Monday, February 2, 2015

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner, © 2015


"Our life is what our thoughts make it."
––Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Upon reading the last paragraph revelation of Part One, Chapter One; yes, I am here for keeps!

Wordsmith Susan Meissner captures historical fiction in a way that readers will be a recipient firsthand with interviewer Kendra Van Zant, as an elderly woman reveals her pain and remembrance in the throngs of war and its effects upon those near to her heart. An impact to me was the sweet longing of hoped-for children fulfilled for Charlotte Havelock, the woman who took in the two sisters in the story during the evacuation of the children from the terrors of the London Blitz in the early 1940s. A history comes alive to 2015; actions considered together, unable to be undone, whether originating from self or others.
~* Quotes *~
"Fear does not start to fade until you take the step that you think you can't."
"There are days that are neither good nor bad. There is a kind of day that is something else entirely. On those days, you are restless for something. And that fidgety feeling doesn’t make your good days bad or your bad days good. It just makes you hungry."
"Truth is a strange companion. It devastates one moment and enthralls the next. But it never deceives. And because of that, in the end, it comforts."
"If I know anything about time, it is that it stretches to walk with you when you grieve. The rest of the world may zoom past at breakneck speed, but when you are learning to live with loss, time slows to the pace of your breathing."

children labeled with their destination
The reminiscence of the teller brought to the present, is it accurate through her point of view? From London to the Cotswolds, the excursion was as bewildering to those sent and those selecting within a distanced countryside, hoping for safety and acceptance. During sirens, blackout curtains, and the fear of demolition, Emmeline Downtree desires to resume her post as a hoped-for designer apprentice connected to Mrs. Crofton's London Primrose Bridal shop. Emmy sketches bride dresses hoping to create a future clear from the life she has known. Her younger sister Julia just wants to be where Emmy is, protected and cared for, the only stability she has really known. Connect with the perils and dreams, set aside to what is.

Susan Meissner has brought a true glimpse of a war-torn country and the devastation brought forth for decades; façades covering a turbulent time.

I have loved reading Susan Meissner's then and now novels ~ her two time period stories. My first reading became a favorite ~ Lady in Waiting, about the two Janes... and Lucy (needing her own continued story). I like the connection made between the past and the present, in a tangible way. Susan's novels bring me right in to walk near them.

***Thank you to author Susan Meissner for inviting me to be a part of her pre-read team and sending me an Advance Reader Copy of Secrets of a Charmed Life. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

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