Another Spanish flu epidemic of 1918? Seriously hope not!

Just a year ago, February 19, 2019, I authored the following book review that was published on our local social club website. If you’re looking for a read that is interesting and encouraging, you may want to consider this novel. Hope you enjoy this review!

As Bright as Heaven, by Susan Meissner, is a historical fiction novel that takes place in 1918. During this time in history, a great influenza epidemic struck the entire world, and in America alone approximately 675,000 people perished from this devastating illness known as the Spanish Flu. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was one of the cities hit the hardest, and more than 12,000 of its citizens died in a short period of time. The novel’s central characters are the Bright family, parents Thomas and Pauline, and their three daughters ranging in age 6 to 15. The story, while sounding like a depressing read, is one that focuses on survival during tragedy and loss and portrays the tenacity of the human spirit. The writer beautifully sheds light on an era we hear little or nothing about. The following quote from this novel says it all:

“Change always happens… We adjust to it. Somehow we figure out a way. We straighten what we can or learn how to like something a little crooked. That’s how it is. Something breaks, you fix it as best you can. There’s always a way to make something better, even if it means sweeping up the broken pieces and starting all over. That’s how we keep moving, keep breathing, keep opening our eyes every morning, even when the only thing we know for sure is that we’re still alive.” 

◄ Deuteronomy 31:6 ►. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD your God, he it is that does go with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you.


  1. Brenda

    Thanks Char. Kents Grandpa Earl was in the army in 1918 and he was kept stateside to help with all the sick and dying flu victims. I haven’t been out and about since church last Sunday. I am looking forward to helping with the music this morning so we can do our service via livestream for all who can’t be there. It will be good to not feel so isolated for a little while today! God Bless you and keep you and Jerry well and safe during these scary times.

  2. Peggy Ellis

    My Granny Mayme (born 1899) was born and raised in the Ozark mountains. When the Spanish Flu happened, she and my grandpa were recently married and were in the middle of moving to St. Louis because there was no work in the Ozarks unless you were a dirt farmer (they were dirt poor, but didn’t want to farm – 11 kids in both sides of their families – no more dirt to farm). They were in St. Louis for 2 weeks (living in a barn of a distant relative) when my Granny came down with the flu, she had a high fever and all the other physical ailments that flu brings. She was slight, very strong, and had beautiful waist length red hair. The doctor told my grandpa that they needed to cut off her hair or she was going to die, it was making her too hot. Now, her hair was her pride and joy so she told the doctor “no, I’d rather die than cut it off.” My grandpa waited until Granny was sleeping (family lore said he drugged her) and he cut it off himself. Needless to say, she survived the flu, but she never forgave my grandpa. My sister and I often heard versions of this story while were were growing up, she loved to embellish the details, then finally showed us the wrinkled brown paper bag with about two feet of matted golden-red hair. Neither of us had red hair, I think she was a little disappointed in that, but she loved us any way.

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