Monday, February 26, 2018

The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg - #review

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.



Why is it that the more talented a person becomes in one facet of life, the less attention s/he pays to the other parts?  For instance, Jack London.  Ever heard of The Call of the Wild?  When scads of people wanted to enjoy his fame and the status that came from knowing him, he tended to let his personal/family life slide.

It happened when he left his first wife for Charmian, and in due time it happened to her as well.

I've always said that historical fiction about real people makes history come alive, and this is quite evident in Mrs. London.  Granted, these are only possible or probable ways that events actually happened.  When you're reading Jack London in public school, they don't go into the personal lives of the authors.  It's too bad, really, because it would help put the famous works in some context.

For instance, I never knew that Charmian was instrumental in taking Jack's abstract ideas and polishing them up into the writing that people so admired.  I never knew that Jack and Harry Houdini were contemporaries.  *ahem* And I certainly never knew that Mrs. London knew Houdini a little bit (excuse me while I wipe away this sarcasm) better than her husband. ;)

Both were so wrapped up in the writing and the social aspects of being a well-known author, that they started to neglect each other.  They didn't really 'talk to each other' much, or rather that they talked about everything else but their relationship until it was too late.  And then Jack passed on at the early age of 40 and Charmian was left to 'keep up the legacy'.

I love reading about strong female characters at any point in history and Ms. Rosenberg's works are a great source for such material.


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.

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.

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.


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

1 comment:

  1. I love Jack London's writing, but had never really considered the man himself or the people who helped with his books. This story of Charmian looks fascinating!

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits