As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

As Bright as Heaven

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.

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As Bright as Heaven was my in-person book club pick for the month of December and I’m happy to say that it was a success (ie. no one hated it!).

I had never read anything about the 1918 Spanish flu, so I was going in blind. It was fascinating to read about the time period and what was happening on the home front during the war.

It was a bit of a slow start to get into the novel. The novel is narrated by the 3 Bright sisters (Evelyn, Maggie and Willa) as well as their mother, Pauline. I kept getting confused on which sister was which since they were written very similarly.

The story picks up around the 100 page mark and it was so hard to put the novel down. I just had to keep reading it even though I was getting emotional. Some of the plot lines are a bit of an eye roll since I saw them coming from a mile away, but overall it was an enjoyable read.

3 calculators out of a potential 5. A nice historical fiction read about a period that I didn’t know too much about.

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