My Review of “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan Meissner
I love the vivid descriptions of the setting and the characters in “As Bright As Heaven” by Susan Meissner. The genres for this story are Historical Fiction and Fiction. The story setting for this story is mostly in Philadelphia, and some other areas as described in the story. The timeline of the story is around 1918, when there is the Spanish flu epidemic and carries through the Great War, World War One, and after.
The characters are described as complex complicated and confused, mostly dictated by the devastating times. The Bright family moves to Philadelphia to hope for a better life, where the husband will be working in his Uncle’s Funeral Home. Pauline Bright has lost her baby son, so this move for her family looks like it could be positive. Despite the fact that men are headed to fight in The Great War, the possiblility of the new move for Pauline, her husband and three daughters seems like a wonderful chance and new beginnings.
The Spanish flu epidemic has grasped hold of much of the country and soon schools and public places are closed. There are many deaths. The funeral home doesn’t have space for all the deceased bodies. Moving to Philadelphia, where the population is greater, and there are so many sick people may not have been such a great choice.
Pauline volunteers to go to the poorer part of town to deliver food and materials to sick people. Her daughter accompanies her. While Pauline goes to one of the apartments, Maggie hears the cries of a young baby. She sees that the mother is dead, and brings the baby to her mother Who will care for the little boy?
Despite the heartbreaks and challenges, the family looks at the choices they have to make. Are there really all good choices, or all bad choices?
I appreciate the historical research that Susan Meissner has done for this time period. The Spanish Flu doesn’t discriminate between the rich and poor, or the young or old. I also love that the author discusses the importance of family, friends, good neighbors, loyalty, courage, kindness, being helpful, love, hope and faith. I would highly recommend this book for readers of Historical Fiction. I received an Advanced Reading Copy for my honest review.