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Shining Through

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  2,249 ratings  ·  142 reviews
It's 1940 and Linda Voss, legal secretary extraordinaire, has a secret. She's head over heels in love with her boss, John Berringer, the pride of the Ivy League. Not that she even has a chance--he'd never take a second look at a German-Jewish girl from Queens who spends her time taking care of her faded beauty of a mother and following bulletins on the war in Europe. For L ...more
ebook, 464 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1988)
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Full Disclosure: This was one of my favorite comfort books (reread regularly) when I was in my early 20s and I thought it was time for a re-read. So, the five stars are because this book has been so loved. It is not a masterpiece, it does feel just a slight bit dated in some of the attitudes but the story is so fabulous. Isaacs knows how to spin a yarn, shape characters and give them distinctive, compelling voices and the story here is fantastic (would I like an extra chapter to see that first T ...more
Compromising Positions was Susan Isaacs' first novel. She's since written many since then. All of them are entertaining. A couple have been made into pretty bad movies. My favorites are Compromising Positions, Close Relations, Almost Paradise, and Shining Through, which is really worth reading. It's interesting and entertaining and contains one of the best opening paragraphs (3 paragraphs to be exact) that I've ever read. I've quoted them below.
In 1940, when I was thirty-one and an old maid, wh
Not a horrible read once I got about 50 or so pages into it, but up until then I was pretty bored. Ultimately I guess I didn't really care that much for the heroine, nor her voice as narrator.

I felt like the book had an identity crisis. At first you just see a fairly smart girl with a hopeless crush, then you wade through a foolish office romance, then you take a deeper look into romantic and familial relationships, then suddenly you're reading an adventure/spy novel, and finally it turns out it
Kate Quinn
Oh, what a book, and oh, what a heroine. There's nobody quite like Linda; a Jewish-German secretary from Queens with a foul mouth, a wry sense of humor, and enough steel in her spine to build a bridge cable. Linda works for movie-star-handsome Wall Street lawyer John, fantasizing about her boss by day and taking care of her alcoholic mother by night, as Hitler rises in Europe. A passionate love affair and an unplanned pregnancy lead to a marriage proposal from John, but this fairy tale doesn't e ...more
What happens when Cinderella gets her prince? More than you'd think, in this wonderful WWII historical novel -- part romance, part spy thriller -- by Susan Isaacs, one of my favorite writers (this is her only historical; her others are contemporary).

Linda Voss is a thirtyish, half-Jewish secretary in a New York law firm, madly in love with her boss, John Berringer, who's married to Nan Leland, the daughter of Edward Leland, a senior partner in the law firm. When Nan leaves John for another man,
If I have to know where my book is all the time I rate it a 5. Because the personality of the main character is quite unique, I didn't know what she was going to do next. I suppose some of the story line is somewhat predictable but I was so entranced in reading the words right in front of me I really didn't speculate the course of what was to come.
I enjoy books set in WWII. For all it's hideous nature, it was a time that found ordinary people thinking about how they could aid the war effort. Esp
Linda Voss is the narrator of her own story as a bilingual (English/German) secretary from Queens in a Wall Street law firm in 1940. At age 31, she considers herself an "old maid" with no regrets for turning down early marriage proposals, but clinging to a fantasy love for her brilliant, elegant, gorgeous (and married) boss, John Berringer -- a secret she shares with nobody, not even her closest friend. John's father-in-law, WWI war hero Edward Leland, is a well-respected member of the firm who ...more
This has been on my wartime reading list for a while, so I decided to tackle it before the year ends. In the past I've enjoyed the wildly popular, often humorous fiction by this author, so I was curious to see how she handled her first foray into historical fiction.

It was the usual quick, entertaining read. My criticism is the timing -- more than half of the book concerns the heroine's affair with her boss in New York. It isn't until WELL into the story that she suddenly, shockingly, (and somewh
Donna Davis
On the whole, I don't read a lot of love stories. I guess I usually find them corny and overly sentimental.

I read Susan Isaacs because she doesn't just write love stories; she writes amazing fiction. Most of her tales are set in the present, but this wonderful little dose of historical fiction was just right for me. It's Isaacs at her best, which means excellent writing.

One of the things I like about her premises (in general) is that she favors either the working class woman, or a woman scorned
The story is narrated by Linda Voss, a sassy and smart secretary from Queens who works for a top Wall Street law firm. She falls madly in love with her boss, John Berringer, and after his divorce, becomes his next conquest. Through John, she meets Ed Leland, a lawyer who also works in counterintelligence. When the U.S. becomes involved in the war, Linda is compelled to do everything she can to help, partly due to the fact that she is half Jewish, so she takes a job as Ed's secretarial translator ...more
This is one of the most boring books I've ever read! The movie, however, is soooo much better and one of my favorites. I saw the movie first and then decided to read the book and I'm glad I did because if I'd read the book first, I probably would have never seen the movie. It was like the director read the book. liked the premise of the book but had to totally rewrite the script to make the movie much more interesting. I highly recommend the movie! The book -- not so much!
I read this book in high school, because I loved the film adaptation starring Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas. I didn't like it then because it is nothing like the film, or so I remembered. I recently rewatched the film (which is awful, but I still love it) and decided to reread the book. I still don't like it, and it's nothing to do with the movie. Everything I want this book to be about happens in the margins of the story. I want to read about Nan and Margerete. If the point of the book i ...more
I picked this up when I read that author Jennifer Weiner rated this as her all-time favorite beach read and it didn't disappoint. Part romance, part spy thriller, and compulsively readable. (Started last night, read until 12:30 am and finished this morning).

It's 1940 and Linda Voss, at 31 an old maid, is working as a secretary for Ivy League international lawyer John Berringer on Wall Street. She's secretly in love with him and their relationship takes a turn when his young wife leaves him. Set
I've read this several times, seen the movie , and have this on tape. The movie is good, but doesn't follow the book. The absolute best book and audio book ever.

You won't believe how good Stockard Channing is as the book's reader for the audio book. She's witty and snappy, just like the main character in the book.

Melanie Griffith was so wrong for the part it was unbelievable. She has a baby voice, which couldn't be further from the author's wishes.
Nazis, spys, trains, romance, suspense. What more need I say? This book was good! And I loved the movie. when they play "I'll be seeing you" and Melanie Griffith sees Michael Douglas with another woman. She didn't act like it didn't bother her, she was just honest and had tears in her eyes. It brings to mind that quote from "Sound of Music" There's nothing more irresistible to a man than a woman who's in love with him. Don't know if it's true, but it ought to be.
This is the Isaacs book that I come back to again and again. I love the heroine Linda Voss; she is spunky and smart and completely real. Her weakness for the godlike John Berringer makes her all the more believable.
A wonderful book. Forgot that I loved it until Jennifer Wiener reminded me. And hubba hubba, Michael Douglas in the movie version is hot, hot, hot!
Maybe I should have put 5 stars. I truly enjoyed this book and snuck all kinds of time to read it.
I really enjoyed this book. It was well paced and interesting throughout. The heroine is not the average gal. You see how she learns and grows as the years go by. Even though I don't normally read spy novels or war novels, this book kept my attention. Some of it was confusing but that was ok. The romantic part of the story was nice too-even though I could tell how it would end up I still was captivated by the how and why of it all.

This was my first reading of this author. I checked on some of h
OK, this is not an intellectual book -- but it's a lot of fun.
Rebecca Kent
I'm not 100% sure if this book is a true 4 stars or whether I've just been reading a lot of very dull books lately, making this one seem better than it is. However, saying that, the book kept me interested, clipped along at a good pace, was entertaining and well written.

The ending disappointed me - not only in the 'tied up with a neat bow' way, because really we all saw it coming..... but in the rushed manner it was executed. The last 6 pages of the book just left me deflated at the twee-ness o

This book was made into a movie. I think it starred Melanie Griffith and Liam Neesom. The story is set in 1940. The main character is a legal secretary. She is in love with her boss who travels in the highest of society. She becomes pregnant and he marries her. Thebeautiful wedding and love she hoped for never come as she realizes she married a dream and not the real man. Despite many obstacles she becomes a person worthy of great love and admiration. Despite her lack of an Ivy League degree she
My third time--LOVE this book!
Patti Schubert
fabulous story! can't put it down.
Watch out 50 Shades of Grey, you could take a few pages from Shining Through . . .

So, I really liked this book, I give it more like a 4.5 star. It had all the elements of my favorite kind of books: a period piece, likable, yet not perfect characters, characters that I love to hate, suspense, surprise and a resolved ending. Wa-la!

Linda Voss is a secretary in a very "Mad Men" like office, and her boss is smoking hot, isn't that every girl's dream? However, Linda actual has a head on her shoulders
Set in the 1940s, this novel shows us the divide in the business world between women's role as secretaries and companions and the men's role as lawyers and thinkers. Women aren't given much credit for an ability to think. The main character, Linda Voss, breaks through that mold, obsessed with the rise of Hitler and making perspicacious conclusions about his impact on Europe and the world. But none of the women want to listen to that (they are more interested in gossip and fashion) and the men wo ...more
I loved the movie and when I found out there was a book I couldn't wait to read it, but this book is nothing like the movie and I was very disappointed with the read which I skipped parts of because of the graphic sexual passages. I also was not married at the time and rejected the descriptions of old maids in the book. I at the time and still do have many older single friends who are nothing like the women described in the book. This book isn't worth reading, rent the movie instead.
I read this book AND listened to an abridged version beautifully read by Stockard Channing way back in the late '80's. I LOVED both!! Have re read many times and sadly loaned out my book on tape and never got it back. I wish they'd reissue it on CD. It's such a fun read and so suspenseful! Maybe it's time to pick it up again. :-) (the movie was horrible, and bared very little resemblance to book, so sad, could have been great!)
Britt Griffith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I found this book years ago because I had seen (and loved) the movie and then found the book. Well, no comparison, the book is a bajillion times better than the movie. I just re-read it for the first time in probably 15 years and it is just as good now as it was then. It is, quite simply, a great book that will appeal to readers looking for a strong female lead, a spy novel, romance, World War II drama, and a fun read.
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Susan Isaacs is a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award and the John Steinbeck Award. She serves as chairman of the board of Poets & Writers and is a past president of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The Creative Coalition, PEN, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Ada ...more
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