Ahh Susan Meissner, you've done it again! One of my automatic buy authors returns with a fabulous historical fiction novel set amidst the Spanish flu pandemic of 2018-2019. We follow the Bright family as they navigate their new city of Philadelphia, where the patriarch has taken a job with his uncle, owner of a funeral parlor. This was back in the beginning of the shift from caring for the deceased at home vs. having them embalmed and viewed at a funeral home. Fascinating as this topic was unto itself, there is also the widespread panic and loss of lives from the flu, where no one is spared no matter what socioeconomic class you were from. I loved the Bright family, and along with getting to know them, we are treated to topics such as first love, men being called up to serve in the war, fostering an orphan child, speakeasys, mental health asylums, and the ever present tragedies of death. Ms. Meissner writes in her usual masterful style, and her characters and places leap off the page. Despite a small hitch with a too coincidental part of the plot, there was nothing else I would want from this book.
A definite read, especially for those looking for some historical perspective to the greatest pandemic (greater than the Bubonic plague for loss of life), which occurred a century ago. Another wonderfully written story of a family you will want to get to know.