Secrets of A Charmed Life

Secrets of A Charmed Life

Book - 2015
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"Present day, Oxford, England. Young American scholar Kendra Van Zant, eager to pursue her vision of a perfect life, interviews Isabel McFarland just when the elderly woman is ready to give up secrets about the war that she has kept for decades--beginning with who she really is. What Kendra receives from Isabel is both a gift and a burden--one that will test her convictions and her heart"-- Page 4 of cover.
Publisher: New York, New York : New American Library, [2015]
ISBN: 9780451419927
Branch Call Number: FIC MEISSNE
Characteristics: 388 pages ; 21 cm


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Mar 23, 2018

I really enjoy reading historical fiction so I picked up this book and what a wonderful story it is! It is a story of reinventing oneself after tragedy. Set during WWII two sisters become separated and we, the readers, are taken on an emotional journey through their stories and how they coped. Hope and perseverance in a tumultuous time of unrest and sadness are some of the themes explored in this novel and the way it is structured is engaging. I quickly became engrossed in the story.

Mar 03, 2018

If you enjoy this author, then you will really enjoy her novel, A Fall of Marigolds.

Jan 27, 2017

A young woman has a dream to become a bridal gown designer. But she is oblivious to the fact that Britain is in the midst of WWII and she is determined to make her dream a reality. The story leads the reader through many twists and turns on this young woman's journey. An engaging read.

Dec 15, 2016

Excellent story! one of the best I've read this year. It had the right amount of thematic elements explored. Well done.

Aug 15, 2016

I couldn't put the book down.

Apr 21, 2016

A nice story written in a gentle undemanding style. A bit slow in spots but it always picks up again quickly. A good choice if you are looking for an enjoyable story without a lot of sex and violence.

Mar 22, 2016

Family secrets; choices and their consequences; as well as forgiveness and healing are some of the many themes explored in SECRETS OF A CHARMED LIFE. It is the touching tale of two sisters separated during the London Blitz of WWII. Effectively told for the most part by author Susan Meissner, for me the story lost some of its momentum in Part III which was presented as a series of journal entries, although there were still enough plot twists and suspense to keep me happily engaged to the end.

Feb 16, 2016

Terrific book! Really enjoyed it and it was one that stays with you after you're done. Looking forward to reading another one from this author.

Dec 02, 2015

I won't tell you much of the story. I wouldn't want to deprive you of the vast array of feelings brought on while reading this novel. Every emotion from happiness, fear, sadness, anger, love, loss and anxiety is felt throughout this story. Meissner did a wonderful job writing. I was surprised to look up from reading and see that I was in my 2015 living room in Kansas, USA and not in 1940s war-torn England.

Historical Fiction has become one of my favorite genres as of late. I loved that Meissner seamlessly combined a modern day narrative with historical memories and storytelling. There is a simplicity to the writing, yet the story is deeply dimensional. Meissner transports the reader to a time and place that I, as an American born in the 80s, never even imagined but could see every little detail. It is a true glimpse of a war and the effects of the devastation it brought to all who lived it.

This story is told in perspectives of 3 characters starting with a present day conversation, leading to a reminiscence of the past, then told through the perspective of past journal entries, and ending once again in present day. The center of this story revolves around events leading up to, during, and after The London Blitz.

The theme throughout this book is choices. The choices we make can effect others around us, but when life altering events happen because of a choice, is the person who made it solely to blame? This book has vivid character development and luscious scenery descriptions. It was easy to get lost in the story.

Though I loved the book overall, the ending seemed rushed. Like stated before, the last part is told through the perspective of past journal entries. It sort of made me feel detached from the story. Like I was no longer a part of the story, but a person peaking in. Not a huge issue, but I definitely noticed the small disengagement I had despite the fact I wanted to find out what happens.

All in all, this was a wonderful story saturated with a time in history that fascinates me. A 5 star read for me! I hope you like it too!

Sep 20, 2015

This book had such a finely intertwined story of family it was hard to put down. The information about surviving the Blitz in London was so personally told that I felt I knew what those people really went through. And really wondered how anyone found anyone after the bombings and evacuations. Am anxious to read more from this author

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