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As Bright as Heaven (2018)

by Susan Meissner

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4564641,355 (4.1)24
"From the darkest hours rises life in all its glory ... 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. Their dreams are short-lived. Just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand 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. Amidst the tragedy and challenges that surround them, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it. Under the Canopy of 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"--… (more)
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» See also 24 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Interesting read about a family during the Spanish Flu of 1918. Recommend! ( )
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
For those who love historical fiction: in author Meissner's words, one of the "untold stories from the past that reveal the resiliency of the human spirit despite difficult circumstances." This book is centered on the historic pandemic of the Spanish Flu, which killed more than 50 million people. Her story centers on the Bright family, who in the aftermath of a devastating loss, move to Philadelphia for a new start in 1918 as Thomas joins his Uncle Fred's mortuary business. Told in the four voices of his wife Pauline and their three daughters, we follow the family's fortunes and travails though the end of WWI, the flu, and Prohibition. A powerful story, with endearing, complex characters. Highly recommended. ( )
  skipstern | Jul 11, 2021 |
This book is historical fiction set in Philadelphia in the early 1900s.
From the first page, this book pulled me in. I loved reading from each character's perspective of what was happening to each of them.
I did not know that much about Spanish flu, and had no idea it was such a factor in the lives of Americans and especially Philadelphia.
I felt the author really made me feel in the story and become a part of their world in Philadelphia in that time period.
This is a novel about overcoming tragedy, hardship and even death to loved ones. It will tug at your heartstrings and you will shed a tear as you come to love each of the characters and cheer for them. I could not put this book down and did not want it to end. ( )
  SharleneMartinMoore | Apr 24, 2021 |
This book wrenched my heart and left me breathless. ( )
  kimberlyrivera1473 | Sep 23, 2020 |
An interesting book about many of my favorite topics: historical fiction and strong women. My only criticism is that the happy endings were a little far- fetched. Sometimes it is better to leave the ending to a reader's imagination. Sometimes an unhappy ending is ok too, if it is more realistic.

( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Event succeeds event;
accidents, people, happenings,
one after another come toward us.
Each must be met and dealt with. . . 
For this process of adjustment is life,
and the mastery of it is the art of living. . .
---KARL DE SCHWEINITZ,
The Art of Helping People out of Trouble, 1924
Dedication
For my mother
First words
Morning light shimmers on the apricot horizon as I stand at the place where my baby boy rests.
Quotations
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.
I think that grief is such a strange guest,
making its home in a person
like it's a new thing that no one has ever experienced before.
Home isn't a place where everything stays the same; it's a place where you are safe and loved despite nothing staying the same.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"From the darkest hours rises life in all its glory ... 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. Their dreams are short-lived. Just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand 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. Amidst the tragedy and challenges that surround them, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it. Under the Canopy of 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"--

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