BY REBECCA ROSENBERG
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Lake Union Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 348 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
San Francisco, 1915. As America teeters on the brink of world war, Charmian and her husband, famed novelist Jack London, wrestle with genius and desire, politics and marital competitiveness. Charmian longs to be viewed as an equal partner who put her own career on hold to support her husband, but Jack doesn’t see it that way…until Charmian is pulled from the audience during a magic show by escape artist Harry Houdini, a man enmeshed in his own complicated marriage. Suddenly, charmed by the attention Houdini pays her and entranced by his sexual magnetism, Charmian’s eyes open to a world of possibilities that could be her escape.
As Charmian grapples with her urge to explore the forbidden, Jack’s increasingly reckless behavior threatens her dedication. Now torn between two of history’s most mysterious and charismatic figures, she must find the courage to forge her own path, even as she fears the loss of everything she holds dear.
AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND
Praise for The Secret Life of Mrs. London
“An impressively original and exceptionally well-crafted novel by an author who is a master of character- and narrative-driven storytelling, Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London is an inherently riveting and thoroughly reader-engaging story from beginning to end and feature[es] many an unexpected plot twist and turn.” —Midwest Book Review
“Interesting, and based on the actual lives of the participants…Learning more about Jack London was enjoyable, as well as seeing early feminist examples.” —Historical Novel Society
“…Rosenberg paints an immensely intriguing portrait of a marriage and tells it in an accomplished lyrical prose that captures each moment with poetic intensity.” —Prairies Book Review
“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmian London, both fascinating and complicated characters with rich inner lives that Rosenberg conveys in crisp yet poetic prose. This contemporary historical fiction raises questions that are still relevant today about what makes a good marriage, and whether creativity and stability are incompatible. A rich, resonant, deeply satisfying novel sure to delight and leave readers thinking long after they put it down.” —Malena Watrous, author of If You Follow Me and Sparked!, and director of the Stanford Continuing Studies Program in Novel Writing
Charmian London sacrificed much to marry the man she was passionately in love with, the legend, Jack London. After years of serving as his muse, typist, editor and nurse, Charmian wants the romance back. Instead, Jack is often distant and manipulative. When the London's take in a show performed by Harry Houdini, Charmian is chosen to go up on stage with Harry for an illusion. Charmian is taken by his charisma, demeanor and physique. As the London's and Houdini's form a friendship, Charmian finds her passion again. However, she struggles with still needing Jack's approval and a conundrum of befriending Houdini's eccentric wife, Bessie.
I love reading books about the lives of historical figures that give insight into their personal lives and The Secret Life of Mrs. London did just that. While the story is fictionalized, the events and settings are all based on the London's life. Through the writing I could envision the vastness of Glen Ellen ranch and the apartment Charmian rented in New York. Charmian's character had an excitement for life, a zeal for love and dedication to writing. While I have read many of Jack London's classics, I had never thought about his wife or known she was an author herself. Reading about Charmian's input into Jack's works, I have a new appreciation and insight into the books knowing that it was Charmian who reworked many passages and described scenes. Charmian's emotions were that force that created suspense and drama throughout the story and I could easily sympathize with the complexity of her feelings. I was intrigued by her relationship with Houdini, especially since Houdini was really the springboard to discovering who Charmian was without Jack. At one point Charmian says"Jack cuts to the bone of things, and I feel shallow." This is a perfect metaphor for her life with Jack. Alluring, magical and moving, The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a stirring historical fiction read.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review
Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.
For more information, please visit Rebecca’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Goodreads. Visit the Facebook page for The Secret Life of Mrs. London.