on. Hers’s a small example: Jack and Houdini are on stage together a few times in this novel. The audience loves them- cheers - and bows. This one time Houdini was holding a burning knife like a torch, and hurls it at Jack’s Head. “The knife twists through steamy air slowly, trailing fire and smoke on its path across stage. As the knife thrusts into the wood above Jack’s Head, flames singe his hair”.Mrs. London wanted to kill them both - and who could blame her?The first 75% of this novel is equally about Jack London as it is Mrs. London....yes there is a scandal between Mrs. London, ie, Charmain, or Charmie, or Chairman, or Mate, or Mate-Woman in that first 75%.... she types for Jack... supporting him complete a thousand words a day, has rendezvous moments on the beach in Hawaii,definitely withholds personal thoughts and feelings, and clearly wants to be a writer in her own right....but it’s really the last 25% of this book where Mrs London takes full stage as the leading character in book..... which takes place in New York Houdini is her supporting character. I don’t need to like characters to enjoy a book - but I need some redeeming qualities of inspiration ‘somewhere’. And that’s what this book didn’t have enough of for me. Nothing inspired me - moved me. I really didn’t care about the adults sex lives — I didn’t find it steamy or in the least bit shocking or interesting. I wouldn’t want to be friends with most the people in this book. Jack’s sister, Eliza,could cook great and seemed pretty nice. Jack London...who had kidney stones, rheumatism, smoked cigarettes and drank martinis like they were going out of style could be an narcissistic, disrespectful asshole. His all time finale asshole performance was when the MOST LIKABLE CHARACTER in this book: *Nakata*, a loyal saint of a servant finally wanted to quit. Jack was down right rude him - then said couldn’t quit because he was like family. If he was like family, how come he never shared a meal with him? Mrs. London and Jack - both had crazy sex lives - and ideas about soul relationships - They were both too nuts and eccentric for my taste. Houdin’s wife Bessie was a real character - she had an obsession with dolls ...I liked the dog: Possum! Back to my favorite: Nakata....who wanted to be a dentist... with graciousness and dignity... he served fresh brewed Kona coffee on the lanai in the mornings in Hawaii to Jack and Charmsin. He brought them pitchers of cocktails, kept them fed throughout the day with raw Bonita and papaya, or steaming malasades fried dough with haupia coconut milk custard, and delicious dinners. One last thing - which I did enjoy - a tidbit. At the start of each chapter was a quote-by Jack London from one of his books. And since my favorite book of his is “The Call of the Wild”.....This is the quote Rebecca Rosenberg chose ...which I like very much too.“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life,and Beyond which life, cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive”. From 1916 to 1917...Sonoma, Napa Valley, Beauty Ranch, Glenn Ellen, Hawaii,- Big Island, Oahu, New York, Manhattan, Greenwich Village, Sausalito, back to Napa Valley Area. Note....Mrs London did eventually get her book, “Our Hawaii” published by Macmillan.....selling 95 copies. Liked it - didn’t love it.... readable ... but not uplifting or inspiring or particularly interesting to me. However, for a first novel, it’s written well. Thank you Lake Union Publishing, Netgalley, and Rebecca Rosenberg
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  • Candi
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsMy previous experience with the prolific author Jack London was years ago during my school days when I was assigned The Call of the Wild. I remember finding it an interesting book, but didn’t really think much about it afterwards. Then I re-read the book a few years ago when my son received the same English class assignment – and I loved it the second time through! Other than that, my knowledge of Jack London went no further; and naturally I knew nothing about his second wife, Charmian 3.5 starsMy previous experience with the prolific author Jack London was years ago during my school days when I was assigned The Call of the Wild. I remember finding it an interesting book, but didn’t really think much about it afterwards. Then I re-read the book a few years ago when my son received the same English class assignment – and I loved it the second time through! Other than that, my knowledge of Jack London went no further; and naturally I knew nothing about his second wife, Charmian London. This book has certainly changed that around and I feel like I know this couple a bit more intimately now. The lives of creative geniuses always intrigue me. What sparks their imagination, how easy is it for them to write or produce a work of art, and what effect does celebrity have on their relationships? What would it be like to be married to such talent? Intellectually, Charmian seemed a good match for Jack. Yet, something was lacking in their marriage that drove her to seek intimacy elsewhere. It seems Jack too did not mind a detour or two away from his marriage vows. I found Charmian to be a very spirited and adventurous woman. She was a writer herself, but how do you make a name for yourself apart from such a famed personality? It seems it was a struggle for her and I could feel her frustration at her desire for independence in the literary world. In this book, the reader also has the opportunity to meet another couple much in the spotlight at the time – Mr. and Mrs. Houdini. I’ve read of Harry Houdini here and there, and of course his magic fascinates me. Bessie Houdini was an eccentric individual, and I couldn’t help feeling a bit sorry for her. Her relationship with Harry is more like that of father-child than husband-wife. The Londons and the Houdinis eventually come together and the two women form a friendship. Personally, I have to use the term ‘friendship’ loosely, however. My ideas of the bonds of friendship don’t tie in with these two. Loyalty goes a long way in my book, and without that, can it really be considered friendship no matter the unusual circumstances? In my small world, I take these bonds very seriously. In any case, it does make for some juicy reading if you are so inclined. Overall, I thought this was an interesting book and a solid debut novel grounded in some great historical research. I did enjoy the various settings – from the London’s California ranch, to tropical Hawaii, and to New York City and Greenwich Village. I liked learning about the Londons, although I can’t say that I necessarily came out of this actually liking them as individuals. I would like to thank Rebecca Rosenberg, Lake Union Publishing, and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Miranda Reads
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars If I can get Jack boxing this morning...he’ll be revved up for a good writing session followed by a “grand lolly” that will linger in our loins for days. And with that we are introduced to Jack London's wife, Charmian, an amateur boxer, aspiring writer, and free spirit . Figure 1. Jack London and Charmian (his second wife).Charmian is in the unique situation of wanting more to life during a time when women were supposed to be content with their lot. She's written books but no one woul 3.5 stars If I can get Jack boxing this morning...he’ll be revved up for a good writing session followed by a “grand lolly” that will linger in our loins for days. And with that we are introduced to Jack London's wife, Charmian, an amateur boxer, aspiring writer, and free spirit . Figure 1. Jack London and Charmian (his second wife).Charmian is in the unique situation of wanting more to life during a time when women were supposed to be content with their lot. She's written books but no one would publish them. She has ambitions but no one takes her seriously. She wants to have sex but her husband is not up to it (though, I do not blame the man on that account. I could barely turn the page without her hounding him. The poor guy must have been exhausted by her unrelenting libido).What bothered me most about this book is how casual she is about starting affairs. In one sentence, she swears that Jack is the only one for her and in the next she's smooching Lawrence behind his back...and to top it all, she condemns her aunt for the same actions. I should comfort her, but it’s hard when she brings this upon herself with her carousel of lovers. And when she befriends the Houdinis - yes, she befriends Houdini's wife - she spends only a sentence or two over the guilt. I really thought she would've been torn over the betrayal of her friend's trust but that is not much expounded upon in the book. Figure 2. Bessie and Harry Houdini..While I was overly interested in who was sleeping with who, I did have fun reading about what life was like back then. The author did a great job of setting the scene. A few times I would look up familiar brands only to discover they really were invented back then (i.e. listerine as mouthwash was used over a hundred years ago). Additionally, Jack London had a killer first aid kit: rattlesnake oil for rheumatism, Dr. Bonker’s Egyptian Oil for stomach cramps, heroin for asthma, morphine granules for pain, cocaine for toothaches. No wonder why doctors were so treasured back then. That being said, there were a few moments that threw me for a loop. For example (view spoiler)[When Charmian thinks she's pregnant by Lawrence and is too scared to tell Jack. She finally gets the courage to tell him that she might be having a baby and Jack (unwitting to the affair) is overjoyed at the thought of having a son. When the couple are at Houdini's show...something very weird happens as Charmian watches Houdini wriggle free of his chains:Water streams from his pectorals to his chiseled abdomen, down his honed thighs, and pools at his perfect naked feet.I feel a jolt deep in my pelvis, followed by a thick flow between my legs. Charmian rushes to the bathroom, afraid that she's lost the baby only to find out she was suffering from menopause (and is having her period). I distinctly remember putting the book down and staring at the wall for a good ten seconds. Sure this guy's eyes are intense, but could they really have caused such a reaction? Figure 3: Houdini's piercing eyes for reference (hide spoiler)]Overall, this was in interesting read! The author really transported the audience into the early 1900s and fleshed out the main characters really well. And I enjoyed all of the literary references to Jack London's works. While this is not something I'd normally read, I am definitely glad to have had the chance to read this. The 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge - A book that's published in 2018With thanks to Rebecca Rosenberg and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    4 "engaging" starsCharmain was the second wife of author Jack London. She was a believer in free love, socialism, a woman's right to vote, and her husband Jack. It is the turn of the century, a time when the Victorian Age was winding down. Social and sexual mores were changing. It was the time before the free reeling lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest and Hadley Hemmingway became the alt culture of their day. Although in reading this book, I could not help thinking that the London 4 "engaging" starsCharmain was the second wife of author Jack London. She was a believer in free love, socialism, a woman's right to vote, and her husband Jack. It is the turn of the century, a time when the Victorian Age was winding down. Social and sexual mores were changing. It was the time before the free reeling lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest and Hadley Hemmingway became the alt culture of their day. Although in reading this book, I could not help thinking that the Londons would have fit right in with those other two couples.Charmain was also an author, of course not as well known as Jack, who seemed to, in this book while away his life drinking, sleeping around, and spending money he did not have. However, Charmain is completely enamored of him although she did have one indiscretion. It will soon be followed by another with a very popular magician.Charmin had taken Jack away from his first wife, having been a friend and neighbor to the Londons, and we later learn after she befriends Bessie Houdini, that she will have an affair with Harry. Bess Houdini is a pathetic person. She suffers from never going through puberty, having a period, nor developing breasts. She can't have a child so instead she herself is a child who has a collection of dolls that she babies and cares for. Harry Houdini seems to love Bessie but it was not a marriage that afforded any sexual relations possible between them.Charmain was everything to Jack. She was his typist, his editor, his agent and his mantra of writing a thousand words a day produced short stories, novels, and poems. Jack died young due to problems brought on by his lifestyle of smoking and drinking. There was even some talk that Jack committed suicide brought on by an overdose of heroin which he had because of the intense pain suffered with kidney stones.This was a sad love story. Charmain wanted nothing but for Jack to love only her but Jack was not a man who was able to do that. After Jack's death, Charmain had affairs not only with Houdini but many others as well. Charmain was quite discreet in her numerous encounters, never remarrying and died at the age of eighty three. Not knowing too much about Jack London other than that he wrote adventure books, I found this novel to be quite informative. It was an interesting look at an author, who was seen as one of the first world wide celebrities, and his wife. I think Ms Rosenberg did a fine job of ferreting out the relationship between Jack and Charmain and providing the reader with an informative look into their life together.Thank you to Rebecca Rosenberg, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing an ARC of this intriguing novel.
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    I instantly knew that I wanted to read The Secret Life of Mrs. London from the moment I read the blurb. I just love reading historical fiction about famous persons and I was intrigued by the prospect of reading a book about Jack London, a man that I didn't know much about. Also, the addition of Harry Houdini to the story made my eagerness to read this book even greater.I've actually been putting off writing this review, you know waiting for the right moment because I was so taken with the story I instantly knew that I wanted to read The Secret Life of Mrs. London from the moment I read the blurb. I just love reading historical fiction about famous persons and I was intrigued by the prospect of reading a book about Jack London, a man that I didn't know much about. Also, the addition of Harry Houdini to the story made my eagerness to read this book even greater.I've actually been putting off writing this review, you know waiting for the right moment because I was so taken with the story that I needed some breathing pause to be levelheaded to write a review that is just me rambling. To be honest, I'm not sure it helped, but anyway, here we go!The Secret Life of Mrs. London is about Jack London's wife Charmain London and in this story we get to follow Charmain story through a period in life when everything around her changes. Her marriage isn't the easiest and although Jack loves Charmain do one really get a feeling that she is there to take care of Jack businesses, from his writing to the dream house that he's building. Her own ambition, her own writing is something that she has to just dream about. The Harry Houdini sweeps into her life...As much as I liked Jack in this book can't I help, but frankly adore Harry Houdini. The attraction between him and Charmain is palpable. It helps that the writing is top-notch that the characters are so alive, so well-developed that I breathlessly turned every page with the desire to know what happens next, but at the same time didn't I want the story to end. Yes, I'm gushing, but seriously, this is one book I could easily read again and nowadays I don't have time to re-read books. Another character I came to like very much is Bess Houdini, she shows up in the book now and then, and just like her famous husband has Bess a strong and vibrant personality. I quite liked her interaction with Charmine. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is one of the best books I have ever read. It's a story I will never forget and I can't wait to see what Rebecca Rosenberg will write next. I want to thank the author for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
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  • Rebecca Rosenberg
    January 1, 1970
    The Secret Life of Mrs. LondonOn the surface, The Secret Life of Mrs. London is about the love triangle between the Houdinis and Londons, but many themes begged to be explored throughout. --Must you be faithful when marital needs are never met?--How do you live with the demands of a mercurial genius?--When are words of love not enough?--When is friendship stronger than passion?Charmian London was a force of nature, a horsewoman, swimmer, pianist, painter, writer. And typist and editor of the mos The Secret Life of Mrs. LondonOn the surface, The Secret Life of Mrs. London is about the love triangle between the Houdinis and Londons, but many themes begged to be explored throughout. --Must you be faithful when marital needs are never met?--How do you live with the demands of a mercurial genius?--When are words of love not enough?--When is friendship stronger than passion?Charmian London was a force of nature, a horsewoman, swimmer, pianist, painter, writer. And typist and editor of the most popular writer of their times. Remember, however that it was 1915. Women would not get the right to vote for another five years. These women were pushing to expand the boundaries of women's roles, while still trying to break out of the cast-iron mold of Victorian women. Charmian was known for her free-loving spirit, but having read her diaries, some of that was an act to keep the great Jack London interested. Many of Jack London's female characters were fashioned from Charmian. As he writes in "Martin Eden" :“Here was intellectual life, he thought, and here was beauty, warm and wonderful as he had never dreamed it could be. He forgot himself and stared at her with hungry eyes. Here was something to live for, to win to, to fight for—ay, and die for. The books were true. There were such women in the world. She was one of them. She lent wings to his imagination, and great, luminous canvases spread themselves before him whereon loomed vague, gigantic figures of love and romance, and of heroic deeds for woman’s sake—for a pale woman, a flower of gold. And through the swaying, palpitant vision, as through a fairy mirage, he stared at the real woman, sitting there and talking of literature and art. He listened as well, but he stared, unconscious of the fixity of his gaze or of the fact that all that was essentially masculine in his nature was shining in his eyes.”― Jack London, Martin Eden
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    "The Secret Life of Mrs. London" is a fascinating story beautifully told. The creative and romantic lives of Jack and Charmian London were full of passion, genius, and intrigue. I fell in love with the characterizations and the ups and downs of their careers, family lives, and romantic relationships kept me riveted throughout. A wonderful read!
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    4 "engaging" starsCharmain is the second wife of author Jack London. She was a believer in free love, socialism, a woman's right to vote, and her husband Jack. It is the turn of the century, a time when the Victorian Age was winding down. Social and sexual mores were changing. It was the time before the free reeling lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest and Hadley Hemmingway became the alt culture of their day. Although in reading this book, I could not help thinking that the Londons 4 "engaging" starsCharmain is the second wife of author Jack London. She was a believer in free love, socialism, a woman's right to vote, and her husband Jack. It is the turn of the century, a time when the Victorian Age was winding down. Social and sexual mores were changing. It was the time before the free reeling lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest and Hadley Hemmingway became the alt culture of their day. Although in reading this book, I could not help thinking that the Londons would have fit right in with those other two couples.Charmain was also an author, of course not as well known as Jack, who seemed to, in this book while away his life drinking, sleeping around, and spending money he did not have. However, Charmain is completely enamored of him although she did have one indiscretion. It will soon be followed by another with a very popular magician.Charmin had taken Jack away from his first wife, having been a friend and neighbor to the Londons, and we later learn after she befriends Bessie Houdini, that she will have an affair with Harry. Bess Houdini is a pathetic person. She suffers from never going through puberty, having a period, nor developing breasts. She can't have a child so instead she herself is a child who has a collection of dolls that she babies and cares for. Harry Houdini seems to love Bessie but it was not a marriage that afforded any sexual relations possible between them.Charmain was everything to Jack. She was his typist, his editor, his agent and his mantra of writing a thousand words a day produced short stories, novels, and poems. Jack died young due to problems brought on by his lifestyle of smoking and drinking. There was even some talk that Jack committed suicide brought on by an overdose of heroin which he had because of the intense pain suffered with kidney stones.This was a sad love story. Charmain wanted nothing but for Jack to love only her but Jack was not a man who was able to do that. After Jack's death, Charmain had affairs not only with Houdini but many others as well. Charmain was quite discreet in her numerous encounters, never remarrying and died at the age of eighty three. Not knowing too much about Jack London other than that he wrote adventure books, I found this novel to be quite informative. It was an interesting look at an author, who was seen as one of the first world wide celebrities, and his wife. I think Ms Rosenberg did a fine job of ferreting out the relationship between Jack and Charmain and providing the reader with an informative look into their life together.Thank you to Rebecca Rosenberg, Lake Union Publishing, and NetGalley for providing an ARC of this intriguing novel.
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  • ❀⊱Rory⊰❀
    January 1, 1970
    3 Stars. This is a well written and researched fictionalized account of the marriage of Jack and Charmian London. The London's marriage was of the bohemian type, with Charmian having an affair and getting pregnant by another man. She was also a writer, and dissatisfied with her role as Jack's support system. It was her job to sober him up and make sure he wrote every day. The rest of her husband's care was in the hands of his sister who lived with them and who didn't approve of Charmian. The boo 3 Stars. This is a well written and researched fictionalized account of the marriage of Jack and Charmian London. The London's marriage was of the bohemian type, with Charmian having an affair and getting pregnant by another man. She was also a writer, and dissatisfied with her role as Jack's support system. It was her job to sober him up and make sure he wrote every day. The rest of her husband's care was in the hands of his sister who lived with them and who didn't approve of Charmian. The book also chronicles Charmian's friendship with Harry Houdini and his wife and I can't help thinking that Charmian wasn't much of a friend to Bessie Houdini. I really wanted to love this book, it has all the right elements, but I couldn't warm up to any of the characters, particularly Charmian, who I wouldn't trust any further than I could throw her. If you are a fan of Jack London's writing and you like reading about messy, complicated, marriages you'll enjoy this more that I did. Thank you to the author and NetGalley for a copy of the book.
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  • Malena Watrous
    January 1, 1970
    The SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmain London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after th The SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmain London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after they put it down.
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  • Ralph Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a terrific historical novel. The magnetic and impulsive personality of Jack London comes to life as does the equally-famous Harry Houdini. The protagonist, Charmian London, desires to become a writer in her own right and to have intimate love relationships but she is conflicted by wanting to be a supportive wife to the demanding, and sometimes childlike, Jack. This novel is a page-turner, taking us inside the intimate lives of real people.
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  • Soraya Lane
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating historical novel - the perfect blend of historical fact mixed with fiction. It was different to what I usually read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
  • Eric
    January 1, 1970
    Writing in the first person is not an easy task, but Rebecca Rosenberg, author of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” pulls it off artfully. A few chapters into the novel and you quickly forget that someone other than the second wife of author, Jack London, Charmian London, is writing this tale. Oh yes, claims of fiction, but some very documented facts, well researched by Rosenberg. Charmian London weaves her own biography of her love of “Wolf.” Jack London’s nickname to many of his fans and frien Writing in the first person is not an easy task, but Rebecca Rosenberg, author of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” pulls it off artfully. A few chapters into the novel and you quickly forget that someone other than the second wife of author, Jack London, Charmian London, is writing this tale. Oh yes, claims of fiction, but some very documented facts, well researched by Rosenberg. Charmian London weaves her own biography of her love of “Wolf.” Jack London’s nickname to many of his fans and friends. Books: “Call of the Wild,” “Sea Wolf,” “White Fang,” to name a few.The turn of the twentieth century, 1915. Europe is at war. U. S. President Wilson is dragging his feet to enter the fray. A movement of women seeking freedom of love and affection (the 1960s hippies never read history), voting rights, women breaking the bonds of being enclosed in closets.Woven carefully into this comes Houdini. Artists, professionals, do attract and interact. And is there magic? The sands of 1916 Waikiki, Hawaii and 1917 New York City would agree.Magic is felt in the heart. Very well done, Rebecca Rosenberg.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    My Review of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” by Rebecca Rosenberg. Lake Union Publishing, January 30, 2018Rebecca Rosenberg , the Author of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” has written an entertaining and captivating novel. I appreciate the way that Rebecca Rosenberg weaves the Genres of Historical Fiction and Fiction into her story. The timeline for this story is approximately 1915 in San Francisco, and takes place in other locations as well. This story takes place on the brink of World War On My Review of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” by Rebecca Rosenberg. Lake Union Publishing, January 30, 2018Rebecca Rosenberg , the Author of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” has written an entertaining and captivating novel. I appreciate the way that Rebecca Rosenberg weaves the Genres of Historical Fiction and Fiction into her story. The timeline for this story is approximately 1915 in San Francisco, and takes place in other locations as well. This story takes place on the brink of World War One.The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. This novel and characters would make a sensational movie. Some of the characters are motivated by power, political agendas, philosophy, self-worth, jealously, competitive natures, intelligence, creativity, artistic and literary achievements, romance and emotions and desires.Charmaine London is the wife of famous writer Jack London. Charmaine types Jack’s stories and is at times a sounding board for his ideas, and at other times possibly a formidable partner in marriage. In this story, there seems to be the mention of feeling “free”. At times Charmaine seems dependent and held back by Jack’s possessive and jealous nature. Charmaine has also dabbled in writing, and at times wants the independence. Charmaine, her aunt, Jack’s sister seem to exist together in a dysfunctional way. Jack sometimes behaves in a toxic way, and it reflects in his health and the way he invests his finances.During a magic show, Charmaine is pulled out of the audience by Magician Harry Houdini, to participate in his act. Harry Houdini is charismatic ,creative and motivated in his own way. Harry Houdini’s marriage is strange to say the least. There is an immediate attraction between Charmaine and Harry. Harry also enjoys risk and danger.I was fascinated by the historical background, and both men’s lives. I would highly recommend this novel to readers that enjoy, Historical Fiction. I received a copy of this Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    "I would rather be ashes than dust! Iwould rather that my spark should burnout in a brilliant blaze than it should bestifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me inmagnificent glow, than a sleepy andpermanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste mydays trying to prolong them. I shall usemy time."-Jack London, Jack London's Tales of AdventureI finished this book about a week ago and still thinking about it and pondering my review. I kn "I would rather be ashes than dust! Iwould rather that my spark should burnout in a brilliant blaze than it should bestifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me inmagnificent glow, than a sleepy andpermanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste mydays trying to prolong them. I shall usemy time."-Jack London, Jack London's Tales of AdventureI finished this book about a week ago and still thinking about it and pondering my review. I knew nothing about the life of Jack London and I’ve never even read any of his books. But I do have a fascination with reading books about the partners/spouses of well-known historical figures. I feel they give a clear and different viewpoint of their lives. With The Secret life of Mrs London I know it is fictionalized but still makes for entertaining and educational reading.This is one of those books where I struggle with what to say. To say it bluntly at times I really didn’t like some of the characters especially Jack and his wife, Charmian. Charmain, the second Mrs. London (he divorced first wife for her) and also an author though not as widely known as Jack. She did everything for him from being his typist, editor and so much more. This book is written in first person, the reader is able to get inside of Charmian‘s head to get a vivid picture of her struggles. She lives in a time where free love and woman’s right were unheard of - things she was passionate about. She wants more out of life but Jack thinks only of himself and schemes to make money between books.The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a well written book and true to the times it portrayed. The role of Harry Houdini here was very interesting and their connection together added much to Charmian’s character. I liked how Charmian's story did not end when Jack's did. My interest in reading not just some of Jack London's books have peeked as those by Charmian also.Thank you to the author for an advanced copy of this book (in exchange for an honest review). This book releases January 30th and available for preorder now.
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  • Jeanette Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    Author Rebecca Rosenberg has created a fabulous read with the main character of Mrs Charmian London, second wife of writer Jack London, adventurer and celebrity author. Charmian raised by her aunt and uncle, an enlightened couple and progressive for the times give her opportunities that are well beyond that of most females of the day. A life of reasonable privilege as well as inherited money. Jack London on the other hand has an upbringing the total opposite to that of Charmian, which may explai Author Rebecca Rosenberg has created a fabulous read with the main character of Mrs Charmian London, second wife of writer Jack London, adventurer and celebrity author. Charmian raised by her aunt and uncle, an enlightened couple and progressive for the times give her opportunities that are well beyond that of most females of the day. A life of reasonable privilege as well as inherited money. Jack London on the other hand has an upbringing the total opposite to that of Charmian, which may explain some of his dysfunctional personality, moodiness and narcissistic behaviour. The author gives a picture of a man who craves attention, for all his fame it doesn’t appear to be enough to satisfy his ego. For all this and the bravado one may suspect the ghosts of a difficult childhood are so imprinted into his personality highlighting at times as a man out of control. His brilliance as an author the reader can only guess that this attraction is so powerful that Charmian is prepared to ignore all his travesties. Jack constantly confirms his love for Charmian but it is a shaky premise as his personality conflicts with his words. There are feisty moments where Charmian tries to emerge as her previous self but the mood changes of Jack defeats this, even to the point of making himself the star attraction when on secretly having Charmian’s first book published he announces it at a large gathering of all and sundry, putting himself into the spotlight, rather than his wife.Harry and Bess Houdini become involved with the Jack and Charmian. Harry Houdini is another handsome and successful celebrity, there is a subtle and immediate attraction between him and Charmian. The difference with Houdini to that of London is his upbringing. From a strong religious back ground, Houdini neither drinks nor smokes and has great respect for women and family. The romantic involvement of Charmian and Houdini is for a short time only after the death of Jack. The final chapter, the author has Charmian travelling to a destination unknown but with a final puzzle given to her by Houdini that will encourage her to go forward and to make her own mark.
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  • Camille Maio
    January 1, 1970
    Hands down, this book has some of the best dialogue I've read in a long time. I found myself really getting swept up in the relationships of Jack, Charmain, Harry, and Bessie. I love historical fiction that teaches me something, and I am glad to know more about all of these people. I believe this is the author's first novel and I can't wait to see what she does next.
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  • Victoria Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren't enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    This is an interesting historical novel about a writer, a muse and a magician and it's an excellent, lively read.
  • Shannon
    January 1, 1970
    Most of us are familiar with these two names from twentieth century history: Harry Houdini and Jack London. But, what about Bessie Houdini or Charmian London? These women, the wives of Houdini and London, were the cornerstones of their husbands’ careers and the ties that kept all four friends and co-conspirators for most of their public lives.Charmian London is the central character for Rebecca Rosenberg’s outstanding new novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON. While this is a fictionalized story Most of us are familiar with these two names from twentieth century history: Harry Houdini and Jack London. But, what about Bessie Houdini or Charmian London? These women, the wives of Houdini and London, were the cornerstones of their husbands’ careers and the ties that kept all four friends and co-conspirators for most of their public lives.Charmian London is the central character for Rebecca Rosenberg’s outstanding new novel, THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON. While this is a fictionalized story of her life and marriage, it is so much more. Charmian isn’t “just Mrs. Jack London.” This story takes place during the early years of the 20th century when women’s roles are changing as rapidly as the political and economic world around them. Charmian makes the most of these tumultuous opportunities. While fulfilling her role as Mrs. Jack London, she was Jack’s worthy opponent in the boxing ring! She was a published writer, an artist and a pianist, a horsewoman and liked to hike and sail. Charmian was Jack London’s second wife. It is thought that that his first wife was the mothering type and, when that relationship failed, he looked for and found a “mate” in Charmian. Charmian was alluring because she could stimulate him intellectually. She was sexually uninhibited and didn’t succumb to hysterics when Jack made her life miserable or fearful from his demands as an alcoholic or a famous writer. She was well read and well educated. Most important, Charmian recognized exactly when to push or pull Jack through his regular traumatic episodes. Rosenberg’s excellent writing brings out each of Charmian’s characteristics, carefully timed and without hitting us over the end with them. She takes the same care with each character without making them maudlin or unlikeable. Each character maintains a slight sense of mystery.THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON is also the story of the Houdini’s and their marriages. The London’s and the Houdini’s were four strong people in two tenuous marriages where the women were very independent and at the same time dependent on the men in their lives. Both Bessie and Charmian found their security in the men they married. Rosenberg uses excerpts from London’s writings and from Charmian’s diary to give the reader even more insight into these characters. She adds subtle but spicy enough details to keep whetting the reader’s appetite for more. What is missing in the book is a little more context of 1915 and the world around them. Rosenberg gives us some details but not enough until we get to the onset of the WWI.Rosenberg never relents on the themes of love and passions, art and craft. Her characters resonate and, as a reader, I always need one I can root for. In this case it was Bessie Houdini….I really cared about this woman I had never heard of before reading THE SECRET LIFE OF MRS. LONDON, a book that easily met all my expectations. Thank you, Rebecca.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating. Charmain London was unknown to me and I suspect that fans of either Jack London (her husband) and or Harry Houdini (her lover) might feel differently about this novel which looks at her relationship with both of them. Read this as a book about a woman who is dealing with questions about herself and her relationship with two very dynamic men, neither of whom was a gem in real life. Charmain, btw, is, to use an old fashioned word, a home wrecker. She's also a talented writer in her ow Fascinating. Charmain London was unknown to me and I suspect that fans of either Jack London (her husband) and or Harry Houdini (her lover) might feel differently about this novel which looks at her relationship with both of them. Read this as a book about a woman who is dealing with questions about herself and her relationship with two very dynamic men, neither of whom was a gem in real life. Charmain, btw, is, to use an old fashioned word, a home wrecker. She's also a talented writer in her own right. This was clearly carefully researched and it's nicely written. Thanks to net galley for the ARC. This is for fans of the genre of historical fiction that examines the lives of the wives (and lovers) of famous men who have previously been little more than a footnote. You'll learn a lot while enjoying a good story.
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  • Ivana Dirk
    January 1, 1970
    Charmian and Jack London seem to be made for each other. They are complimentory in a way which is rare and does not happen very often in marriages. They overcome all the problems, some of them very serious (his inclination to alcohol, death of their child, financial problems) by means of everlasting friendship and love. Charmian is a prototype of a modern woman – she could easily pass for a emancipated woman of our times, although she was born 1871. The author Rebecca Rosenberg has a deep knowle Charmian and Jack London seem to be made for each other. They are complimentory in a way which is rare and does not happen very often in marriages. They overcome all the problems, some of them very serious (his inclination to alcohol, death of their child, financial problems) by means of everlasting friendship and love. Charmian is a prototype of a modern woman – she could easily pass for a emancipated woman of our times, although she was born 1871. The author Rebecca Rosenberg has a deep knowledge not only of both main characters but also of the historical context in which they lived. She obviously studied also the works by both Jack and Charmian. The quotations selected from London´s novels at the beginning of each chapter are fitting to the mood of the chapter which describes the real story. The ich-form of the novel is also well chosen and gives to the reader the insight into the innermost Charmian´s thoughts. Month by month, sometimes day by day, we get absorbed by the exceptional life which has never been boring and we can make an attempt, together with the author, to understand the complexity of exceptional lives. The interwining of the story with the lives of Bessie Houdini and her husband, magician and stunt performer Harry, is increasing the tension of the novel. There are also other quite well described characters in the novel, but there are all of minor importance in comparison with these two original couples.The reading of the novel will be, according to my opinion, enjoyable also for those lacking the knowledge of novels by Jack London, or for those who are not exactly his fans. The story is enchanting and interesting by itself.
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  • books4life
    January 1, 1970
    The secret Life of Mrs. London is worth reading because of the viewpoint of the characters, vivid descriptions of time and place, historical knowledge, and a wonderful emotional roller coaster.
  • Bonnye Reed
    January 1, 1970
    Rebecca Rosenberg does an excellent job of fleshing out the back stories and quirks that made Jack London, Houdini, and Charmian London such interesting and charismatic public figures in an age of giant personalities.The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a very well written slice into the early to mid-20th century in the United States. The geography, social stratas and mindsets are authentic, as are the publicly accepted views of the London's and the Houdini's. this is a period novel that is very ha Rebecca Rosenberg does an excellent job of fleshing out the back stories and quirks that made Jack London, Houdini, and Charmian London such interesting and charismatic public figures in an age of giant personalities.The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a very well written slice into the early to mid-20th century in the United States. The geography, social stratas and mindsets are authentic, as are the publicly accepted views of the London's and the Houdini's. this is a period novel that is very hard to put down, and a look into the society of that time I found both interesting and important. The Golden Age brought us many larger-than-life luminaries in a time when we needed heroes to distract and encourage us to keep moving through the trying days of world wars and injustices and economic collapse. Without the distraction of both the personalities and the works of those heros, more of us would have fallen by the wayside. This novel covers - very well - the driving forces behind three of those mythical beings we saw only in golden silhouette. Ms. Rosenberg takes us into the grit behind these celebrated personages without destroying the spirit that made them our heroes. GN My father was, while in his cups, able to quote whole segments of Jack London novels and as a child I tackled several of his works - those about dogs and sea creatures - when I ran out of Uncle Buddy's Zane Grey novels. In my thirties I read bits and pieces of London works to my little rug rats, and re-read a few of my own childhood favorites. Pushing 70, this novel has me anxious to start the cycle over again. I received a free electronic copy of this historical novel based on fact from Netgalley, Rebecca Rosenberg, and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. pub date June 30, 2018Lake Union Publishing
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  • Beth Mink
    January 1, 1970
    Rebecca Rosenberg’s new offering is amazingly good in that it transports the reader to a long forgotten time from the perspective of a woman who was the driving force behind the great Jack London, who wrote adventure stories at the cusp of the last century. Rich with intimate descriptions of their lives together, the author weaves a fascinating tale as complicated as any contemporary love stories.
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  • Marla
    January 1, 1970
    Rebecca does a good job with the historical aspects of this story. If you are a huge fan of historical fiction and of Jack London or Houdini, you will really enjoy this book. I had a hard time liking the characters, I found them a little boorish and I didn't like Jack at all. What an ass. I like historical fiction but this one just wasn't interesting to me. Maybe because I have never read a Jack London novel, not even in school. I had a hard time getting through this. Not because it was poorly w Rebecca does a good job with the historical aspects of this story. If you are a huge fan of historical fiction and of Jack London or Houdini, you will really enjoy this book. I had a hard time liking the characters, I found them a little boorish and I didn't like Jack at all. What an ass. I like historical fiction but this one just wasn't interesting to me. Maybe because I have never read a Jack London novel, not even in school. I had a hard time getting through this. Not because it was poorly written, because it wasn't, but because I just wasn't attracted to the characters. It wasn't the book for me but probably it will be for others.I want to thank the author for a copy of the book for an honest review.
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  • Lora
    January 1, 1970
    I can't believe this is the author's first novel. It was wonderful! I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. Thank you so much, Mrs. Rosenberg, for giving me a chance to read this!
  • Rachel Chiapparine
    January 1, 1970
    I was blessed enough to be given a free copy of the book in ebook format in exchange for my honest review of the book which is as follows:For me personally this book reminded me of an ernest hemingway tale mixed with the early 19th century flare. A lot of the plot points that I have feelings on are spoilers so I can't really explain much without giving anything away however I feel like I can say that in my personal opinion this story really shows how sometimes love can make you lose yourself int I was blessed enough to be given a free copy of the book in ebook format in exchange for my honest review of the book which is as follows:For me personally this book reminded me of an ernest hemingway tale mixed with the early 19th century flare. A lot of the plot points that I have feelings on are spoilers so I can't really explain much without giving anything away however I feel like I can say that in my personal opinion this story really shows how sometimes love can make you lose yourself into who you think that your mate wants/needs you to be. I do personally wish that the main character would have stood up for herself a bit more. Also fair warning that if you don't like to read about cheating this book isn't a good fit for you. Overall I personally rate this book an 8 out 10. Mostly because of how much I enjoyed how much it pulls you into the mind of "Jack.
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  • Anniemac
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic read. Enjoyed it immensely!
  • Patricia V. Davis
    January 1, 1970
    The combination of fact and fiction, the time period, the author's voice, are all too tempting to resist. Read it after watching an episode of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (on Netflix). Or, after sipping a champagne cocktail. But it's also FABULOUS on its own!
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