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As Bright as Heaven

Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (276 ratings)

Regular price: $31.50

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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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!!!!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Love the narration of this

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Historical fiction with a history lesson

This book educated me on the Spanish Flu. I ended up googling it to learn more. What a terrible time in history-I am surprised we didn't learn more about it. It was difficult reading this during cold/flu season and being sick myself-none-the-less i did like this book and enjoyed the characters.

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I found another good author!

This is a very long book, but the storyline never faulters! Ms Harmon tied up all the loose ends very nicely! I really enjoyed this book!!!

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A period of time forgotten

The era of the story has so many directions the author could have gone but her selection is amazing! The characters lives are as real as you can imagine! The pain ,love and events are palatable. It was a joy to listen to the story unfold. This is a story that could be listened to or read on that Sunday afternoon .

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    4 out of 5 stars
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interesting but predictable

I really enjoyed the orienting. but I found that the ending of the book was very predictable, early on in the second half of the story.

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  • Jo W.
  • NC United States
  • 01-15-19

Death, etc.

After the first half or so of this book, I was sad all over and found myself hoping the next chapter would get happy! The story line picked up a bit, but in the end, well, it just ended. So, would I recommend it? Maybe. It’s well written, well performed. Just read at your own risk and do not expect to become elated or uplifted in spirit. It is in fact about sickness and death and how it affects the lives of the characters.

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  • jhan
  • 05-25-18

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.