War changes everything: Review of Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

SecretsOfACharmedLifeCOVERI hope last week’s interview with Susan Meissner piqued your interest in her new book, Secrets of a Charmed Life. Today, you’ll get to read more about it and what I thought about the book, as well as enter for a chance to win a copy! (I love free books, don’t you? I received my copy free in exchange for my review, but my opinion is my own.)

The one thing I love about every book of Meissner’s I’ve read is how she blends a contemporary story with a historical one. I love the connections between two stories from different eras that on the surface seem to be unrelated. She always weaves them together with such skill that I’m as awed by the storytelling as I am by the story.

In this book, her newest release, grad student Kendra arrives at a cottage in the English Cotswolds to interview 93-year-old Isabel McFarland about her experiences during the London Blitz of World War II. But the interview takes a turn when Isabel reveals two secrets she’s been keeping for decades. Thus begins the story of Emmy Downtree, a teenager in 1940s London with dreams of opening a bridal shop. She’s the daughter of an unmarried mother with a younger half-sister she looks after. Just when Emmy glimpses a chance for her dream to come true someday, London’s children are evacuated to the countryside. Emmy and her sister Julia find refuge at Thistle House, but Emmy can’t let go of her dream. She plans a return to London on the very night the Blitz begins setting off a series of events that will alter her future and change the lives of those she loves.Thistle House

I couldn’t be exactly sure where the story was going or how it was going to turn out, which is one of Meissner’s storytelling strengths. She keeps the story moving in a way that’s hard to step away from. And this particular circumstance, children being separated from parents during a time of war, was one I didn’t know much about. It’s both heart-breaking and inspiring because it was true for thousands of families.

Are there secrets to living a charmed life? Emmy believes there are if she can only discover them. As Isabel tells the story, she presents Kendra with the same question. Though it’s not the interview she expects when she walks into the cottage, Kendra leaves with something far better.

You can’t go wrong with a Susan Meissner novel, and if you’re a fan of fiction set in World War II, this is a not-miss book.

And guess what? I get to give a FREE signed copy to one of you, (if you live in the U.S. or Canada) if you leave a comment on this post.

Tell me this in your comment:

What is one sacrifice you’ve had to make for your children or that your parents made for you?

(Could you send your kids away to the country for months, maybe years, if it meant they would live in safety? I don’t know!)

If that’s too deep then tell me your favorite World War II book, fiction or non-fiction, and why it’s your favorite.

I will choose one random winner on Tuesday, Feb. 3, the official release day of Secrets of a Charmed Life. Good luck to you!

And if you missed the interview with Susan from last week, click here to catch up!




6 thoughts on “War changes everything: Review of Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

  1. This sounds like a very interesting book. I have never read anything by Susan Meissner. I am impressed with your description of her writing because great storytelling is what all good writing is made of.
    I don’t know if I could send my children to live away from us to be safe. That would be very difficult.
    We have, though, made sacrifices for our children, the main one being when we decided to live on a single income so that I could be available to the children and to homeschool them. This has not been easy, but neither has it been as difficult as I thought it would be. We do not have lots of material things and we do not get to take a vacation every year, but I believe that the love, time and attention and the things that you cannot buy with money that my children do receive, are far more valuable for their lives, both currently and in the future.

  2. Honestly, the sacrifices we have made are fairly superficial. No date nights (not with three!), vacationing for less, bigger mortgage for a better school system. The norm for middle class America, but this book looks great. If I win I hope to find the time to read it soon. Reading a lot is another sacrifice I’ve made.

  3. Pingback: When maybe my life is too safe | Living Echoes

  4. Pingback: The best books I’ve read so far this year | Living Echoes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s