Monday, December 31, 2018

What I personally have been reading over the holidays - an adult bookwrap

Drum roll please...  Unwrapping a fascinating and gripping  tale about Harry Houdini's love triangle with American novelist Jack London's wife. 

It was such a wonderful read that instead of one snare drum playing it needs a whole orchestra to introduce it.  

The Secret Life of Mrs. London
by Rebecca Rosenaberg

* Paperback - 348 pages
* Publisher - Lake Union Publishing
* Pub. Date - January 30, 2018
* Language - English
* Nominated for Best First Novel by the Center for Fiction

Editorial Reviews

“An impressively original and exceptionally well-crafted novel by an author who is a master of character- and narrative-driven storytelling, Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an inherently riveting and thoroughly reader-engaging story from beginning to end and feature[es] many an unexpected plot twist and turn.” —Midwest Book Review

The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmian London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after they put it down.” —Malena Watrous, author of If You Follow Me and Sparked!, and director of the Stanford Continuing Studies Program in Novel Writing

The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel

“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry

My take

I love historical novels.  You are not only entertained but you learn so much about that particular time period.  The setting starts out in San Francisco, 1915, just as the world is descending into war.  

Charmain and her novelist husband Jack London are a very co-dependent couple.  Their marriage is full of passion, politics of the time, rival talents and trying to keep trust and faith in each other.  Charmain, an author in her own right, is fundamental in recording Jack's brilliant thoughts and ideas and editing the work that he presents to her.  She does however feel rather cheated because she yearns to be recognized as an equal partner in his endeavours...  but alas, she discovers that it is all about Jack. 

 Charmain encounters the legendary and handsome escape artist Harry Houdini at one of his magic shows.  He too is experiencing difficulty in his own complicated marriage.  Charmain sees the attention that Harry is showering on her as an opportunity to explore greener pastures via a relationship and perhaps then she will experience the kind of love and compassion she has been longing for.  She finds herself torn between two very powerful icons of the time and somehow she must decide what is best for her as she moves forward with her life.  In doing so will she lose everything and end up brokenhearted and alone? 

This book is very well written and 90% based on fact.  Once I started reading it I couldn't stop.  I love how the author portrayed Houdini and how romantic he was towards Charmain, always a gentleman and very caring. He was unlike her husband whose top priority it seems was .... Jack.  This two-tiered love story will remain in your heart long after the last page has been read and the book has been closed.  I highly recommend this book. 

Storywraps Rating:  5+++ HUGS!!!!!

Main characters of the book 

 Jack London and Charmain

Harry Houdini and his wife Beatrice. (Bessie) 

Meet the talented author

California native Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where she and her husband founded the largest lavender product company in America. A long-time student of Jack London’s work and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian, Rosenberg is a graduate of the Stanford Writing Certificate Program. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her first novel, following her non-fiction, LAVENDER FIELDS OF AMERICA.

Rebecca Rosenberg's next historical novel is GOLD DIGGER, the indomitable Baby Doe Tabor and CHAMPAGNE WIDOWS, the brave French widows, Veuve Clicquot and Lily Bolinger who wrestled with war, laws, and customs and to make champagne the world-wide drink it is today. 

Rebecca would love to see your review of her novel on AMAZON. "Reviews are so insightful to other readers and crucial to a novel's success!  Amazon has 231 reviews.  

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