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Shining Through Mass Market Paperback – July 3, 2000

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (July 3, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061030155
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061030154
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.1 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A truly compulsive read, Isaacs's fourth novel (after Almost Paradise) is a smooth blend of romantic fiction and spy thriller. Again demonstrating her unbeatable flair for down-to-earth dialogue, sassy, outspoken heroines and social nuances that convey character and period, Isaacs tells a Cinderella story with a contemporary twist. Linda Voss is a 31-year-old secretary to the dreamiest looking man on Wall Street, international lawyer John Berringer, with whom she is secretly and hopelessly in love: she is a poor girl from Queens, and he boasts an Ivy League background along with his perfect profile. When circumstances lead to their unlikely marriage, however, sexual fireworks keep them together. As World War II engulfs Europe, the Berringers move to Washington, where both become involved in undercover work for the COI, soon to become the OSS. Heartbreak, plus a feeling of kinship for the victims of Nazism, leads Linda, whose childhood was spent in a German-speaking household, to volunteer for a dangerous mission in Berlin. There, events tumble her into heroic action. Isaacs's depiction of daily life in wartime Germany rings with accurate detail, as does her picture of the American espionage organization and of the psychological orientation of the people who made up its ranks. She has hit her stride here with a book that has all the marks of a runaway bestseller. 300,000 copy first printing; $300,000 ad/promo; movie rights to Columbia; paperback rights to Ballantine; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club dual main selections.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Totally captivating." -- Chicago Sun-Times

More About the Author

First, here's what the critics say::

AFiction done well and done with a difference...A sophisticated storyteller, with a wry view of the world.@ - Washington Post

AJane Austen brought up to date...Highly amusing.@ - Atlantic Monthly

ASusan Isaacs is a witty, wry observer of the contemporary scene.@ - New York Times Book Review

ASardonic humor and dead-on commentary.@ - Houston Chronicle

ASusan Isaacs knows the art of dialogue the way J.S. Bach knew the art of the fugue.@ - Seattle Times

Blockbuster writers tend to be no more than terrific storytellers. Susan Isaacs=s talents go far beyond that. She is a witty, insightful, and elegant writer.@ - Mademoiselle

AI can think of no other novelist--popular or highbrow--who consistently celebrates female gutsiness, brains and sexuality. She=s Jane Austen with a schmear.@ Maureen Corrigan- National Public Radio Fresh Air

AWho....., is our best popular novelist? The nominee for this quarter is Susan Isaacs....[She] is a comic realist, an astute chronicler of contemporary life in the tradition of....Anthony Trollope.@ - Sun Sentinel

Susan's biography

Susan Isaacs, novelist, essayist and screenwriter, was born in Brooklyn and educated at Queens College. She worked as an editorial assistant at Seventeen magazine writing everything from book reviews to advice to the lovelorn. In 1968, Susan married Elkan Abramowitz, then a federal prosecutor. She became a senior editor but left Seventeen in 1970 to stay home with her newborn son, Andrew. Three years later, she gave birth to Elizabeth. During this time she freelanced, writing political speeches as well as magazine articles.

In the mid-seventies, Susan got the urge to write a novel. A year later she began Compromising Positions, a whodunit set on suburban Long Island. It was published in. Her second novel, Close Relations, a love story set against a background of ethnic, sexual and New York Democratic politics (thus a comedy), was published in. Her third, Almost Paradise, was published in 1984. All of Susan's novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Her fiction has been translated into thirty languages.

In 1985, she wrote the screenplay for Paramount's Compromising Positions, which starred Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia. She also wrote and co-produced Disney's Hello Again. The 1987 comedy starred Shelley Long and Gabriel Byrne.

Her fourth novel, Shining Through, set during World War II, was published in 1988. The film adaptation starred Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith. Then came Magic Hour January 1991, After All These Years in 1993. Lily White in 1996 and Red, White and Blue in 1998. In 1999, Susan came out with her first work of nonfiction, Brave Dames and Wimpettes: What Women Are Really Doing on Page and Screen. During 2000, she wrote a series of columns on the presidential campaign for Newsday. Long Time No See, a sequel to Compromising Positions, came out in September 2001. Anyplace I Hang My Hat, was published in 2004. Past Perfect is her eleventh novel.

Susan Isaacs is a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award and the John Steinbeck Award. She serves as chairman of the board of Poets & Writers and is a past president of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The Creative Coalition, PEN, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Adams Round Table. Besides writing innumerable book reviews, Susan has also written about politics, film and First Amendment issues. She lives on Long Island with her husband.

Customer Reviews

I read the book 4 times, I must have watched the movie more than 10 times.
C. Mathieu
So having a great book and a good movie of the same work to choose from, I'd recommend you read the book before seeing the movie.
carol irvin
The characters were well developed and descriptions were written so you felt drawn to the story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By T. Voget on February 3, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have attempted some other Susan Isaacs books and was disappointed, so it may be surprising that this book has a constant place on my "frequently read" bookshelf. Rather than discuss the plotline (I think the editorial review does that succinctly enough), let me try to convey to you the experience of actually reading the book.
The singlemost outstanding feature of this book is the screaming reality with which Isaacs develops characters. One reviewer was apparently upset that the narrator felt too little sympathy for the Germans (and described her boss, rather than "showing" what he was like). These details actually contribute greatly to my love of the book, as the editorializing narrator (Linda Voss) demonstrates her own personality through the way in which she communicates. She only describes her boss as "perfect"? Exactly--she's blinded by her feelings. Not sympathetic towards the Germans? Of course not--the character is an extremely cynical, stubborn woman who is working for the U.S. Government during the war. Perhaps, then, the best feature of the narration is the consistency which Isaacs employs; assuming that you are able to recognize literary tricks, you should have no problem differentiating between Linda's views and the facts of her world.
As for the plot itself, despite frequent rereading, this book keeps me spellbound from the first chapter until the last. At times, the plot twists are truly surprising; other times, the story is unsurprising but told saucily enough to hold my interest all the way through. As aforementioned, the narrator is such a compelling character that one gets the feeling of just listening to her chatter her way through the pages.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By toriem on May 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, I have to be very careful here. You see, I have to be if I want to do this work justice. I cannot emphasize enough what a great novel this is and what a truly, wonderful writer Susan Isaacs is. Her eye for detail (written so funnily) and her ear for dialogue (just flows off the page) cannot be surpassed. You know what, instead of lauding my praises I'll write a quick excerpt from the novel to persuade you. It's from very first lines of the novel. If it doesn't persuade you, I don't know what will. Here it is: START
In 1941, when I was thirty-one and an old maid, while the whole world waited for war, I fell in love with John Berringer.
An office crush. Big deal. Since the invention of the steno pad, a day hasn't gone by without some secretary glancing up from her Pitman squiggles and suddenly realizing that the man who was mumbling "...and therefore, pursuant to the above..." was the one man in her life who could ever bring her joy.
So there I was, a cliche with a number 2 yellow pencil: a working firl from Queens who'd lost her heart to the pride of the Ivy League. END
Isaac's hooks you in and never lets you go. The main character, Linda Voss, is a wonder. She is a heroine unlike any other. She is and always will be wonderfully funny, sometimes mocking, but never boring. All of Isaac's characters are soo human; they are never perfect; they all have flaws. You may not like some of them, but all of them are understandable.
I shall forever be grateful to Isaacs for writing this masterpiece. So, please, please, I cannot stress this enough, please go borrow, buy, or steal this book and try it out. You'll fall in love with it. I know I did.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 6, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The parallels, the characterization, the foreshadowing, the dynamic evolving characters... this is an excellent example of modern American fiction at its highest level. Our protagonist, Linda Voss, is a real woman recognizably full of her own illusions and strengths, gets involved in the catalyst of WWII, thereby learning what really matters to her as a woman, an American, and a Jew. Miss Isaacs is able, with her impressive understanding of WWIIand humanity in general (which asks the questions Who am I? What do I really want? Why is this happening to me? How can I survive? How can I emerge victorious?), to paint the human condition against a background of war that is didactic while at the same time entirely recognizable. A critical yet loyal Isaacs fan, I believe this book is my supreme favorite of all her work, and I also believe it's my favorite book, period.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By abt1950 on June 12, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Shining Through" is one of those wonderful books that owes it appeal to its fairy tale-like plot. The editorial reviews call it a modern Cinderella story, but I've always read it as an "ugly duckling to swan" tale. Unappreciated by her Ivy League cad of a husband (who only married her because he had to), a part-Jewish working class girl goes undercover in Nazi German. The heroine's true worth shines through, and, after the requisite suspense and plot twists, she gets her Prince Charming. This book may not be great literature, but it's a satisfying read. Like an earlier reviewer said, it's one of those books to keep around and reread from time to time. For any reader who has felt downtrodden and/or underappreciated (and who hasn't) "Shining Through" is indeed literary comfort food.
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