A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN by Susan Meissner


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★½


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women past and present in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life .

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy.

Now the two women are joining hundreds of other European war brides aboard the renowned RMS Queen Mary to cross the Atlantic and be reunited with their American husbands. Their new lives in the United States brightly beckon until their tightly-held secrets are laid bare in their shared stateroom. When the voyage ends at New York Harbor, only one of them will disembark…

Present day. Facing a crossroads in her own life, Brette Caslake visits the famously haunted Queen Mary at the request of an old friend. What she finds will set her on a course to solve a seventy-year-old tragedy that will draw her into the heartaches and triumphs of the courageous war brides and will ultimately lead her to reconsider what she has to sacrifice to achieve her own deepest longings.


Wonderful book! A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a lovely blending of ghost story, historical fiction, mystery, and women’s fiction. The story is told from differing points of view in multiple time periods, mainly during WWII, just after WWII ends, and also present day. It may feel a bit disjointed at first, but I promise the book quickly finds a nice flow and all the pieces come together for an amazing ending.

The majestic ship, the RMS Queen Mary, has served many purposes since its maiden voyage in 1936, one being a vessel to transport thousands of European war brides across the Atlantic to their new husbands in America. In February 1946, two of those brides are Simone Deveraux from France, and Annaliese Lange from Germany. The war years were horrific for both of them, and both women are looking forward to a new beginning in the US. Unfortunately, fate has other plans…

In present day, Brette Caslake is struggling with her special, yet burdensome, gift of being able to see and communicate with ghosts. She’s spent years trying to ignore them, but her experiences during a visit to the Queen Mary has made Brette rethink her position on restless spirits.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is a unique take on WWII historical fiction. I enjoyed the compelling characters, the paranormal elements, and the multi-layered mystery. Susan Meissner writes beautifully, and I’m looking forward to checking out more of her work.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

EDDIE: THE LOST YOUTH OF EDGAR ALLAN POE by Scott Gustafson

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Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Source: Purchased
Rating: ★★★★


When young Eddie is falsely accused of destroying the Judge’s chicken coop, his adopted parents give him two days to find the true culprit. Guided by logic, but entranced by the poetry of the paranormal, Eddie seeks to solve the mystery, along the way meeting Captain Mephisto, a darkly unusual magician. With help from his Raven and the prodding of a mischievous imp, McCobber, it is no wonder that Eddie grows up to become a master of the macabre.

Scott Gustafson crafts a finely wrought portrait that is both humorous and touching. Coupled with his stunning gothic illustrations, EDDIE is sure to win fans young and old.


My son got this book for Christmas, but I had to read it first – because Poe! EDDIE is a mystery geared toward middle grade readers, and it gives a glimpse into what Edgar Allan Poe’s childhood might have been like, and how experiences in his youth influenced the stories and poems he wrote as an adult.

How did a neighbor’s prize rooster and a cat end up inside Eddie’s pillow case, and stuck on the roof? Eddie’s harsh stepfather Mr. Allan only gives him a day to prove his innocence. With the help of his pet raven and a mischievous imp, Eddie sets out to solve the mystery.

This book is a good introduction to Poe for young readers. The author Scott Gustafson also illustrated the book, and the detailed drawings are amazing. IMO, nothing too scary. A fun, quick read, worthy of the keeper shelf.

PLATINUM DOLL by Anne Girard

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Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★¾


Set against the dazzling backdrop of Golden Age Hollywood, novelist Anne Girard tells the enchanting story of Jean Harlow, one of the most iconic stars in the history of film.

It’s the Roaring Twenties and seventeen-year-old Harlean Carpenter McGrew has run off to Beverly Hills. She’s chasing a dream—to escape her small, Midwestern life and see her name in lights.

In California, Harlean has everything a girl could want—a rich husband, glamorous parties, socialite friends—except an outlet for her talent. But everything changes when a dare pushes her to embrace her true ambition—to be an actress on the silver screen. With her timeless beauty and striking shade of platinum-blond hair, Harlean becomes Jean Harlow. And as she’s thrust into the limelight, Jean learns that this new world of opportunity comes with its own set of burdens. Torn between her family and her passion to perform, Jean is forced to confront the difficult truth—that fame comes at a price, if only she’s willing to pay it.

Amid a glittering cast of ingenues and Hollywood titans—Clara Bow, Clark Gable, Laurel and Hardy, Howard Hughes—Platinum Doll introduces us to the star who would shine brighter than them all.


PLATINUM DOLL is a novel based on actress Jean Harlow’s rise to fame during the Golden Age of Hollywood. In the late 1920s, she goes to California as a teenage bride from the Midwest. The book follows her turbulent marriage to Chuck McGrew, and the struggles she had with her ruthless mother who pushed and pushed an acting career, not always having her best interest at heart.

I enjoy reading about this era, and this book presents an intriguing and well-researched “slice of life” of a promising Golden Age starlet. I liked the author’s portrayal of Jean Harlow – part blonde bombshell, part book nerd – though I wish she would’ve had more of a backbone when it came to her mother. It was fun watching the clips referenced in the book, especially the Laurel & Hardy short “Double Whoopee.” The pacing was slow in spots, but overall it was a “swell” read, as Jean would say.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.