As Bright As Heaven

bookThree sisters move with their parents to Philadelphia from a small and familiar town in Pennsylvania, to live with their father’s uncle, an undertaker. Uncle Fred is widowed without any children and would like to leave the business to the girls’ father, Thomas. So Maggie, Evie and Willa must adjust to life in a big city, accepting their parents’ choice to move as a step toward a better life for their family. After losing their barely 6 month old brother to death, the family is struggling with  grief over the loss. But it is 1918, and the city faces the outbreak of the Spanish flu. Bodies of the dead are piling up in the embalming room, when young Willa is struck down with the disease. Her mom, Pauline, nurses her back to health, but then herself falls ill and dies, another huge loss for the grief-stricken family. But Maggie rescues a baby boy from a house where his mom and sister had died from the flu, and the girls focus on his well-being to keep their grief at bay. This is a touching portrayal of how families in the city of brotherly love coped with the Spanish flu, WWI and prohibition during the years 1918 to 1926, the time frame of the story. The author includes facts about the Spanish Flu, among them the reality that 50 million people had died worldwide, more than the amount of people lost during WWI. Recommended for fans of historical fiction.

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