Apr 1, 2015

Secrets Of Charmed Life.

secrets of charmed life.
susan meissner.

Publisher NAL
Publication Date:February 3,2015
Genre:Historical Fiction.
 Source: Library | Goodreads.


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, one million 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…


WOW. Breathtaking, heartbreaking yet captivating novel. I have read historical, World War II stories before but nothing like this. Secrets Of Charmed Life was one of those heartbreaking stories about the war, yet you can’t help but keep on reading because you find yourself invested in Emmy & Julia story. The way that Kendra was when she started telling the story. It was so beautifully written, and the descriptions, the history and the character’s emotions. I could imagine it, feel everything that was happening in the book. I could even imagine the fear that everyone felt, when the bombing had started. Secrets Of Charmed Life was probably one of the most emotional books that I have read this year, so far. There were lot emotions that I found myself going through while I was reading this book. Top of it, I felt like I learned more about the history of Blitz while I read this book and even after I set book down, I found myself thinking about it afterwards. I believe that this novel will be one of books that will stay with me, for years to come.

Emmy was one of those characters that I had mixed feelings about, at least in the beginning. To me, Emmy seemed a bit selfish in a start, I got that feeling that only thing she cared about, besides her sister, is her wedding dresses, well making them into a reality. I can see why Julia was afraid of losing her. I will say one thing about Emmy; she was pretty passionate about what she does, about making it her future. Emmy didn’t know that she would end up putting her and Julia in danger, but then nobody did. But Emmy risked running away from her foster family in order to meet someone who was interested in her design. First of all, that takes a lot of courage to do what she did. It means that it was something that she really saw herself doing in the future. I don’t think that I would be able to do what she did. I would want stay where it was safe, though she had no way knowing that bombing would happen that same day. I loved following her journey, in attempt of find her sister, then her new life, as Isabel. I could tell that she truly cared for Julia, she went so long, even changing her name, her age so she can go and look for her. That’s real love.

The War. The bombing. The description of what was happening in London, while it was happening was so vivid. Despite it was something that had happened years earlier, to me it felt like it was still happening, still going on. How could I not? I felt; saw everything through Emmy’s eyes. I felt all the terror that everyone was feeling at that time. I don’t know how they did, how they went through something horrible like what they did. If it were me, I would been more freaked out that they were, I don’t think that I would be able to handle it. I loved fact that Emmy/Isabel told her story to Kendra, I think that I was as taken aback by story like Kendra was, I’m sure it turned out be not what she expected. Neither was I. One of best historical fiction that I read this year. There isn’t a single page in this novel that won’t have you edge of your seat.

A thrilling, heartbreaking ride. Secrets Of Charmed Life in unforgettable book that will have you thinking about it afterwards. A novel you wish you picked up earlier. You won’t want to put it down. Beautifully written from start to end.


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