Thursday, January 22, 2015

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner has a wonderful talent of creating a story that spans different eras. In Secrets of a Charmed Life she weaves present day together with WWII London during the Blitz. She held me captive from the the beginning to the very last page. But then every book I have read by Ms. Meissner has held me captive until the end.

The story begins in present day when an American reporter named Kendra Van Zant visits a cottage in the Cotswolds, England to interview a survivor of the London Blitz. The present day portion of the book is written in first person. My first thought was, 'oh, no, not first person' as I have never been a big fan of reading books written in the first person point of view. However, it works very well in this book as we only visit present day a few times during the story and being in first person brings the reader back to present day.

The historical portion of Secrets of a Charmed Life takes place in London during the Blitz of WWII. I had heard of the Blitz but never realized how terrible it was for the families living in London. Families were torn apart. Anyone with children were forced to evacuate their children to foster homes in the English countryside. It had to be terrible watching your children board a train not knowing whether you would see them again, or as a child being sent away from your parents not knowing if you would ever see them again. Ms. Meissner created an emotional separation of the main characters, Emmeline (Emmy) Downtree and her little sister Julia from their mother Annie. I shed a few tears and when that happens I know I have been drawn into the story.

The girls find a wonderful foster home with an older lady, Charlotte Havelock and her sister Rose. Unfortunately, 15 year old Emmy believes herself to be an adult and she has a dream to fulfill. A dream to create beautiful wedding dresses. She decides to leave and return to London to facilitate making her dreams come true. However, her sister Julia finds out and demands to leave with her. Once back in London, Emmy leaves young 7-year old Julia alone in their mother's apartment. Bombs begin to fall on London and when Emmy is finally able to get back to the apartment, Julia is gone. This propels the story forward taking Emmy on a journey to find her sister. I can only imagine what Emmy and her mother felt while looking for young Julia. I'm sure Julia blamed herself while fearing the worst.

I enjoyed this book so very much and would truly love to share more of the story line with you but that would supply too many spoilers which I cannot do. I will say that this is a story of love, guilt, forgiveness and second chances all set against the backdrop of war. It is a book that is filled with historical information during a dark time in London's history. I learned so much about the Blitz and felt so sorry for the families that lived through that period of time.

Ms. Meissner's writing is stellar and I always look forward to reading anything with her name on the cover. The amount of research she does shows in the excellence of the story.

I would highly recommend Secrets of a Charmed Life to anyone who enjoys reading Historical Fiction. Please note that while most of Ms. Meissner's books can be classified in the Christian genre, Secrets of a Charmed Life, due to certain relationships, does not.

On a 5-Star scale = 5 HUGE stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Susan Meissner for my Advanced Readers Copy. I received it for free to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

If you would like your own copy of Secrets of a Charmed Life Ms. Meissner has been generous to allow me to offer one autographed copy to the readers of my blog. If you would like to enter, you can click on the book cover in the top right corner of this post. Or you may follow the link here.

Smiles & Blessings,

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