As Bright as Heaven

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Mar 2018

Member Reviews

I could not put this one down. Taking place during the Great War, As Bright as Heaven follows the Bright family as they move from the country to bustling Philadelphia just in time to experience the pandemic known as the Spanish Flu. As Thomas learns the family business, the flu begins to affect the family in more way than they could possibly imagine, and will continue to do so well into adulthood of all of their children.

As Bright as Heaven was beautifully written and it brought to light things I didn’t previously know. I personally love when a novel touches on something I have little knowledge on, because it then prompts me to research and learn more. Meissner has once again written...

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[I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]

Rating: 4/5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Features: Human tragedy, dealing with death and loss, family, love, mankind's resilience

ARCs can be very hit and miss, but this one was definitely a hit! The story follows the women in the Bright family and rotates between the perspectives of the three daughters and the mother. It reminds me of Poisonwood Bible for that reason. The oldest Bright child is mature and intelligent, the middle daughter is strong-willed and determined, and the youngest is more artistic and rebellious. (It also pleasantly brought to mind Little Women, and the sisters Meg, Jo, and...

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If I could give this book 10 stars, I would - it's that good. There is nothing more rewarding than starting a book only to find you hate to put it down or see it end. This is one of those novels and on my list of one of my favorite books ever.
The story (my introduction to this author) revolves around the Bright family in the early 1900's. An opportunity arises to become a partner and future heir to a family funeral home business in the city. Thomas and Pauline move there intending to see life improve for their three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa. Still reeling from the loss of their son, Henry, this is looked upon as a fresh start for all. Thus, the make their home above...

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As Bright As Heaven is the latest novel by Susan Meissner which is set in 1918. Pauline and Thomas Bright along with their family are relocating from Quakertown to Philadelphia. Thomas has been offered the opportunity to work with his uncle, Fred Bright and eventually inherit the Bright Funeral Home. Pauline is hoping it will provide a better life for their family (three daughters: Evelyn, Willa and Maggie) and, after losing her six-month-old son, she feels that Death is near her. A few months later, Thomas is drafted and their neighbor’s son, Jamie Sutcliff goes off to training camp. Then the Spanish Flu arrives with a vengeance and thousands are dying. Pauline and Maggie are taking...

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I have to admit, at first, I didn't really feel anything for this family at the beginning. I even considered packing it away. However, the more I read, the more I felt. This family went through a whole bunch of hardships most families face, but they also had the Great War and the Influenza Flu epidemic. The latter really hitting the family and those around them really bad.

I really was moved by this book and thoroughly enjoyed my journey with this family.

By the end of the book, I was actually sorry to see them go. Ending it on a somewhat more happy note really made the tears flow.

An incredible story of a family who loved, lost and lived.

Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and...

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This was another fantastic book from Susan Meissner. I have enjoyed all of her books but this one is my favorite - at least until her next book comes out.

This novel starts about 1917 when the Bright family decides to move to Philadelphia to better their lives. The dad has been given a chance to learn the mortuary business and eventually take over his uncle's funeral home. The family has been given beautiful room above the mortuary to live in. The novel is told in four alternating female voices - the Mom - Pauline and the three sisters, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa. As they begin to try to make friends in school, their lives are getting ready to change. The Spanish Flu epidemic hits...

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Fabulous book.  Thoroughly loved.  Highly recommend!
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I loved this book so much!  It is Meissner's best work yet.  Practically read this in one sitting and wanted to scream from the rooftops for all to buy this one.
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5 GLORIOUS stars (and 5 random thoughts):

1. My first ARC! Thank you to the publisher for providing my with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

2. Apparently, 100 years ago, fifty-million people worldwide perished from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the deadliest disease in history and I had NO idea. As the backdrop for this novel, I was enthralled.

3. The story follows the alternating perspectives of a wife and her 3 resilient daughters as they make a new life in Philadelphia. Their voices are spot-on authentic. Never once did I want to take my nose out of this book.

4. Be warned....It is a complete sob-fest, but so worthwhile! Books like this are why I read.

5...

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This is the first book I’ve read by Susan Meissner and it won’t be my last. I quickly became invested in several of the main characters and what was happening in the world around them.

Thomas and Pauline pluck their family from their pseudo comfortable farm in Quakertown as tobacco farmers and plunge their family into bustling Philadelphia with Uncle Fred as they learn to become undertakers. Thomas gets called up for army duty and the Spanish flu becomes an epidemic overwhelming the small family business.

Death marks this family and their community; they all endeavor to endure regardless of the pain of losing loved ones and their overwhelming circumstances.

I had never realized that...

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Perfection! I absolutely adored this novel. I have never read anything about the Spanish Flu and was astounded at the number of people & families it affected. Meissners writing is flawless. She draws you in with her remarkable characters and storytelling. This is a novel not to be missed! 5+ stars.
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I did not like how it was told from different perspectives - some of which didn't add much - and didn't like how it mixed pest and present tenses.
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ARC received by NetGalley 

As always, the author does a great job of weaving together a fascinating story through multiple viewpoints. Each character is developed well and adds to the story, which covers a time during the war that is not often written about.
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1918, a family after a tragic loss, moves from Quakertown to Philadelphia when the childless uncle invites the father of this family to work with him as an undertaker and become heir to his business and home. Philadelphia is a place where Thomas Bright thought he could give a better life to his wife and three daughters. They move into the funeral home so how could this book not be about death, given the business ? But death appears in ways that could not be anticipated with the outbreak of the Spanish flu and in ways that they could not imagine would touch their lives. It wasn’t until I read the author’s note after I read the book that I learned that Philadelphia was one of the hardest hit...

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I definitely would recommend this historical fiction as it is about a period in American History that has very little written about. I thought using the voices of the 4 female characters who range from the mother to the 3 daughters [15, 13, 8 yrs old] made for an interesting perspective of the years 1917-1925.
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They journeyed from the tobacco fields of home to the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia in 1918. The Bright family saw a future, although unknown, with the possibilities of being as bright as their name. Little did they know, with young men going off to join the Great War, and the nightmares of the Spanish flu epidemic, their lives would become a saga of survival, fortitude, heartbreak, loss and finally hope.

Three sisters would endure witnessing their father go off to war, the loss of their mother to the flu and become the only family an orphaned baby would know. He will become their beacon for the future, proof that life will go on, but one sister will bear a heavy secret that could...

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Plot: 4 Characters: 4 Writing:4
#tearjerker #uplifting

Solid, well-written, historical fiction with an emphasis on family in times of duress. The Brights - Thomas and Pauline and their daughters Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa - leave their rural life to join Thomas’ uncle in his undertaking business in Philadelphia. The time is 1918.

Told through the alternating perspectives of the women in the family over the next 8 years, the story weaves through mortuaries, speakeasies, mental institutions, and hospitals as the community reels from the double crises of WWI (and the expanded draft) and the Spanish Flu pandemic and slowly heals by knitting itself together in new and unexpected...

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Every once in a while a book comes along that so engrosses you that you forget to sleep, eat, and drink. This is that book for me. This amazing book is set during World War 1 in Philadelphia with the Bright family. The Bright family live above a mortuary with their uncle. The story is told from the points of view of Pauline the mom, and her 3 daughters. As Thomas learns the mortuary business with his uncle, the female Brights must learn a new life in the city. Soon after they arrive, the Spanish flu hits the world. Seeing so many die of this awful virus affects all the Brights in different ways. Learning a new way of life after so many lose theirs, the girls move on as they realize what is...

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This historical novel tells the story of a family that moves to Philly during WWI and about the flu epidemic and how they deal with the aftermath of both. I truly enjoyed it. The pace was a bit slow at times, but the story itself was solid and made up for any gaps in the flow. I would definitely recommend it for historical fiction fans.
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I didn't know too much about the Spanish Flu and this book takes place right in the middle of it as well as the Great War (World War I.) The way the characters are immersed in that world makes you really feel for them. I found myself wondering how I would be acting as a mother if I had to deal with that with my own children.

As with any book that takes place during a war, it is always interesting to me to read about how things were so different back then, but also how some other things are still the same. Saying goodbye to someone going off to war is difficult whether it is to Europe in 1918 or Iraq in 2017.

This was also the first book I have read of Susan Meissner's that did...

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