The Secret Life of Mrs. London
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.
Coffee and Ink’s Review
This novel details the life and times of Jack London’s wife Charmian, who struggles under the burden of taking care of (i.e. getting him to write) her famous husband and in the shadow of his big personality. His many nicknames for her “Mate-Woman” and “Lady-Boy” seem meant to keep her at a distance, but she knows him so well, he barely notices she is not another limb of his, some accessory hand and brain. “You’re my dictionary.”
Charmian is a woman of depth, heart, and intellect, matching his appetite for adventure in a time when women of the 19th and early 20th century rarely left the home. Charmian is one of the rare ones but she is also caught in the siren call of hearth and home with Jack. I must confess, though, it was her relationship with the Houdini’s that interested me the most.
Who was Jack London’s muse, wife/lover, and Girl Friday? Rebecca Rosenberg looks deeply into the question and gives the reader a more than satisfying answer. Her prose is vivid and immerses the reader in Charmian’s experience. I highly recommend this book J!
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
“The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a heart-wrenching portrait of a marriage between two people who utterly depend on one another, but ultimately aren’t enough for each other. With skillful precision of language, Rosenberg weaves a narrative that defines the complexities of love, passion, and art. This is a perceptive, deeply moving novel by a great new talent about a couple who has gone unnoticed in historical fiction until now. Anyone who has ever loved another person will want to read this book.” —Victoria Kelly, author of Mrs. Houdini: A Novel
“One of Houdini’s best kept secrets was his affair with Charmian London in 1918. Now Rebecca Rosenberg tells the story using an elegant blend of fact and fiction, creating a Houdini book like no other. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a true peek behind the curtain and a page-turner.” —John Cox, Wild about Harry
About the Author
Rebecca Rosenberg receiving the IPPY Gold Medal
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.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, September 2
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Tuesday, September 3
Review at Melissa Reads
Wednesday, September 4
Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Thursday, September 5
Review at 100 Pages a Day
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Review at My Reading Chronicles
Review at Oh the Books She Will Read
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Review at Diana_bibliophile
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Excerpt at I’m All About Books
Friday, September 13
Excerpt at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
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Review at Hooked on Books
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Review at Orange County Readers
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Review at Jathan & Heather
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Review at Red Headed Book Lady
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Review, Q&A, & Excerpt at Nursebookie
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Review at Macsbooks
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Review at A Chick Who Reads
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Review at gatticus_finch
Friday, October 4
Review at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Jathan & Heather
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Review at Reading is My Remedy
Monday, October 7
Review at rebecca.is.reading
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Review at This Biblio Life
Thursday, October 10
Review at Peaceful Pastime
Friday, October 11
Review at Hopewell’s Public Library of Life
Saturday, October 12
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Monday, October 14
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
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