Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Review: The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg

The Secret Life of Mrs. London
by Rebecca Rosenberg

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pages: 348
Format: eARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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 sexual 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.

Kritters Thoughts:  Jack London is in the middle of his career and has already been through some interesting personal things and is currently married to a woman who is both a muse and almost a personal assistant as she is helping move his career along.  Charmain London was older than Jack London and really was a big part of the second half of his career and this book focuses on her life.

Going into this book I didn't know much about Jack London - his career or his life.  I loved reading this book through the lens of his wife, Charmain.  It was so intriguing how vital to his career she was enough that it really dwarfed and impacted her own pursuits and how diminished she was standing next to this larger than life character.  I think seeing this story through her the reader was really able to see her true feelings.  

With a bit of spoiler one of the things I enjoyed was that the story went beyond his death.  I was glad that the author didn't end Charmain's story with his death because she had a life after his death and it was interesting to see the parts where she is dealing with his death and trying to decide what she wants to do with herself apart from him.  

I liked this book, but it wasn't one of my favorite historical fiction books.  It was more with the writing and the flow of things that just didn't always work for me.  I was glad to learn about these historical figures and get a peek into their lives, but the arc of the story didn't have the flow that I usually like when reading historical fiction.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Ebook 2020 Challenge: 13 out of 100

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Netgalley.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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