Having read Susan Meissner’s Stars over Sunset Boulevard, I was eager for her next book, A Bridge Across the Ocean. The pre-reviews gave a glimpse of the contents and I was hooked with a novel that would feature the original Queen Mary since I had sailed on the Queen Mary 2 for an absolutely fabulous transatlantic crossing several years ago (do you think there is an another post there, you bet your life there is!) What I didn’t expect was a story with so many twists and turns, so many characters and so many levels of historical content let alone the various time frames and the paranormal aspect (should have expected that, the Ship is notorious for being haunted) of the story that ties it all together. Would I call it a story about World War II, yes…would I call it a story about war brides coming to America (aboard the Queen Mary), yes….would I call it a mystery, yes…would I call it a story of how women survive during the most unthinkable of events, yes…would I call it a ghost story, absolutely yes (on so many levels and through the years)!
Susan Meissner’s intensive research on all her intertwined stories, yes, we do go back and forth in time, is quite intense and gives us details that we may not have know before, that is, after all, why we read isn’t it, to learn new or in-depth details about a place and places in time. Usually, I don’t enjoy that form of narrative, going back in time to the present and back again, but it most certainly works here. It is engaging, fascinating and leaving you wanting more.
It is a difficult book to review because of its many levels of the stories (it all becomes clear in the end!) but I will give you my opinion on this fascinating, really well-written, novel. I was totally taken by Susan’s writing, she held my interest in each chapter and it wasn’t a stretch to go from the war years to 1946 to the present day and back again. I think using the Queen Mary as a focal character in both eras was genius and not at all contrived. The war brides stories and how they got to the Queen Mary are all told in interesting detail, all having “secrets” that they don’t want revealed, but revealed they are! If you are looking for an uplifting story, perhaps this isn’t for you, but I think you would be missing an excellent narrative of a time we must not forget told in an imaginative well-written book which I feel it is really uplifting in that it deals with very strong women at a time when survival was everything. Get it, read it, discuss it, you won’t be disappointed.
The Queen Mary in her heyday. The war brides traveled on the gray painted ship as it was when it was used as a troop ship. She is now a hotel and the current discussion is should she be maintained…let’s hope so, too many special pieces from the past are destroyed to make way for the new…let’s stop that!
Have you read any of Susan Meissner books, if so which ones and what are your thoughts….do leave comments for me.