Monday, December 8, 2014

Secrets of a Charmed Life: a story of choices and survival

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner is the story of one woman’s journey through WWII in England as her life is torn apart by the London Blitz. The description on the back of the book says it all: “She stood at a crossroads, half-aware that her choice would find her down a path from which there could be no turning back. But instead of two choices, she only saw one- because it was all she really wanted to see…”

The story opens with Kendra Van Zant, an American college student studying abroad at Oxford, is on her way to interview Isabel MacFarland, a survivor of the London Blitz and who has refused interviews until now. Kendra arrives on the day of Mrs. MacFarland’s 93rd birthday party. As they settle down for the interview, Mrs. MacFarland opens her story with she is not Isabel and she’s not 93. The story then turns to London in 1941, as Emmy Downtree, 15 years old and her seven year old sister, Julia, are admiring dresses in the window of a bridal shop. Soon, Emmy and her sister are sent to the country as the children are evacuated from London. Even though Emmy enjoys her stay in the country with her foster family, she foolishly heads back to London. Her world would be torn apart on September 7, 1940 as the London Blitz begins. Emmy is separated from her mom and sister. We know that she survives the Blitz but will she find her sister and how does she change her name is Isabel?

I received a copy of this book through Goodreads as a part of their book giveaway. Since I have read a couple of books by Ms. Meissner before, I was anxious to read this one. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. I loved the detailed about wartime England, the descriptions of the London Blitz were terrifying and the reader will get a sense of what it was like to be in London at the time. I loved reading how Emmy becomes Isabel and how she rebuilds her life after the war. I highly recommend this book.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner
Will be available February 3, 2015
On Amazon for the Kindle $7.99 and paperback for $15
As well as other booksellers