As bright as heaven

Susan Meissner, 1961-

Book - 2018

"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, ca...me 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"--

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

FICTION/Meissner, Susan
1 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Meissner, Susan Checked In
1st Floor FICTION/Meissner Susan Due Jul 2, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Domestic fiction
Published
New York : Berkley 2018.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
387 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN
9780399585968
0399585966
Main Author
Susan Meissner, 1961- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Pauline Bright encourages her husband to finally accept his uncle's offer to share in his Philadelphia mortuary business. Since the death of their youngest child, her grief has turned into a peculiar relationship with death, part sympathy, part curiosity, part heavy acceptance. Their three daughters adjust to city life. Evelyn attends a prestigious school that prepares her for a career in medicine, young Willa is fascinated by their big house, and middle child Maggie befriends their neighbors, the Sutcliffs. When Jamie Sutcliff's draft number comes up, the Brights think they are as close as they'll get to the troubles plaguing Europe. But it is 1918, and soon the Spanish flu has swept the city. On the hundredth anniversary of the pandemic, this novel infuses remembrances with emotion. Meissner (A Bridge across the Ocean, 2017) uncharacteristically sticks to one time period, but the narration by the four Bright girls adds depth. A good choice for book groups who read M. L. Stedman's A Light between the Oceans (2012), another novel set in the post–WWI era in which tragedy blurs moral lines. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Having sold more than 100,000 copies each of A Fall of Marigolds and Secrets of a Charmed Life (print and ebook combined), Meissner breaks into hardcover. Pauline Bright and her husband come to 1918 Philadelphia with hopes for a better life that are quashed when the Spanish Flu arrives. Despite loss, they learn the meaning of love by taking in a baby orphaned by the disease. Rights sold to 13 countries. Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Told through alternating perspectives, Meissner's (Secrets of a Charmed Life; A Fall of Marigolds) latest follows the story of the Bright family as they move to Philadelphia in 1918 to assume their inherited place within the family funeral business. The relocation is meant to ease the loss of Henry, their youngest member, but just as they start to navigate their grief, the Spanish flu hits the city, devastating them anew. Each of the women in this family confronts death differently: Pauline, the matriarch, embraces it as an everyday companion; Evelyn and Willa, the oldest and youngest daughters, respectively, run away with everything they have; while middle daughter Maggie aims to circumvent death entirely. When Maggie makes an impulsive choice at a crucial moment of the pandemic, her family's life is forever altered. The reckoning of her choice unfolds in the second half of the novel and ultimately brings the story full circle. VERDICT Meissner's prose maintains a balanced tone of sorrow throughout this novel. Fans of Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible and the television show Six Feet Under will enjoy. [See Prepub Alert, 8/28/17.]—Tina Panik, Avon Free P.L., CT Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A tale set in 1918 Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic traces the experiences of a family reeling from the losses of loved ones and changes in their adopted city, a situation that is further shaped by their decision to take in an orphaned infant.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"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"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

The award-winning author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean presents a tale set in 1918 Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic and traces the experiences of a family reeling from the losses of loved ones and changes in their adopted city, a situation that is further shaped by their decision to take in an orphaned infant.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From the acclaimed author of A Bridge Across the Ocean and The Last Year of the War 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.