In 1915, San Francisco, amid the climate of philosophical thoughts and creative writing, resides Charmian London and her famed husband, Jack London, author of The Call of the Wild. Charmian edits her husband’s written notes and oral thoughts as he works each day on his latest novel, all the while hoping to be considered an equal partner in his writing since she has put her own writing on hold while helping him, but alas, Jack doesn’t see it that way. Challenged by her desire of love for Jack and her own fame as a writer, she settles for frequent parties with friends who talk politics amid their drinking. One night Mrs. London is pulled from the audience to help with a theater magic show. Charmian finds herself intrigued with this man, the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini. The attention he pays her makes Jack take notice. But Jack seems too reckless in his own concerns about the possibility of war, his own financial pressures, and his book deals to pay too much attention to Charmian. Will Harry Houdini become a stronger force in Charmian’s life or can Mrs. London find her own way?
The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a debut, historical fiction novel for Rebecca Rosenberg. Charmian London was considered to be an aspiring writer, a free spirit, and a fighter for women’s rights. The author developed her characters enough so that the reader would love or hate them as they read. The opening scene about the boxing match between Mr. and Mrs. London was a great beginning. These were two people in love, living very unconventional lives with servants biding their whims while they worried constantly about finances and all the other people they were responsible for and supporting. The different scenes and places the London’s went were described as exciting experiences as with the smells of the flowers, the perfumes, the sweat and tears, and the sounds of ocean waves. Writing in first person takes a special talent, and helped to really immerse the reader into the novel. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an enjoyable read.
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