Author: Susan Meissner
Narrator: Kim Bubbs
Published: March 2017, Penguin Audio
Length: 10 hours 32 minutes
Source: Personal copy via Audible
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.
My thoughts: This is the first book I've read by Susan Meissner and I'm so glad it was selected as one of the She Reads 'Books of Spring' selections. Those gals always know how to pick such great reads and this one was no exception!
I loved the way this story was told - it had a little bit of everything! Not only was there a good mystery to be solved, but there was also the added use of the paranormal element that just amped up the story. And the historical element just rounded it all out. I'm a sucker for anything to do with war brides - I just eat these stories up for some reason - so of course, I loved this element of the story! But the way Susan Meissner takes these different elements - the present day story, the ghost story - or drifters as she calls them - and the past is just magical!
This story is complex and full of wonderful characters. As the book moves around - back and forth between the time periods and the characters - most times you tend to gravitate to one character or time period more than the other. That was not the case here...I loved each and every part of this book equally. Every time the book switched to another character or time period, I wanted to stay where we had just been, but was also glad to catch up with that other character. I found myself completely invested in this book, wanting to know as much as I could about all the characters, caring deeply about them all and wanting them all to find their happiness - because ultimately, that's what they were all after.
I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading more by Susan Meissner. I also plan on looking into more books about not only war brides but about the RMS Queen Mary - I had no idea that it carried war brides over to America, nor that it was rumored to be haunted! I love when a book leaves me wanting to read more about something, don't you?
Audio thoughts: Kim Bubbs is a new-to-me narrator and I thought she did a great job with this audio book. She gave each of the characters unique voices and made listening to this book an enjoyable experience.
A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner is one of the She Reads "Books of Spring" reading selection picks.
Head over to the She Reads website to read reviews and related posts of this book, as well as posts related to the other "Books of Spring" selections.