Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Secret Life of Mrs. London

The Secret Life of Mrs. LondonThe Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a Jack London aficionado, so I couldn’t wait to read this book. I loved getting in between the sheets with Charmian London and her adventuresome husband. But, I hated that the time with them was in the last couple of years of his incredible life when a self-indulgent, excessive lifestyle was taking its toll. He began drinking as a teen when he was an oyster pirate in Oakland California. He hopped freights for a while and ran with a very rough crowd. By the time he was 40, the dreadful effects of alcoholism and chain smoking were evident.
 Charmian describes him lovingly, but can’t help sharing the hurt and disappoint she felt as he became more and more difficult as his health failed. Still, theirs was a special relationship. She was an incredibly capable and intelligent woman, who adored his brilliant mind. He famously said that, “I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.” He got his wish. Whether he died from an over dose of morphine, as this account claims, or of uremic poisoning, his course was set for an early death. I am relying on the author’s research and authenticity of detail in this well-written historical novel. It is one that made me smile, but saddened me at the same time. For all his foibles, I still love Jack, the Sailor on Horseback, who took us on many a wild ride. I have been to his Beauty Ranch many times, and will go there again to pay my respects. In the meantime, I will read Our Hawai’i written by Charmian London describing a happier time in both of their lives. Linda Ballou author of Wai-nani: A Voice from Old Hawaii

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