- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Berkley (February 3, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451419928
- ISBN-13: 978-0451419927
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,396 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Secrets of a Charmed Life Paperback – February 3, 2015
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Raves for Secrets of a Charmed Life
“Rich with vividly drawn characters, places, and events…It’s themes of reinvention and redemption will strike a chord with readers.”—Booklist
“Simply told, yet powerful in its depth…This vivid, well-researched story, depicting the horrors of the Blitz, the beauty of the countryside and the heartbreak and loss of a loved one will remain in your mind long after it ends.”—RT Book Reviews
“This story of choices and consequences takes readers on a heartrending journey through war-torn London, the quiet Cotswolds and far-off America…[An] impressive and emotional novel.”—Historical Novel Society
“With vivid storytelling and lovely prose, Meissner weaves a story, told from three perspectives, of World War II and present day seamlessly.”—Open Book Society
About the Author
Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist. She is the award-winning author of A Bridge Across the Ocean, Secrets of a Charmed Life, A Fall of Marigolds, and Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, among other novels.
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Top customer reviews
When I was offered the opportunity to read an advance copy of "Secrets of a Charmed Life" I must admit....it was the cover that drew me in. Kudos to the designers! But then I opened the book, and I was swept away.
"Secrets of a Charmed Life" reminded me why I love to read. The story takes place during the reign of Adolf Hitler, and is set in England. I've studied World War II many times, but place fictional characters in the midst of the Blitz and history comes alive.
I cannot fathom the fear and the pain one must face when life is so uncertain and dangerous that you must send your children away to live in safety. Reading about the mass exodus of England's children was mind boggling, to say the least.
And I felt every bit of Emmy's resentment at being shipped off to the countryside and to strangers. To be almost at the age of adulthood and yet treated like a child had to be maddening for her. But when she made her pivotal choice I wanted to reach into the story and grab her, stop her from making that devastating choice.
This book is so well written that you'll be reading, then look up and be shocked to see that you are in 2015 and not in war torn England. You'll feel the bombs as they hit, choke on the dust and debris, and feel the losses that come from that devastation.
Susan isn't an author in this instance. Instead, she is an artist, creating a masterpiece of fiction that had me riveted from start to finish. My only issue were the final chapters. I enjoyed the storytelling within the story so much, that to be left reading letter after letter did slow down the book. But that is such a minor quibble.
"Secrets of a Charmed Life" releases today, so get your copy soon. You won't regret it. My thanks to Susan for allowing me to be a part of her Dream Team in exchange for my honest review. This one is highly recommended, and "Secrets of a Charmed Life" is a book I will read again!
The last portion of the book ruined it for me. This portion is the one that takes place in the form of letters/diary entries. I won't say who wrote this portion, but the whole turn of events and the story conveyed by these letters/diary entries very nearly ruined the book for me. It went from being a beautifully written, genuinely touching story to becoming overwrought and unrealistic. Even though this novel is a work of fiction, much of it felt authentic and believable. Until the letters and the story within them. The book went from being engrossing and compelling to feeling melodramatic. I went from feeling broken-hearted to rolling my eyes.
The letters also made the character who wrote them seem suddenly less sympathetic and almost... Unlikable.
So, in the end, the was promising but lost it's way by taking a turn of melodrama that it never really recovers from.
I read one of Ms. Meissner's other books, The Fall of Marigolds, and thought it was wonderful. Charmed Life is even better! It is filled with family secrets and lots of surprising twists and turns. It is a story about the devastation of war, choices, guilt, and relationships. The book begins with the quote, "Our life is what our thoughts make it" from Marcus Aurelius and goes on to demonstrate how true this is. We do not make our choices in a vacuum and decisions and events are intertwined in complex ways. Good stuff to ponder! Ms. Meissner is a gifted storyteller, though the writing style is basic. I look forward to her next book.