As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

As Bright as Heaven

From the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life and A Bridge Across the Ocean comes a new novel set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.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 B...

Details As Bright as Heaven

TitleAs Bright as Heaven
Release DateFeb 6th, 2018
PublisherBerkley Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Reviews As Bright as Heaven

  • Melisa
    Susan Meissner’s writing is like a warm hug or a slow dance or a good wine. It just flows seamlessly and gets you into your soul. Personally, I have a tendency to romanticize the past - historical fiction holds such a dear place in my heart, I love that I can be entertained by fiction while being educated about a period of time. But definitely, not all of it is romantic. And in As Bright As Heaven, Susan Meissner has given a voice to so many wh...
  • Angela M
    1918, a family after a tragic loss, moves from Quakertown to Philadelphia when the childless uncle invites the father of this family to work with him as an undertaker and become heir to his business and home. Philadelphia is a place where Thomas Bright thought he could give a better life to his wife and three daughters. They move into the funeral home so how could this book not be about death, given the business ? But death appears in ways that c...
  • Jen
    The Great War. The Spanish flu. A year that took more than just soldiers in 1918.This one took me by the heart and squeezed it until I lost my breath and then slowly released it. Such heartache in a family who have experienced the pain of losing a baby. The Bright family moves to Philadelphia in the process of healing and starting a new life by taking over an uncle's funeral business. Death hovers over them on a daily basis until the Spanish flu ...
  • Dorie
    I had previously read “A Bridge Across The Ocean” by Ms. Meissner and I was anxious to read this new novel. Wow, it is one of the best books that I have read this year!!! The prose is beautiful and flowing and amongst all of the heartache and physical and emotional difficulties the human spirit shines brightly!The setting is Philadelphia around 1917 and on. The Bright family, husband Thomas, wife Pauline and their three daughters have just mo...
  • Diane S ☔
    1918, Philadelphia, a city with many opportunities, a city that the Bright family, Pauline, Thomas and their three daughters move to for just that purpose. Thomas's elderly, childless uncle wants them to live in his large house, and for Thomas to train and takeover his mortuary business. Leaving Quakertown behind, this is what the family looks forward to, a new and better life, especially after the tragedy of a terrific loss.I fell in love with t...
  • Karen
    I just loved this family, the Bright’s. This book begins in 1918 during the Great War and the Spanish flu epidemic, when this family of five, the parents and three daughter’s moves from Quakertown to Philadelphia. The father’s uncle gives him the job of undertaker to his funeral home and heir to his estate.The chapters are told in alternating chapters by the woman and girls of the family.From life in the funeral home, the neighbors, the Gre...
  • Marialyce
    5 oh my gosh I loved this story starsSometimes a story just comes together and as you unwrap its layers, you find yourself more and more in love with what was written. This was the case with this reader. Susan Meissner told this story with love and a devotion to show us what the ravages of a world war and a deadly disease, that of the Spanish influenza did to families. The loss of life from both of these tragedies was staggering and no one came a...
  • Lori
    Perfection! I absolutely adored this novel. I have never read anything about the Spanish Flu and was astounded at the number of people & families it affected. Meissners writing is flawless. She draws you in with her remarkable characters and storytelling. This is a novel not to be missed! 5+ stars.
  • Andrea
    5 GLORIOUS stars (and 5 random thoughts):1. My first ARC! Thank you to the publisher for providing my with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 2. Apparently, 100 years ago, fifty-million people worldwide perished from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, the deadliest disease in history and I had NO idea. As the backdrop for this novel, I was enthralled. 3. The story follows the alternating perspectives of a wife and her 3 resilient daug...
  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    From a small town in Pennsylvania as a family rolling tobacco leaves for a living to Philadelphia as a family living and working in a funeral home.The Brights made a big change from their quiet life in Quakertown to the noisy, big city of Philadelphia. Both the city and the job Thomas Bright had were quite different from what they were used to.The girls had to leave their friends and make new ones, but most folks weren't interested in being frien...
  • Cindy Burnett
    Sue Meissner’s books just get better and better with each new one; every time I pick up her latest book I hope that it will be as good as her last ones, and instead I end up liking the newest one the most. Very few authors can sustain that level of excellence; it is quite an impressive feat. As Bright as Heaven is simply fantastic: Meissner’s tale is fascinating, heartbreaking and an all-around beautifully written book. Moreover, her characte...
  • Brandice
    I really enjoyed As Bright as Heaven, a historical fiction story set in Philadelphia from 1918 through the mid-1920s. The story revolves around the Bright family: parents, Thomas and Pauline, and their three daughters, Evie, Maggie, and Willa. There are plenty of additional characters in the story, but it’s primarily told through the daughters’ POVs. Thomas is an undertaker, working in business with his uncle Fred at their funeral home, and b...
  • Lisa Wingate
    One of the loveliest benefits of author life is being given the opportunity to peruse upcoming books before they make their way to the rest of the world. When an early copy of Bright as Heaven came my way (still in a plain white wrapper, no gorgeous cover yet), I couldn't wait to crack open the pages. Rich in historical detail, Bright as Heaven is a vivid journey into an almost unimaginable time. Pauline, Evelyn, Maggie and Willa face loss, trans...
  • Kaila
    Home isn’t a place where everything stays the same; it’s a place where you are safe and loved despite nothing staying the same. Change always happens. Always. As Bright as Heaven is a beautiful story about love, loss, and the surprising strength that can be found within during the darkest of times.When I think of 1918, what first comes to mind are the soldiers fighting for their lives on the battlefield, not the even deadlier war being fought...
  • Pam Jenoff
    I was lucky enough to have an early read of this wonderful book set in Philadelphia around the outbreak of WWI. It is a unique premise and gloriously written!
  • Hazel Gaynor
    I was very lucky to read an ARC of Susan Meissner's forthcoming novel and it totally swept me away. Beautifully written and vividly imagined, AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN is a mesmerizing portrayal of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, a devastating event in our global history that I haven't read about in such depth before. The author deals with the subject with grace and sensitivity, while drawing the reader into the wonderfully constructed world of her f...
  • Amy
    The Spanish Flu is not something I know very much about and admittedly it’s not something that I’ve ever had a great interest in but Meissner writes such gorgeous prose that I was utterly fascinated by it while reading this. I honestly think she could write about anything and I would be at least mildly engaged but I was completely captivated by the Bright family and their tragic tale.This is told via the perspectives of all of the women in th...
  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
    All the stars!! Full review to follow.
  • Dianne
    They journeyed from the tobacco fields of home to the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia in 1918. The Bright family saw a future, although unknown, with the possibilities of being as bright as their name. Little did they know, with young men going off to join the Great War, and the nightmares of the Spanish flu epidemic, their lives would become a saga of survival, fortitude, heartbreak, loss and finally hope.Three sisters would endure witnessing ...
  • Jeanette
    I read the entire, but the last PART which occurred in 1925 I read far more quickly than the rest. No synopsis in any detailed measure but the short or tall of subject matter with my reaction. It's a heartfelt tale of a family by the separation narrator sections for each female individual's "eyes". Constantly flipping. Three daughters and their Mother. (So 4 different narrator divisions for the basic form.) And most of the tale occurs in 1918-19 ...
  • MaryannC.Book Fiend
    I hope I can do this novel justice as I review it because this was such a touching, heartfelt, amazing book that this is one not to miss. This story begins with the Bright Family, a family living in Quakertown, Pennsylvania in 1918, they are father Thomas, wife, Pauline and their 3 daughters, Evelyn, Maggie and the youngest, Willa. Here the Bright family together make a meager living drying and rolling tobacco leaves to make as cigars but they ar...
  • Kathleen
    Wow, did this book pack a punch. Stunningly written and the story itself was full of the darkest and lightest moments in life. It is a serious tearjerker but it leaves you full of hope. It's told from four POVs, a mother and her three daughters, over the course of several years. Normally alternating POVs are just not my thing, but the writing in this one was done so well I was seamlessly able to transition from character to character without noti...
  • Susan Peterson
    As Bright As Heaven is a beautifully written story about a family...its loves, its heartaches, its passions. It starts with an intriguing premise, as the family lives above a mortuary, and they all become involved in the family business. But there is no morbidity, the story is not maudlin...the focus of this story is on the living, a family who tends to the bereaved families as well as the deceased. The story takes us through WWI and the Spanish ...
  • Sherri Thacker
    This story is about love, family, the Spanish flu .. it’s heartbreaking and sad. The author tells this story like all of her stories so well. It took me awhile to get Into it but I kept going and i ended up really liking it in the end. I liked the 2nd half better than the first half so for that reason, it’s getting 3 stars instead of 4.
  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    Beautifully poignant and beautifully written, As Bright As Heaven deals with one families trials and heartache during during a harsh time in American history. One ripe with a war ending and a deadly disease on the cusp of infecting millions and leaving almost everyone affected by both.Starting in 1918 and spanning the length of 8 years we get to meet the Brights who from the very first chapter are dealing with a loss no family should have to go t...
  • Jennifer
    As Bright as Heaven is a novel about how a family is completely transformed by the 1918 flu epidemic. The book is narrated by the four women in the Bright family: Pauline, mom, who has finally made peace with the sudden passing of her son; Evie, 15; 12 year old Maggie and 6 year old Willa. Meissner brings to life the fear of the time — fear of the epidemic, fear of foreigners, fear of progress. As Philadelphia succumbs to the flu, the Bright fa...
  • Toni
    An average farm family moves to Philadelphia during 1918 to help run an uncle's funeral business. This move is a huge cultural change for the parents as well as their three daughters, but little do they know how much change they and their newly adopted city will endure. The topic of the Spanish Flu during this timeframe, 1917-18, has been almost ignored with little written about such a devastating worldwide event that killed 50 million people. We...
  • Jennifer Vining
    Thank you so much Berkley Publishing for sending me a copy of this book to read and also for inviting me to join the blog tour.This was a beautifully written story that gave me so many emotions. I was immediately drawn in to the Bright family from the first chapter. I loved the way Meissner wove together changing narrative so that you can really get a feel for everything going on from many different viewpoints. My heart broke for this family so m...
  • Lynn
    4.5 stars rounded up. This is a beautifully written book of historical fiction centered around the time of the Spanish Flu outbreak and WWI. The Brights, a farm family with three daughters, move to Philadelphia in 1918 to help their uncle in his mortuary business. When both WWI and the Spanish Flu break out, they find they are overwhelmed by the losses and sacrifices they must deal with. In the midst of their grief, they take in an orphaned baby....