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Publisher's Summary

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.
But just months after they arrive, the Spanish flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than 12,000 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. Amid 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.
©2018 Susan Meissner (P)2018 Penguin Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By NMwritergal on 02-21-18

Slow and strange: just an ok read

I realize that part of the story happens during the Spanish flu of 1918, but the obsession with death and undertaking (the family owns a mortuary) was a bit much. One scene where one of the daughters is standing in the embalming room, curious as to what happens there seemed to go on forever. Then there's a long scene where 2 of the characters are kissing in the embalming room as a dead guy lies on the table behind them that is called “beautiful.” Yuck. In general, descriptions of death, dying, and all that relates to it seemed to go on forever.

Most historical fiction gives more of a nod to the vernacular of the time. This book, not so much. Strange repetition of words and phrases that just didn’t work. I think the author was trying to be poetic, but instead it was annoying. In a couple of cases, I wondered if the audio narrator accidently said the same thing twice and it didn't get edited out.

Insta-love and unrealistic depictions of love didn’t help the story.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Lisa J Wied on 03-22-18

My Review by Irene

I enjoyed this book and read a couple of chapters every night before falling asleep. Sometimes the character’s voice would put me to sleep, and I’d have to backtrack the next time I returned to reading, which I looked forward to doing each night. I loved the entire story. The author was descriptive without overdoing it. The characters were believable and consistent with the times of the century. Originally, I thought I’d get squeamish about most of the story taking place in a funeral home, but the characters described a happy existence living in the large and somewhat antiquated surroundings of their new home where they had moved to and bonded together as a loving family. I will certainly recommend this book to family and friends.

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0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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