Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner {Review}

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Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner {Review}Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

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Also by this author: White Picket Fences, Stars Over Sunset Boulevard
ISBN: 9780451419927
Genres: Christian Historical Fiction/Contemporary mix
on February 3rd 2015
Pages: 409
Format: eBook
Source: Library Book
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She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would send her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she saw only one—because it was all she really wanted to see…

Current 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.
1940s, England. As Hitler wages an unprecedented war against London’s civilian population, one million children are evacuated to foster homes in the rural countryside. But even as fifteen-year-old Emmy Downtree and her much younger sister Julia find refuge in a charming Cotswold cottage, Emmy’s burning ambition to return to the city and apprentice with a fashion designer pits her against Julia’s profound need for her sister’s presence. Acting at cross purposes just as the Luftwaffe rains down its terrible destruction, the sisters are cruelly separated, and their lives are transformed…

You may already know that my favorite genre is Christian Historical Fiction but did you know that my truly favorite stories to read are their own little sub-genre of a Christian Historical Fiction/Contemporary mix? Like that of Susan Meissner and Elizabeth Musser. Nothing grabs me in more than stories that bring you in and out of the historical context to a modern day to truly bring the characters alive and off the page. The Shape of Mercy and The Girl in the Glass are two such novels that I have read and enjoyed in recent years from Susan Meissner. Thus when I discovered that the New American Library from Penguin Random House was now publishing some new stories for her I had to look them up.

Lately, I have been on an Edwardian kick and reading many early 20th century setting novels. When I was browsing through my to-reads list I noticed a few titles from Susan Meissner that I haven’t read yet. At a glance, I was thinking Secrets of a Charmed Life was in key with my current reading. Well I was wrong and skipped ahead a few decades to the era of World War II and the London Blitz rather than the first world war, but I was so immersed and captivated from page to page that I just couldn’t stop reading. I couldn’t let myself put it down to move back into the 1920s rather than the 1940s.

Secrets of a Charmed Life takes place both in modern day with a history major, Kendra, coming to interview a woman well into her dotage that survived and lived through the time of the London Blitz. I have to confess that I still state that The Shape of Mercy is one of my favorite reads of all time. Emmaline Downtree, Isabel MacFarland, Julia Waverly, Kendra Van Zant all prove to be intriguing characters and strong female leads in this story. The personalities are so strong and I find that I would feel so blessed to know any of these people.

Secrets of a Charmed Life Review

It is easy to say that this novel would make an excellent film. Beautiful, gut-wrenching, and captivating. If you are familiar with Atonement by Ian McEwan, you might like this story of two sisters and their experience in the children’s evacuations, London Blitz, and the aftermath with their family, friends, dreams, and day-to-day life.

View all my reviews

The Shape of Mercy Review by Creative Madness MamaPin friendly! White Picket Fences Review from the Creative Madness MamaThe Girl in the Glass Review by the Creative Madness Mama


About Susan Meissner

Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist. She is the award-winning author of Secrets of a Charmed Life, A Fall of Marigolds, and many other novels. She lives with her husband near San Diego.

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.