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.
But 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, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it.
Kathryn - 5 Star
I learnt a lot from this book. As Bright As Heaven covers the Spanish flu epidemic in the US at the end of the first world war. I knew absolutely nothing about the situation except for the vague notion that it had happened so the whole subject matter had me hooked.
The characters were intense and attached themselves to me immediately with their narrative. Each one had a different perspective based on their ages and their stages of life. Pauline is a strong and capable women and it's interesting that the novel begins with her thought process after the recent loss of her infant. The novel begins with death and death is a theme throughout because Pauline and her husband move to Philadelphia to help his uncle run his funeral home. Each of their three children also has their own voice in the book which is interesting as they begin at ages 6, 12 and 15 and grow up over the story. The author does a fantastic job of keeping true to their voices and characteristics as they grew up.
The novel is full of heartache so be forewarned but it is also though a wonderful example of family workings and relationships- quite apart from the history lesson.
Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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