As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

Setting: Philadelphia, PA
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Author: Susan Meissner
Release Date: February 6, 2018

I loved this book. As Bright as Heaven is not my usual genre, but I was drawn to the cover art and plot. I'm so glad I picked it.

With an offer to learn his uncle's trade and work side by side with him in a funeral home, Thomas Bright talks his wife into moving from their rural community to the bustling city of Philadelphia. After the death of their infant son, the family is ready for a change.

Thomas and Pauline pack up their daughters and make the move. It's a big change for teenage Evie, pre-teen Maggie, and young Willa. Things go well at first. Evie is busy learning all she can as she dreams of going to med school. Maggie is fascinated by the work her mom is doing to prepare the deceased's hair and make-up. Willa is busy making friends and trying to figure out why she's not allowed in the "Elm Bonning" room.

It isn't long before trouble arises. The Spanish Influenza is claiming so many victims around the world and in their Philadelphia neighborhood. It brings an infant into their lives. The boy's mother is dead and police cannot find another living relative. The Brights are asked to raise this child as their own. Through suffering and grief, an infant may be exactly what this family needs.

I hated history class. That said, I never knew that we'd faced a major outbreak like the Spanish Influenza. I learned a lot reading up on that true aspect of the story.

I loved the characters and enjoyed spending almost a decade with them. This wasn't just a quick few years. You see the girls grow up and find their way in the world. There are some romantic aspects, but the focus is on the world they're growing up in.

Read As Bright as Heaven. I keep hearing about it on some of the book groups. It's definitely worth the praise.


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