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As Bright as Heaven

Written by: Susan Meissner
Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
3 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

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Publisher's Summary

From the acclaimed author of A Bridge Across the Ocean and The Last Year of the War 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 Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters - Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa - a chance at a better life.  

But just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than 12,000 victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amid the tragedy and challenges, they learn what they cannot live without - and what they are willing to do about it.

As Bright as Heaven is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

©2018 Susan Meissner (P)2018 Penguin Audio

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-05-18

As Bright as Heaven

Being an avid reader, it takes an exceptional author for me to say" wow, I didn't see that coming ! " 3 times I was surprised by the twist and turns of the story. Most of the time I can anticipate a story line or ending way before it happens. I will definitely be on the lookout for more of Susan's books. Narrating Complimented the story, very well done!!!!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Hello Alysha
  • 18-04-18

Spanish Flu and Community

Any additional comments?

Susan Meisner doesn’t disappoint! This was so interesting...and I found myself thinking what would I have done in that situation?!?! It is jarring and fascinating how epidemics impact community and this is a fascinating story of one family and its impact on them.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Emily
  • 13-06-18

Good story, but slow start

I enjoyed this book overall, the characters were interesting, the historical perspective on the Spanish flu is fascinating, and the writing was great. Still, the story started out really slow and there was a moment when I thought I was just going to quit listening to it. But I’m glad that I kept on because the story ended up getting a lot better about 1/3 of the way through and I was riveted until the end after that.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Ngareffa
  • 25-09-18

Amazing Story. Great Readers.

I absolutely loved this book. I obsessively listened to it in my car, at the gym and on my Alexa. Wonderful characters that I won’t forget anytime in the near future. The Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 is told through the voices of the Bright girls-young Willa, Maggie and Evie- older sisters whose compassion propel the story through war and illness and death. It is their hopeful voices that cause you to care about them and the outcome of their stories.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Noelle Vernoy
  • 07-02-19

Love the narration of this

I didn’t want it to end. So good. Well read. Great story of hardship and triumph.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jamie L McHenry
  • 21-11-18

The voices annoyed me

I could not get past the narrator's voices... They spoke very slowly and this just wasn't the kind of book I enjoy. It's a very touching book at times but not my thing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • swambold
  • 12-03-20

Compelling Story

The narration is marvelous. The story is engaging as are the characters. I especially liked the father, Thomas.

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  • Natasha
  • 31-12-19

Great story but annoyed by character voice

I loved the story but was so greatly annoyed by the narrator's voice for Maggie. Too crisp and slow in her enunciation to the point that I thought I might skip all of her chapters but would then not be able to follow the plot. Beware if you are one who finds certain voices annoying.

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  • RueRue
  • 01-11-19

Excellent !

I enjoyed this much more than I expected. The author did a wonderful job of placing the listener / reader in 1918 and the horrific Spanish flu epidemic. Initially I didn't like the switches between characters, but that became more important to the story as it progressed. And I did feel that some later developments in the plot were very predictable and too coincidental. Overall, though, a really good story. All of the narrators were great, too.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 17-10-19

Wow! Hard to wrap your head around such a book!

Some how I just could not wrap my head around a undertaker life and the children’s involvement in it. To think of a child putting make up and doing the hair of her own mother and 2 others?? Just hard very very hard. Usually I give no spoilers however people need to understand this story while good and so informative as I for one knew nothing of it. It is very hard . The subject is as well. Tho at the end I really found I learn more then I was put off by. Narrator did an excellent job.

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  • jhan
  • 25-05-18

A lovely story

Which of us hasn't wondered what happens to a body after the funeral director take it. This book begins in 1918, the war is still raging, the flu is yet to strike the world but it is getting ready to and three young girls and their parents are embarking on a new life in Philadelphia where the father is to work in a funeral parlor. The story progresses smoothly, and is read in parts by the girls as they grapple with life. It's not a long book and it's very thoughtful, almost unforgettable.