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Shining Through

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,454 Ratings  ·  156 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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Nov 09, 2013 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 13, 2010 Lesli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 22, 2012 Kate Quinn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Lynn Spencer
First of all, I have to say that this book is almost NOTHING like the movie. It is way, way better. Even though I didn't always like the narrator, Linda Voss, I did love her story. Shining Through is a great big sprawling saga of a 30-something Jewish secretary from Queens. She starts off having a crush on her uber-WASP boss at the law firm. Her knowledge of German and his focus on international law lead Linda down some interesting, if not entirely easy roads.

Those who have seen the movie will
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,
Sep 10, 2009 Elhara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Maria Thomarey
Mar 28, 2016 Maria Thomarey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Rosario (
I discovered Shining Through in my late teens/early twenties, and read it again and again and again. I reread it again this year after not going back to it for quite a while (I don't have a review of it on the blog, which suggests I hadn't reread it since 2002. That can't be right, surely? I guess I stopped rereading frequently since I started my switch to ebooks). I'm always a little bit worried when I do that, afraid that the book won't be quite as amazing as I remember, or that it might have ...more
Dec 28, 2014 Elinor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-in-wartime
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
Feb 12, 2008 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 18, 2010 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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!
Feb 11, 2015 Anika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 09, 2014 Rcltigger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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
Apr 27, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 28, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reread, 2015
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.
Linda Voss, a German-American Jew, speaks fluent German, and is therefore, invaluable as a legal secretary for her Wall Street boss as war looms in Europe in 1940. She is also in love with her boss. Eventually, she will be in Europe involved in anti-Nazi intrigue. Not every reader would agree with me, but I think this is one of those books that was improved upon in its film version, which starred Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas. For one thing, the film composited John Berenger and Ed Leland ...more
Candice Moreno
I read this book after finding out that one of my favorite movies has been made from it. I usually find that the books are always better than the movie but that was not true in this case. Although I did enjoy the book, I favored the movie so much more. The movie portrayed a strong, fearless,quick witted woman. The booked portrayed the exact opposite, an insecure, confused pushover. The movie also excluded a few characters such as John Berringer and Nan which I found to be a relief. They brought ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Jeri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance, historical
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!
Sep 15, 2009 Luan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I should have put 5 stars. I truly enjoyed this book and snuck all kinds of time to read it.
Jul 01, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 09, 2010 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
OK, this is not an intellectual book -- but it's a lot of fun.
Rebecca Kent
Feb 08, 2014 Rebecca Kent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 17, 2009 Rebbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My third time--LOVE this book!
Patti Schubert
Dec 22, 2009 Patti Schubert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fabulous story! can't put it down.
This story of a child of German immigrants living in New York City takes several turns. While fictional, the story takes place in the reality of Hitler's rise to power and the eventual joining of the United States in World War II. It projects the bravery and horror of war, particularly the evil of Hitler, and how courageous risk their lives to fight back against such evil. It makes you thankful you did not live through those horrors and wish humanity could advance beyond the hatred and cruelty t ...more
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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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