Secrets of a Charmed Life (Paperback)

By Susan Meissner

Berkley Books, 9780451419927, 416pp.

Publication Date: February 3, 2015

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Description

The author of A Bridge Across the Ocean journeys from the present day to World War II England, as two sisters are separated by the chaos of wartime...
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, hundreds of thousands of 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...


About the Author

Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist. She is the award-winning author of A Bridge Across the Ocean, Secrets of a Charmed Life, A Fall of Marigolds, and Stars Over Sunset Boulevard, among other novels.


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. What did you enjoy most about Secrets of a Charmed Life? What do you think will stay with you?generic viagra price canada
  2. Would you describe the novel as a story about sisters or a story about mothers and daughters?generic viagra price canada
  3. Discuss the secrets that the characters keep from one another. What fact does Annie hide from her daughters? What do Emmy and Julia not tell the men they eventually marry? What does Charlotte keep to herself, and when does she finally reveal the truth? Can you think of even more secrets in the novel?generic viagra price canada
  4. How is this book different from other books you've read about World War Two?generic viagra price canada
  5. Describing Emmy, Susan Meissner writes in the novel, "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 . . ." Has there ever been a time when you couldn't see the other choices open to you?generic viagra price canada
  6. Later in her life Julia writes in her journal: "Fear does not start to fade until you take the step that you think you can't." Do you agree? What is Julia afraid of when she writes this?generic viagra price canada
  7. How similar or dissimilar are Emmy and her mother? Does Emmy have an accurate view of the kind of person her mother is?generic viagra price canada
  8. Isabel tells Kendra that there are no secrets to a charmed life. There is only the task of forgiving ourselves for being able to make only our own choices, and no one else's. What do you think she means by this?generic viagra price canada
  9. What do the sketches of brides' dresses represent to Emmy?generic viagra price canada
  10. What are Emmy's reasons for choosing to remain Isabel throughout her adult life? Would you have done the same?generic viagra price canada
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  12. On one level, the novel is about losing something very precious. What's the most precious thing you've ever lost? What were the consequences?generic viagra price canada
  13. Have you ever lived through a time of war, or of social chaos? It might have been a major life-threatening event, or merely an unsettling situation. Would you like to share your experience? How does it compare to what Emmy and Julia go through?generic viagra price canada
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