Friday, February 2, 2018

Book Review and Giveaway - The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

Book Synopsis
San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.

As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.

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My Review
The Secret Life of Mrs. London tells the story of freethinking Charmian London, the wife of author Jack London.  She wanted more than the conventional life women had in the 1910's.  She wanted to be a supportive wife, but also longed to be a writer in her own right.  Her life changed when she met Bess and Harry Houdini.  She became friends with Bess and became involved with Harry.  This novel tells the story of these complex people and their lives.

I was intrigued by The Secret Life of Mrs. London from first mention.  I love historical fiction, and am particularly interested in novels that focus on the lives of writers.  I will admit that I knew very little about Jack London going into this novel.  I knew the titles of a few of his novels (i.e. The Call of the Wild, White Fang, The Sea Wolf).  I knew a little more about Houdini and his career as a magician.  

These famous men and their wives led very complex lives with a great deal of moral ambiguity.  That said, their lives were fascinating and the interplay between these characters - based on real life people - made for a very interesting read.

Rebecca Rosenberg is a gifted writer, and she does an exceptional job at developing and delineating these characters.  I found The Secret Life of Mrs. London a page turner because I really wanted to know what happened next.

As a fan of historical fiction, I loved the wealth of historical detail in this novel.  I was particularly intrigued by some of the descriptions of Houdini on stage.  I love information on World's Fairs, and was glad to see that the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition figured into this story.

I think that other fans of historical fiction, and anyone interested in the lives of famous authors, will find The Secret Life of Mrs. London a compelling read.


Author Bio
A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.

Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.

For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.


Giveaway
One lucky winner will receive a paperback copy of The Secret Life of Mrs. London.  This giveaway is open to the U.S. and ends on Friday, February 9.  The winner needs to respond to their email notification within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

I received a copy of this book from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

29 comments:

Carol L. said...

Thank you for your review. I love historical fiction. This sounds so fascinating and I look forward to reading it.
Carol Luciano
Lucky4750 at aol dot com

chrissybum said...

Can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

Sandy Klocinski said...

The book sounds awesome!

Abigail Gibson said...

I really enjoy reading historical fiction and this book looks amazing.

Sunnie said...

I like historical fiction also! Pretty cool to live on a lavender farm!

Diane Baum said...

I love this genre, historical fiction

Barbara Lima said...

Interesting. Jack London has always seemed like a jerk to me. I would like to read it.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

This book looks like it could be a great read.

Debbie E said...

I absolutely love historical fiction. The story of Jack London's wife is intriguing.

Deborah Wellenstein said...

I want to read this because I love historical fiction.

Connie Tillman said...

I want to read because I LOVE historical fiction.

Darlene said...

I want to read this for the history of it.

007blond said...

I am also a fan of historical fiction. This sounds very interesting.

Lara N said...

I'm a Harry Houdini fan since I saw the Tony Curtis movie years ago. Looking forward to visiting the Harry Houdini museum in NYC sometime in future.

Birdhouse Books said...

Lara, wow! I didn't know there was a Houdini museum -- I would find that interesting too. - Trish

Melinda said...

I absolutely love historical fiction and a page turner especially! I am one of those people that can't put a book down even if nodding off ..I have to find out what happens, thanks for the chance to read such an intriguing book.

brendaelsner said...

I love historical fiction!!!

Gabrielly said...

I love historical fiction. Can't wait to read it.

Annamarie Voss said...

It sounds similar to The Paris Wife and I loved that book, I also need a good book for Spring.

Annmarie Weeks said...

Ooh...this looks so good! She seems fabulous...a woman out of her time. I love that!

Nancy said...

I enjoy reading well researched and accurate historical fiction with fascinating characters. This books fits the bill!

Nancy
allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

John Dallal said...

I'm a Jack London fan. Count me in! This is a book I'd love to win!

Leela said...

I love reading new books.

Buddy Garrett said...

I love reading historical fiction. These characters sound very interesting.

Laura Lee said...

I would like to read this as I would love to find out what the mother of one of my favorite author's was like.
lauraemerson17 at yahoo dot com

Jana Leah B said...

This is such an interesting time period. I think it would be fun to read.

lkw1974 said...

It sounds interesting! Thank you

Shakeia Rieux said...

I want to read it because it sounds like it's a very interesting book

Richard Brandt said...

I'm a great admirer of all the people mentioned.