Review: Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

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☆☆➹⁀☆ 5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆


What It’s About:

World War II England, two sisters are separated by the chaos of wartime …

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, hundreds of thousands of 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…

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My Thoughts:

Masterfully written, I was enthralled by Susan Meissner’s Secrets of a Charmed Life from the start. I couldn’t help but be sucked into this story’s vortex.  The characters, the drama of WWII, and of course, the London Blitz made Secrets of a Charmed Life amazing historical fiction.

While the story conflict occurs during the London Blitz, it is really the drama beforehand and the consequences after the Blitz that tore at my heart.  Secrets of a Charmed Life is about dreams, jealousy, families being torn apart by war, and the struggle to keep going on when all seems lost.

Ms. Meissner has created two unforgettable characters with Emma and Julia.  Their circumstances made them close, so close that one is willing to take a great risk in order to hold on to the other.  In that moment, lives are changed, lives are lost, and dreams are shattered.

The story is filled with rich details that bring the past to life.  The mystery within the story is surprising.  The storytelling is nothing short of amazing.  From “the brides” to the umbrella girls to the inner strength of women, make the message of allowing yourself to be happy all the more meaningful.

“There are no secrets to a charmed life, there is just the simple truth that you must forgive yourself for only being able to make your own choices and no one else’s”.

The audiobook is beautifully narrated by Alana Kerr Collins.


© Copyright 2018 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.


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