As Bright as Heaven

As Bright as Heaven

Large Print - 2018
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"From the darkest hours rises life in all its glory...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. Their dreams are short-lived. 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 that surround them, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it. Under the Canopy of 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"--
Publisher: Farmington Hills, Michigan : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Company, ©2018.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781432850159
Characteristics: 613 pages ;,23 cm.


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Mar 22, 2019

This is a well-written, fast paced historical fiction book. The details of the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918, along with the WWI and Prohibition are interesting; actually, the story of "life" in the U.S during both the draft for the Great War and the Flu Epidemic are fascinating. It is also a time when women were cracking open some professional employment doors beyond teaching and nursing.

Mar 16, 2019

What was it like to live through the Spanish flu pandemic on the heels of WWI? Frightening stuff. Experiencing it through the Bright family--their love, loss, and adjustment to life's random changes--was nothing short of riveting. A little romance, a little heartbreak, but always--always--a family a reader can love. I really wasn't good for anything much until I finished it. Absolutely recommended at 4.5 stars.

Jan 30, 2019

AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN explores the effects of the pandemic Spanish Flu Outbreak of 1918 and WWI on a Philadelphia family. This historical fiction drama is an interesting, easy read and is told in alternating chapters by the female main characters. My only criticism is that the ending seemed contrived and was too neatly wrapped up.

Jan 14, 2019

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

Aug 26, 2018

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

Feb 06, 2018

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

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

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

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

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