As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner-#Review–4 stars

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Don’t Miss This Heart Wrenching & Moving Story by Susan Meissner.

As Bright As Heaven Releases 2/6/18!


As Bright As Heaven is a compelling and beautifully written novel about grief, love, and surviving loss. This story takes place during the Spanish influenza epidemic in the city of Philadelphia. Susan Meissner brings the reader deep into the hearts and minds of the Bright family, focusing mainly on Pauline Bright, and her three daughters, Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa.

Pauline Bright was devastated after, Henry, her infant son, died. Life for the entire Bright family was never the same after losing Henry. How could it be? Pauline, however, felt death around her, like a constant companion. It never seemed to stray from her for any length of time. Pauline didn’t mind though; she wanted to understand more about this darkness that clung to her. When Pauline saw an opportunity to work with the deceased, making them as beautiful as possible before burial, she seized it. But, no matter how much the Bright family tried to heal after little Henry’s death; it was a wound that would never completely close.

During the influenza epidemic, schools, churches, and businesses all around the city closed. Dead bodies were being left outside the Bright’s funeral parlor. It didn’t matter that the funeral home was full and couldn’t accommodate any more bodies, people left them, anyway. Fear, grief, and sorrow can drive people to do things that normally, they would never, ever think of doing. It can also make them believe the lies that they told themselves, and to others, until the truth is exposed, breaking their denial.

The Great War changed people but so did the influenza epidemic. The Spanish flu swept in and devastated entire families; the same way war does. And although people’s anguish and grief were hidden, their pain and suffering was just as real and devastating as war’s tragedies and gaping wounds. Desperation and fear can drive people to make poor decisions; unfortunately, some that they’ll regret for the rest of their lives. God has a way, though, of turning even the ugliest mistakes into something beautiful. If only people could remember that during their difficult times.

Although I found the book to be slow at times, the premise, elegant writing, and emotional depth kept me captivated and turning the pages. As Bright As Heaven is a quality read. Recommended.

Thank you, Berkley Publishing and BookishFirst, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~ Review by Peg Glover

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Bio (from Author’s Page on Amazon)

I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t driven to write. I attribute this passion to a creative God and to parents who love books and more particularly to a dad who majored in English and passed on a passion for writing.

I was born in 1961 in San Diego, California, and am the second of three daughters. I spent my very average childhood in just two houses. I attended Point Loma College in San Diego, majoring in education, but I would have been smarter to major in English with a concentration in writing. The advice I give now to anyone wondering what to major in is follow your heart and choose a vocation you are already in love with.

I’m happy and humbled to say that I’ve had 17 books published in the last dozen years, including The Shape of Mercy, which was named one of the 100 Best Books in 2008 by Publishers Weekly, and the ECPA’s Fiction Book of the Year, a Carol Award winner, and a RITA finalist. I teach at writers’ conferences from time to time and I’ve a background in community journalism.

I’m also a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults. When I’m not at work on a new novel, I write small group curriculum for my San Diego church. Visit me at my website: http// on Twitter at @SusanMeissner or at




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