~As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner~
“You think you have a view of what’s waiting for you just up the road, but then something happens, and you find out pretty quick you were looking at the wrong road.”
“Life is wonderful and beautiful but oh, how hard it can be.”
The Brights live in a small town, but after a tragedy, decide to move to the city for a fresh start and to take over an uncle’s funeral parlor business in hopes of a better life.
The Brights’ story begins in 1918 Pittsburgh during the pandemic of the Spanish Influenza. During this time of upheaval due to the spread of the disease and war, Maggie, then a young girl of thirteen, comes across a baby and takes him home.
This novel is told from the multiple viewpoints of the women in the Bright family, Pauline Bright, the mother, and the three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa.
A wonderfully told tale of loss, love, and learning to do the best you can with what you are given.
I have always been fascinated by the stories that come out of historical events. The great flu pandemic changed the face of the world, and I am surprised to learn so many are not aware of the impact the Spanish Flu had.Susan Meissner takes the facts and weaves a spell binding novel of family drama with touches of romance and mystery. I finished this book in two days.
I especially enjoyed the splash of rebellion against conformity that the youngest sister adds!
The novel has a satisfying ending, even though not everything issunshine and roses. If you liked Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, you may enjoy As Bright As Heaven. All in all, a very good read and recommended for book clubs.
As a side note, with the audio version it was difficult at times to tell the characters apart due to the similarities in the readers’ voices. This was not the fault of the narrators. The performance was fine, but they simply sounded too much alike at times. I noticed a sudden shifting in volume as well but it wasn’t enough to stop me from listening.