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As Bright as Heaven

by Susan Meissner

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner X
As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
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There are currently 42 member reviews
for As Bright as Heaven
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  • Kay D. (Strongsville, OH)
    An Engaging Read
    Covering roughly 8 years, this engaging novel dips into World War I and the Spanish Flu of 1918 and the impact these major events have on one family. Written from the point of view of Paulina, the mother, and her three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa, the reader is given a diverse view. Each character has a distinct voice and provides a slightly different view of shared events. As in real life, there are ups and downs, and sorrows that tug at your heart. Truly a compelling read. A wonderful blend of historical fact and creative fiction, I recommend this book.
  • Melanie B. (Desoto, TX)
    Warm and satisfying story
    This book is a loving story of family, determination and hope in the face of great personal tragedy and loss. The author captures the historical significance of World War One and the 1918 flu epidemic and skillfully moves the Bright family through both events into the 1920s. The characters live with death on a daily basis due to war, the flu and in their family business. However, the story is not thoroughly depressing but hopeful and optimistic and the subject of death is presented in a realistic and respectable manner. The characters are likeable and the plot is convincing throughout. I think this is a good book for reading group discussion.
  • Florence K. (Northridge, CA)
    As Bright as Heaven
    A winner! This is a well written, well plotted, well researched book. The setting and events are unusual: a family living in an on-site funeral home in Philadelphia, as well as a closer look at the tragic effects of the Spanish flu pandemic during the waning months of the Great War.

    Although there are two incidents that seemed most incredulous I was able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the story line. A good read and a unique one.
  • Sandy L
    As Bright As Heaven
    Ms Meissner's story of a family's struggle through the Spanish flu epidemic and it's aftermath is very compelling. As told through the voices of the three sisters, the author weaves an interesting account of life 's seemingly random events. I liked the book very much and would recommend it to a friend.
  • Bev C. (Latrobe, PA)
    As Bright As Heaven
    The turbulent 1918 finds the Bright family moving from rural Quakertown to Philadelphia. The father (Tom) will assist Uncle Fred in providing services from the 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 us and 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 find Evelyn's mode of restoration a bit unsettling.
  • Sue (rural PA)
    "Full Circle"
    "As Bright as Heaven" was interesting on many levels. The story takes place in Philadelphia prior to, during and after WWI. Many challenges confront the Bright family-including their move to a new city, life in a funeral home, the death of family members and friends, the effect of WWI and the dramatic impact of the Spanish flu epidemic. Secrets play an important role in the story-everyone seems to have one. There are a couple of plot twists which were not especially surprising but welcome. The characters are well developed-especially the female ones. I liked the way the author alternated the narrative from one family member to another-each with their own perception of the same events occurring around them. The reader will get a sense of some of the societal changes that confront the daughters in this family. This was my first time reading something by this author and I definitely would read more of Susan Meissner's work.
  • Colleen T. (Lakewood, CO)
    As Bright as Heaven
    As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner is an interesting coming of age novel set during the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 as well as World War I. Three sisters grow up during the epidemic and the war and lose people they love as well as learn to love new people that come into their lives, and also experience things I never thought possible. It is an interesting story, however, the chapters seemed to be designed as if they are diary entries (to me). This started out ok, but after a while grew tedious. I also didn't like how Willa,a seven year old girl, spoke more like an adult than like a child. It's a good story, I just didn't like the writing style.


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