A lively read about a muse to a famous author that reveals a lot about hard work and frustration as well as desire and envy. Jack London is well known. Charmian London inspired him, boxed with him, and typed his words. The author has done her research and the historical details of 1915 California ring true, and are seamlessly contained in a story that is about the complex relationship between Jack and Charmian London, and Charmian's affair with her "magic man" Houdini and her unusual friendship with his wife, Bessie. I really enjoyed seeing the famous author (including quotes from his different novels) and the magician (including some of his extraordinary magic) through the eyes of a third player, essential to the mix. The writing is clear and pacy so I never felt bogged down in historical detail and I really enjoyed meeting this 1915 world through Charmian London's eyes. Recommended.
This is without a doubt the best book I’ve read this year and in fact for many years! It is absolutely marvellous! The author cleverly weaves fact and fiction together with real skill and craftsmanship. Her language is superb. Jack London was a great writer and so is Rebecca Rosenberg. I can’t wait to read more of her work! If you are considering buying this book then all I can say is, ‘Buy it, read it and you are bound to enjoy it!.’
Charmian is married to novelist Jack London. It's 1915 and the war is keeping the Americans occupied. Jack needs Charmian to organize his life. She's the one who types his articles, speeches and stories and makes sure he writes enough words to make his deadlines. Jack isn't an easy man to live with. He asks for complete devotion, but does what he wants. He's unpredictable, can't manage his finances very well and doesn't take care of himself in the way he should. There are always other women in his life too. Charmian can stand her ground though. She's a classy woman and she certainly has her own admirers. She craves Jack's love, but he only seems willing to give himself to her completely when there's someone to compete with.
While Jack's behavior is getting more erratic Charmian struggles with her loyalty. Will she go for her own happiness or will she do what her husband asks of her? Will she bend to Jack's will or are there dreams of her own she should chase? Jack's health is declining and his need to earn more money is increasing. How will Charmian juggle this large number of problems? Fortunately her good friend Harry Houdini keeps cheering her up. His dangerous profession, cryptical letters and flattering attention are a welcome distraction, but will her conscience be able to handle this second large personality in her life?
The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an intriguing story. I loved Charmian's intelligence and resilience. She's a beautiful woman inside and out. Jack is a charismatic man, but he's difficult to live with. Charmian can handle him as far as he can be handled. Their marriage is tumultuous, filled with power struggles and laced with intellect. There's love and resentment, there's grief and anger, but there are also happy moments. Charmian is a remarkable woman and she catches the eye of many men. One of them is the escape artist Harry Houdini. Harry loves her in a completely different way, but he isn't a free man. Charmian's conscience is constantly being tested and I couldn't wait to find out if she'd follow her heart or not.
Rebecca Rosenberg has a fantastic spellbinding writing style. I absolutely loved her subject matter. I like fiction about real people. I enjoyed reading about the facade of glamour, the parties, the mornings after and the glorious holidays that always have to come to an end. Charmian has to work hard to make sure her husband delivers his books and articles, so they can pay for all of Jack's personal and business projects. Without her there wouldn't be a successful Jack London. Their marriage is twisted and tangled and because of it there are so many complex contradictions in their story, which was absolutely fascinating. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a dynamic, entertaining and compelling book. I highly recommend this gorgeous novel.