Advance Galley Reviews
This book made me a Meissner fan. I wish I had gotten to know more about each of the ladies, but I can admit I understand why there wasn't as much info. I disliked the men in Brette's life though.
I loved the mystery of Brette's ability and what she needed to do. I also loved the clear delineation between each section of the story. So there was no confusion.
I enjoyed the book for the most part. The story was interesting and and I like the intersecting of the past and future. I also enjoyed learning about the war brides. However, I would've liked to know the characters better. They all (Simone, Phoebe, Annaliese, and Brette) were likable and sympathetic, but while they felt like they had depth, I don't feel like I had the opportunity to go deep with any of them. Overall though, it is a fun and quick read.
I can truly say 'WOW". This is the first time I've read a novel by Susan Meissner and I am impressed and speechless. To be honest, while I was reading the first pages of this novel, I was lost. I was expecting more of a well detailed life of the two war bride and I cannot see how the life of Brett be connected to them. As I read more and more, I cannot stop reading. The more I read the more i became curious. In this book you cannot always assume what is coming next. There was always a mystery unfolding. The big revelation was truly unexpected. The author truly captivation human experience and in my own opinion she did not quite well. I am truly thankful that I had a chance to read this novel. I have read numerous book before this and this is one of those book worth remembering. First to read just added a new author for me to follow.
I loved Susan Meissner's Secrets of a Charmed Life and was so excited to get a chance to read this one before its release. I was not disappointed. Meissner has proven to be one of the best voices in historical fiction in today's literary world. Her characters are vibrant and full of life, and the alternating points of view give the reader a real grasp of the full story. I loved the supernatural take on this WWII story. I feel like I have read so many WWII and Holocaust books, so this was a refreshing spin on an otherwise heavy subject. Love the feeling of hope it left me with after finishing. Thanks, First to Read, for providing me with an advance copy!
A young woman who has a "gift" for seeing ghosts is pressed to solve a child's angst over her deceased mother. What is uncovered is a post WWII cover-up by two women who outran abusive Nazi husbands and soldiers. Who is the ghost on the now retired Queen Mary? I found the plot line of the the family surrounding and supporting the gifted young woman to be a bit unbelievable. How many family members of yours would just accept that you could see or sense ghosts? I read this in one sitting and was entertained, but you need to be able to buy into the whole paranormal aspect. My thanks to the author and the Penguin First to Read program for a complimentary copy.
I enjoyed this book, a second foray for me into the world that Susan Meissner creates for her readers. I enjoyed the historical aspects of this tale more than the alternate modern day line. I felt that the two were hurriedly connected at the end. The story follows Annaliese, a German woman who is fleeing from her abusive Nazi husband and Simone, a French woman who lost those closest to her when the Gestapo killed her father and brother for their ties to the Resistance. Both women are traveling on the RMS Queen Mary from Britain to America to be reunited along with their American Servicemen husbands, but not all is what it seems. The story also has a paranormal aspect that I could have done without even though I love a good ghost story. I didn't have a problem with the ghosts themselves that supposedly inhabit the ship, but I did not like Brette Cask and and her Sight and lack of gumption or personal reflection on what the gift is and how to deal with it. All in all a good read and I will definitely read other works by Meissner.
This book could easily have been 4 stars but I felt like I was mislead by the publisher. No where in the description are ghosts and communicating with ghosts mentioned yet this was an integral part of the story. Why not? Why do people hide main plot lines when trying to get people interested in reading a book? All that does is keep people that might be interested in the book from knowing about it and upsetting those who aren't interested in the topic finding out they are now reading a different book than the one they were lead to believe they were reading. I thought I was reading a book about war brides crossing the Atlantic after World War II and there being some mystery to be solved decades later. Instead I basically go a ghost story tieing two time periods today. Thankfully Ms. Meissner is a good writer and her writing kept me from just putting the book aside.
I was fascinated by this book. I read it in one sitting, needing to know how these women interconnected and how the story would all play out.
I loved the glimpses into each of their lives, Anastasia and Simone both living during World War II. And then we have a present day story line that is ghostly and mysterious that eventually connects with these other two women. It was a quick but very satisfying read for me and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction and those who love a good ghost story as well.
I thought that this would have more historical fiction. It was well written but I did not connect with the characters.
I love reading about World War II. And this is the first I have read about the war brides. I enjoyed the characters from the past thoroughly. Brette was immature and was so easily swayed by a long lost cousin, it actually threw me off. I enjoyed her character up to that point. The ending with a ghost that was a ship seemed a little too out there, but overall I would recommend this book to friends
I loved the paranormal aspect of this novel and how the threee women's paths cross. A little difficult at first, however, once the reader gets into it, it sailed along! The characters and the plot were finely crafted and I was not disappointed in this novel as a whole. Loved this novel!
"Life will send us across a bridge we did not want to cross, but when we finally open our eyes on the other side, we see that there had been nothing to fear after all."
This book follows the life stories of three women until they all cross paths on the RMS Queen Mary. Two of the stories start during the war, and other story is set in present day following Brette who is trying to solve a mystery about ladies from the past who have sailed abroad as war brides aboard the RMS Queen Mary.
The story as a whole has enough twists and turns with tons of suspense when the main character starts communicating with ghosts of the past from the ship to keep you enthralled. I would definitely recommend this book if you are into suspenseful reads or science fiction novels, would not recommend this for people who read primarily historical fiction.
Historical fiction is my favorite genre but I had a little bit of a hard time getting into this book. There were a lot of story lines and characters that it was difficult to follow at first. About half way through the story lines started to intertwine and it got better. It was an easy read and I enjoyed it but it wasn't my favorite and I didn't find the story or the characters enthralling.
Unfortunately, it was a struggle for me to get started with "A Bridge Across The Ocean"; however, once I got past that point, it picked up pretty quickly! I loved the stories of the women. The author brought them to life so vividly! And, I loved the paranormal aspect of the novel! Thank you Susan Meissner and First To Read for the advanced copy of this book!
I love historical fiction novels, especially those set in World War II (see last week’s Little Library). I’ve read about many different aspects of the war, and it always thrills me to learn about a new topic. A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner, focused on war brides crossing over to America – something I’ve never read about before. I was thrilled to receive an ARC of this book so that I could dive into the lives of the women who crossed on the RMS Queen Mary.
The book follows the separate stories of three women until they all converge on the RMS Queen Mary. Two of the stories start during the war, and one is in present day. The characters from the 1940’s are fascinating. One is the reluctant wife of a Nazi who she is running from, and the other is the daughter of a member of the French Resistance. The women meet up aboard the ship on their way to America. The events that unfold for the women in this story had me enthralled.
In the present day, Brette is trying to solve a mystery aboard the RMS Queen Mary. This mystery is linked to the ladies who sailed to America as war brides. This seemed like the perfect plot device to me, until the main character started communicating with ghosts. I don’t know what it is about ghost stories, but I just can’t connect with them. Vampires I can do. Magicians? Bring them on. But ghost stories…..that is where I pump the brakes.
I feel awful because I really did enjoy the writing and the mystery. I loved finding out what actually happened aboard the ship, and the ending genuinely surprised me. The ghost element just didn’t do it for me. Had I realized it was a theme of the story, I would have passed on reading the novel. That being said, there are MILLIONS of people who do love ghost stories. If that is you – then you will love this book.
My only problem with this book was that I constantly wanted *more* of the stories. Essentially, we have three women (American, German and French) and we hear the most about the American in current times who was the least interesting to me. I wanted more of the history and could have done without the paranormal aspects of the American (which I didn't expect and was confused by in context of the book). But overall, really enjoyed the characterizations and learning a bit of history on the way.
I enjoyed the book, just was a slow start. It took a minute or two to figure out the jumping from one lady to the others. Once I got into the story, I didn't want to put in down. Was kinda disappointed at the ending. Glad to hear that Annalise was safe and had lived a full life, but wanted some closure when she sent the letter to Brette. A god read overall.
I really like this author so was very excited to read her newest book. And I wasn't disappointed. This was a very good book. I liked the characters and the plot. I like how the author had very different plot lines going and then brought it all together in the end. My only complaint is that it's not as good as her earlier book "Secrets of a Charmed Life" which I loved. But regardless this was one that I would and have recommended to friends.
Wow, this book was amazing! I started and finished it in just one day because it was so captivating. It is exactly the type of book I love to read. I will definitely be following this author and reading her other works.
There is so much history, heart, emotion, mystery, and twists within these pages. I kept trying to guess at the end and nothing could have prepared me for the full closure. Amazing! The symbolism expressed through the title and through the real identity of the ghost on the ship is remarkable.
Although I sometimes struggle to keep track of the different characters expressed throughout time and space, I loved how they all came together and began to truly piece the story into one large picture.
It is a constant reminded of the pains of war. Sometimes I focus on one or two aspects of war - World War II more about the camps and casualties. I forget to realize the effect it has on the everyday lives of civilians who lived through it. This gave new perspectives on what some women had to face and struggle through.
I really appreciated the storyline of the woman with the gift of Sight. It was treated with dignity and showed her struggles with being different. I have always been a lover of tv shows like "Ghost Whisperer" so I was fascinated by a new approach of the Sight being dangerous on the individual and therefore something the family tries to hide and suppress. Yet I loved how everything was resolved in the end.
I will definitely recommend this to everyone. I would love to discuss this in book club - especially withy the readers guide at the end.
"Life will send us across a bridge we did not want to cross, but when we finally open our eyes on the other side, we see that there had been nothing to fear after all."
There were parts of this book that had my eyes rollin' and seemed a tad farfetched, but what do I know about the world that lingers between life and death? Do I believe in ghosts? Well, yes! I do. If you're going to enjoy this book, it might help if you have an imagination and can believe, at least a smidgen, in the unbelievable. That said, there are two stories told and, like many authors, Meissner tells this one in past and present. When I indulge in books with this format, I seem to favor the stories from the past. Historical fiction is my thing though, so that may be an obvious choice. Meissner's book begins on the Queen Mary. In fact, it is the Queen Mary that intertwines Meissner's past and present stories. And, like always, I found myself captivated by the past, which involves three very different women who cross paths as war brides headed to the United States aboard the Queen Mary, a luxurious ship that was refitted during WWII to escort soldiers and passengers safely across the Atlantic. After being converted during the war, the ship's new grey color earned her the nickname the "Grey Ghost". Queen Mary had been the crowning glory of the Cunard-White Star Line. (Just to give you an idea, it was bigger and faster than the Titanic !) In 1967, the massive ship was permanently docked in Long Beach, California, her days of transatlantic crossings over. The great ship then became a hotel. It is believed that the Queen Mary is one of the most haunted places in the U.S. Meissner was obviously influenced by this and creates an interesting story of what-ifs. The ship plays a prominent role here and I googled the heck out of the Queen Mary because of it. Getting back to the story, the three women that board the boat are headed for New York, to an uncertain future. Two of the women are escaping the horrors of war and a past that can only be described as brutal. Fast forward to present-day America and the reader meets Brette, a woman who connects with the lost souls of another world, a world few can see. Brette struggles with her unique abilities and does her best to disconnect from the "Drifters" that appear to her. However, some spirits are harder to ignore and Brette must decide between letting go or embracing the powers that be. I liked present-day Brette. But, I didn't connect with her. She was such a whiner. I mean, c'mon lady. An incredible ability has been bestowed upon you and all you can do is act like it's cancer. School mates ostracized her because she could see dead people? Maybe they treated her creepy because Brette was so depressing to be around. Seriously. And then her parents refuse to discuss this precious gift? Well, that's why I was rolling my eyes. I don't have conversations with entities. I used to have a horrible, menacing, something UNEXPLAINABLE in my former home (that's a whole other story AND we have since moved from that dark location), but it didn't define me. I just feel like the characters were forced to make mountains out of mole hills. It was hard to sympathize with Brette and her family. I'm sure it's not very convenient to be accosted by drifters from the netherworld. I can't imagine sharing a shower with Beetlejuice or Casper on a regular basis, but I wouldn't think it would ruin my life or that my parents wouldn't support my visions. I just don't understand why Meissner felt like this was such a taboo topic, especially given today's standards of normal. Long story short, I guess I had a hard time dealing with things I found unbelievable. Then again, wasn't that a portion of Meissner's message? Here's the deal, while I found portions of this story a little over-the-top, the majority of this story overrides the bad. When the story centers around the three women of the past, it makes up for all the time this reader spent in the present. Also, I enjoyed Meissner's writing style. She can definitely tell a story. I wrestled with the rating. Three stars, three and a half, or four? Ultimately, I decided upon four stars. When I first started reading this book I was instantly drawn in. After putting the book down, I would think about the story. The Queen Mary was a fascinating subject. Loved the historical aspects of this book. I know I'm hooked when I'm googling the subject matter I'm reading about. If I wasn't reading this book, I was thinking about the next opportunity to get back to my Kindle. Lastly, I searched for the author's next book, a sure sign that my reading experience went well. For that, I think it's fair to say, FOUR STARS.
*Many thanks to Penguin's First to Read program for a DRC of this book. Opinions are my own.
This book is very well written and immediately draws you into the story. As the author switches from past to present with different intersecting storylines, it is done so well that it makes the tale more compelling. I loved the characters and truly enjoyed the book!
I didn't really like this one as much as I thought I would. I like the concept but it feels incomplete. I felt connected to Simone and Annaliese but not at all to Brette. I feel like there should have been something after the letter. It doesn't feel like there were any final decisions made.
Others seemed to like it though, but I guess it's just not my taste.
I enjoy historical fiction books but I will admit, this book was okay. Seemed liked the author was trying to cover too many genres...women, WW II, the treatment of Jews, the Resistance, ghosts, Queen Mary....and she does cover them but all rather thinly. Others seem to enjoy the book so if you are curious about A Bridge Across The Ocean...maybe read their more positive reviews. 5/10 from me.
I received an advance copy of this book from Penguin's First To Read program. I was pleasantly surprised by the paranormal elements in this book. The ability to see ghosts added to the historical details, multiple character viewpoints, and touches of mystery all blended together into an enjoyable read. This book captivated me from start to finish!
I enjoyed the book. The overall theme was motherhood and friendship. I liked that there was more than one story in the past. Then to add someone that can see ghosts in today's world really expanded the story.
This book completely took me by surprise from the very beginning. Upon first reading the description, I thought it was just going to be another historical fiction novel, which I enjoy reading that genre. However, it quickly proved to be so much more. Yes, it's full of historical places and parts of the perspectives take place in historical time periods/events, but the present day character can communicate with drifters. Yep!! Throw in a touch of paranormal and a few mysteries and I was completely hooked right away.
As I mentioned, the book is told in several different perspectives. There were quite a few storylines to keep up with. However, the author did a great job of making each character unique and easily distiguishable. I had no problem keeping the various stories straight or switching from past to present. I loved seeing how each of the main characters slowly started to weave their stories into one.
It definitely made the book intriguing and often kept me anxious to continue reading.
I loved the historical aspects. Having the characters from World War 2 come from various opposing backgrounds was rather brilliant. The obstacles and challenges they had to face during the war as well as reuniting with their spouses as war brides was interesting to read about. I loved the setting on the RMS Queen Mary and enjoyed reading how all of the women made a connection because of their experiences and hardships.
I'm a huge paranormal fan so was super excited and a bit stunned when the book started out that way. The present day main character can communicate with drifters - those who are lingering in between worlds after their passing due to various reasons. I throughly enjoyed every bit of her story. It was refreshing to see her struggling with her special sight and watching how it effected her personal relationships. It seemed to make the character very believable and easy to relate with. It also was a great way to connect the different time periods and throw in a bit of a good mystery too.
I definitely didn't want this story to come to an end, but at the same time I was anxious to see how everything was connected. This is the second novel that I've read from this author. Several years ago, I read Why the Sky Is Blue. It was another 5 star read and a story that I still think about often. I really enjoy her writing style and look forward to reading some of her other books!! I've already added quite a few to my reading list.
I really liked this book, even the paranormal story line. I have always liked when authors alternate their character's stories and you learn about each in bits and pieces leading up to the climax. I love historical fiction (especially WWII) and this book did not disappoint. The women's stories were engaging, both past and present.
Not my favorite Susan Meissner but still a good read. I didn't connect with the characters, and it seemed to take longer than usual to get the story going. I also had a little trouble with the concept of Drifters. I did, however, like the notion of the Queen Mary and the way Meissner presents it. To say more would spoil the ending.
P.S. Thanks to FirsttoRead.com for the advance reader copy.
This was another enjoyable read by Susan Meissner! This is my fourth book by her and I am a fan for life. One of the things I love most about her books is how she builds an intriguing, engaging story around a real event, place, and/or time period. In A Bridge Across the Ocean, World War 2 is over and we learn about the Queen Mary and how it transported war brides to America to meet their husbands. This story is a multi-layered, historical mystery that spans from the 1940's to the present day where we get to know 3 characters: Simone, Annaliese, and Brette.
We first meet Simone in 1944 in Venelles, France. She lives with her father and brother, who are a part of the resistance, until life takes a tragic turn and she finds herself on the run. Thanks to the kindness of others she finds safety and hope that she will be able to rebuild her life again.
In 1946, we meet Annaliese in England. As a child she saw Swan Lake and from that moment on she wanted nothing more than to become a dancer. But all of that is in the past. Now nothing is more important to her than escaping her past and boarding a ship that will transport hundreds of war brides sailing to America to meet their husbands.
Brette lives in the present day and has the sight, a.k.a. she sees the paranormal, which she refers to as the drifters because they float in and out. As a child her Aunt Helen advised her to ignore the sight because it only caused heartache for the women in her family who had it. She heeds her aunt's advice for years, with just a couple of exceptions, until an old friend needs her help and she can no longer ignore it.
I love how Susan Meissner intertwines the lives of these 3 women, alternating the chapters between them to tell their story. There were a few surprise twists along the way which is always enjoyable.
I was immediately drawn to the main charsher Brette, however really struggled to understand that there were multiple characters during the beginning of the book. Once I caught on, I could not put the book down. I was disappointed that the ship was the ghost. This didn't make much sense to me. I will definitely look into reading more books by this author.
Wow. Actually, W.O.W. What an extraordinarily beautiful story. What I love about Ms. Meissner's books is how she intricately weaves past with present. A Bridge Across the Ocean is full of richly authentic characters, each of whom I was drawn to with either a strong love or disdain. And to me, the hallmark of a work of historical fiction is that it leaves you with a desire to learn more about the 'real' people who endured what was so richly portrayed in the book.
Thank you for the advance read opportunity!
The author's technique in writing multiple story lines kept me so intrigued that I wished each story had its own book. Even more appealing was how each story line eventually connected and intertwined with each other flawlessly. There is no confusion between the story lines but at the same time, nothing is 'expected' or predictable. If there were individual books on each character, those books would definitely belong on my next-to-read list. This is the first I have read from Susan Meissner, but it definitely won't be the last.
The historical references and background give the book and characters a life that readers could romanticize and imagine actually occurring. Although being a historical fiction with touches of the afterlife / talk of spirits and sights, there are things about the book that put the reader right there with the characters.
I enjoyed this one. The historical timelines are heartbreaking and written pretty well (alternate POVs). It did take longer for me to fully appreciate the contemporary story, especially since it did not flow as effortlessly as the WWII arc, but it pulls in the reader eventually too. There's a supernatural element and the ending did surprise me. If you like historical women's novels, this book might be up your alley.
Penguin First to Read Galley
I have been reading a lot of historical fiction lately and A Bridge Across The Ocean is by far the best that I have read. All I wanted to do was read this book. My Kindle went everywhere with me. Several times I thought I had the 'mystery' solved only to find out that I did not. I truly love stories that give an idea about what it might have been like for other countries during WWII. It was nice that this book was wtitten about France and Belgium. My father served in the army and landed on the beaches of Normandy. I will definitely recommend this wonderful book and others written by Susan Meissner to all of my book reading friends and relatives.
This is the first book of Susan Meissner that I have read. Historical fiction is a genre that I enjoy to ready, I'm not sure if this falls squarely in that category. That being said, I did enjoy the book and was drawn into the mystery of the woman on the Queen Mary. There were times when I thought I had the mystery solved, but was happy to discover that I was wrong. I was slightly disappointed that there was not more of a direct connection between the present and the past, but I did enjoy the stories told of the woman and their lives. I did find it interesting to have a story center solely on the woman of WWII and the impact on their lives. After reading this book I will definitely be looking into reading more from Susan Meissner.
Definitely a very enjoyable read! I will get past my main frustration first- there were two distinct stories in the novel and the author did not (in my opinion) do a satisfactory job of uniting them at the end. Since I had been expecting some great, artful connection, I felt disappointed when the two narratives finally converged.
That being said, both of the distinct narratives were fascinating and artfully crafted.The writing was average, but the stories that Meissner created were enthralling. It is difficult to say more without giving away too many spoilers, but this is a novel that lovers of history and magical realism will enjoy.
I don't think I would classify this as historical fiction. It is mostly paranormal fiction with a small mention of storming the beaches at Normandy. I think that the story is lacking in critical historical research that could bring the time period and Queen Mary to life for readers. I'm sorry to say I found this story to be too flat for my taste.
It is a wonderful experience to have what feels like a personal relationship with the characters in the book I am reading. From beginning to what I think is a perfect end, everything in this story becomes alive and blends together so well....the past, the present ,the story line, and the interesting personalities.
This book has great stories to tell of four women and their lives. It was interesting to be reminded of the history around the RMS Queen Mary and the ways she had been used.
I appreciated the idea of the ship having a soul and truly believe that wood and steel may be able to absorb some of the many emotions of its many travelers, especially during and after the War. The supernatural seemed an ideal way to connect all the stores from the past and present.
Susan Meissner did a great job with this book! I think I have read some of her others, but I will certainly be on the outlook for her in the future.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and just a good read.
I have read all of Susan Meissner's books and loved them all. This one was no different! It was amazing from the start. I loved the characters and each of their stories. I also enjoyed the paranormal aspects of the book. Great read!!
This was a lovely well written mystery and ghost story. I liked how Meissner used the theme of the war brides as the main theme of the story. I don't want to say anymore because I don't want to spoil the story for anyone.
I loved this book. I don't want to spoil the mystery by saying too much, but this is a story that really draws you in and keeps you guessing. It does require some suspension of disbelief, as paranormal and supernatural elements are pretty integral to the plot, but if you enjoy books with mystery and you like ghost stories, this is definitely one to pick up. The multiple viewpoints takes a bit of getting used to at the start, and it was a little hard to follow when it kept jumping around in the beginning, but stick with it. This is a wonderful, moving story that I would highly recommend.