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The Secret Life of Mrs. London

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  894 ratings  ·  305 reviews
2019 Gold Medal IPPY Winner!
Historical fiction Houdini-London love triangle
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 ho
Paperback, 348 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Elyse  Walters
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Update..... given I ‘AM’ still thinking about this novel ... I’m adding one more star...
from 3 stars to 4. This book is growing on me!!!!

This is a hard review for me to write ...because I wasn’t crazy about this book.
I have only myself to blame. I didn’t read ‘one’ thing about this novel when Rebecca Rosenberg asked me if I would like to read it: “The Secret Life of Mrs. London”,
in exchange for a review.
I was happy to read Rebecca’s novel....California native, who lives in Sonoma...always ni
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2018
A wonderful debut novel about Charmian London, the wife and muse of Jack London.

Rebecca Rosenberg is superb at character development and description. You really get to know the main characters and find yourself loving and hating them at various points in the novel. I know nothing about Jack or Charmian London and their lives, and have never read any of their works, but I came away feeling like I really know them as people. This is a fictionalized accounting of Jack and Charmian’s life together o
3.5 stars

My previous experience with the prolific author Jack London was years ago during my school days when I was assigned The Call of the Wild. I remember finding it an interesting book, but didn’t really think much about it afterwards. Then I re-read the book a few years ago when my son received the same English class assignment – and I loved it the second time through! Other than that, my knowledge of Jack London went no further; and naturally I knew nothing about his second wife, Charmian
Miranda Reads
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
If I can get Jack boxing this morning...he’ll be revved up for a good writing session followed by a “grand lolly” that will linger in our loins for days.

And with that we are introduced to Jack London's wife, Charmian, an amateur boxer, aspiring writer, and free spirit .
Figure 1. Jack London and Charmian (his second wife).

Charmian is in the unique situation of wanting more to life during a time when women were supposed to be content with their lot. She's written books but no one
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
4 "engaging" stars

Charmain was the second wife of author Jack London. She was a believer in free love, socialism, a woman's right to vote, and her husband Jack. It is the turn of the century, a time when the Victorian Age was winding down. Social and sexual mores were changing. It was the time before the free reeling lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest and Hadley Hemmingway became the alt culture of their day. Although in reading this book, I could not help thinking that the London
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
I instantly knew that I wanted to read The Secret Life of Mrs. London from the moment I read the blurb. I just love reading historical fiction about famous persons and I was intrigued by the prospect of reading a book about Jack London, a man that I didn't know much about. Also, the addition of Harry Houdini to the story made my eagerness to read this book even greater.

I've actually been putting off writing this review, you know to wait for the right moment because I was so taken with the story
Rebecca Rosenberg
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
The Secret Life of Mrs. London

FREE on Prime and kindle unlimited!

#2 WIKI Marvelous Novels of 20th Century!
2018 BEST NEW NOVEL Center for Fiction nomination!

On the surface, The Secret Life of Mrs. London is about the love triangle between the Houdinis and Londons, but many themes begged to be explored throughout.

--Must you be faithful when marital needs are never met?
--How do you live with the demands of a mercurial genius?
--When are words of love not eno
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Charmaine London is the wife of the Jack London, the famous writer of adventure stories. Charmaine has been essential to Jack’s success providing edits and motivating him to keep to a schedule. She has put her writing career on hold to help him succeed but has received little acknowledgment from the literary community or her husband. She struggles to balance her love for Jack and her own desire for achievement.

One evening, the Londons see Harry Houdini perform onstage. Charmaine is pulled out o
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Charmian London, wife of Jack London the famous author. It is a fictional account of their lives together. This book made me want to know more about them.
It is a very interesting read with many historical events throughout the book. This story is a little slow to start but needs time to develop. Rebecca Rosenberg does a wonderful job of character development.

Charmian is a woman before her time. This book starts out in 1915. She is a believer in free love, socialism and a wom
It's no secret that this era, prior to the explosion of the world wars, is one of my favorite eras in history. I also love Jack London and his classic novels. Admittedly, however, it was Houdini who drew me to this book. One of the most mesmerizing characters in history, his secret liaison with "a married woman" has long been rumored. Rebecca Rosenberg has brought that story to life in The Secret Life of Mrs. London. Here we find London at a time in his life when he is unwell and totally depende ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The Secret Life of Mrs. London" is a fascinating story beautifully told. The creative and romantic lives of Jack and Charmian London were full of passion, genius, and intrigue. I fell in love with the characterizations and the ups and downs of their careers, family lives, and romantic relationships kept me riveted throughout. A wonderful read! ...more
A book about the domestic lives of great writers or artists, albeit fictionalised, is fast becoming my idea of historical fiction heaven.  So, when the opportunity arose to read The Secret Life of Mrs. London, I simply couldn’t resist.  I’m pleased to say I was not disappointed.

The book is a portrait of a passionate, tempestuous marriage between two unconventional people.  In Charmian’s mind ‘Jack is the tornado, and I am the vortex that keeps him swirling.  The empty eye of the storm.  Nothing
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 "engaging" stars

Charmain is the second wife of author Jack London. She was a believer in free love, socialism, a woman's right to vote, and her husband Jack. It is the turn of the century, a time when the Victorian Age was winding down. Social and sexual mores were changing. It was the time before the free reeling lives of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and Ernest and Hadley Hemmingway became the alt culture of their day. Although in reading this book, I could not help thinking that the Londons
♥ Sandi ❣
Feb 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to ♥ Sandi ❣ by: the author
3 stars Thank you to the author Rebecca Rosenberg and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this book.

To start with, I really don't care for romances, this book was a romance, but yet much more. Sadly to say I did not like any of the characters in this book. Each and every one of them seemed to have a selfish ulterior motive.

This was a fictionalized account of Jack London, the author, and his second wife Charmian. I believe that this author, Rosenberg, did some extensive research on the
Susan Peterson
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fascinating, intimate look at the relationship between novelist Jack London and his wife Charmian. When Jack and Charmian attend a performance by Harry Houdini, Charmian is intrigued by both Harry and his child-like wife, Bessie...but her feelings for Harry transcend friendship. She is torn between her devotion to Jack, her friendship with Bessie, and her longing for Harry. The characters are extremely well-written, each of their personalities, their demons, their desires, leap of ...more
The Lit Bitch
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I have a feeling about a book and where it might fall on my own reviewer scale, even before I pick it up and start reading.

This was one of those books. I thought it would be a book that was good but not great. Sometimes fictionalized accounts of historical figures lives can go very right or very wrong. I am not a big Jack London fan or a Harry Houdini fan….so I was ready to put this book firmly in the three star category before I even started the first page.

Sometimes we are just primed
(3.5) I have a weakness for novels about history’s famous wives, whether that’s Zelda Fitzgerald, the multiple Mrs. Hemingways, or the First Ladies of the U.S. presidents. A valuable addition to that delightful sub-genre of fiction is The Secret Life of Mrs. London, the recent debut novel by California lavender farmer Rebecca Rosenberg. I’m pleased to be closing out the blog tour today with a mini review. So many thorough reviews have already appeared that I won’t attempt to compete with them, b ...more
3 Stars.

This is a well written and researched fictionalized account of the marriage of Jack and Charmian London.

The London's marriage was of the bohemian type, with Charmian having an affair and getting pregnant by another man. She was also a writer, and dissatisfied with her role as Jack's support system. It was her job to sober him up and make sure he wrote every day. The rest of her husband's care was in the hands of his sister who lived with them and who didn't approve of Charmian.

The boo
Malena Watrous
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON is a riveting behind-the-scenes look at the marriage of Jack and Charmain 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 th ...more
Ralph Smith
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Rebecca Rosenberg’s The Secret Life of Mrs. London is a terrific historical novel. The magnetic and impulsive personality of Jack London comes to life as does the equally-famous Harry Houdini. The protagonist, Charmian London, desires to become a writer in her own right and to have intimate love relationships but she is conflicted by wanting to be a supportive wife to the demanding, and sometimes childlike, Jack. This novel is a page-turner, taking us inside the intimate lives of real people.
Soraya Lane
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating historical novel - the perfect blend of historical fact mixed with fiction. It was different to what I usually read and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Writing in the first person is not an easy task, but Rebecca Rosenberg, author of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” pulls it off artfully. A few chapters into the novel and you quickly forget that someone other than the second wife of author, Jack London, Charmian London, is writing this tale. Oh yes, claims of fiction, but some very documented facts, well researched by Rosenberg.

Charmian London weaves her own biography of her love of “Wolf.” Jack London’s nickname to many of his fans and frien
Patricia Sands
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having studied Jack London's writing in university, and knowing a bit about his unorthodox life, I was instantly attracted to this story. Rebecca Rosenberg delivered in more ways than one. The story could not have been written in such an entertaining and convincing fashion without an amazing amount of research.I was intrigued from start to finish. ...more
"I would rather be ashes than dust! I
would rather that my spark should burn
out in a brilliant blaze than it should be
stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a
superb meteor, every atom of me in
magnificent glow, than a sleepy and
permanent planet. The function of man is
to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my
days trying to prolong them. I shall use
my time."
-Jack London, Jack London's Tales of Adventure

I finished this book about a week ago and still thinking about it and pondering my review. I kn
Behind every great man stands a great woman. Rebecca Rosenberg brings Charmian London to life in this story. Charmian is a woman ahead of her times. She believes in equality and free love which is surprising considering the times. I feel that Jack London may not have become as well known without her help and influence. Although I didn't care for selfish and narcissistic Jack, I rooted for his relationship with Charmian, I loved the glimpse into the lives of the eccentric Houdini and his wife, Be ...more
This well-written book tells the story of Charmian London, wife to famed author Jack London. A feminist before the word was coined, she was a strong woman, but her husband seemed to be old fashioned in his views of the female sex. Taking place in 1915 in San Francisco, Charmian finds herself oddly drawn to Houdini (yes THAT Houdini) when she is picked out of an audience to partake in one of his illusions. Eventually Charmian and Jack meet both Houdini and his wife, and this book allows that they ...more
Davida Chazan
(3.5/5) This biographical, historical, women’s fiction novel is about the woman who loved the prolific Jack London, Charmian. Overshadowed by her famous husband, with her debut novel “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” Rebecca Rosenberg brings her front and center. Take a look at my review of this novel here. ...more
Camille Maio
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hands down, this book has some of the best dialogue I've read in a long time. I found myself really getting swept up in the relationships of Jack, Charmain, Harry, and Bessie. I love historical fiction that teaches me something, and I am glad to know more about all of these people. I believe this is the author's first novel and I can't wait to see what she does next. ...more
Linda Zagon
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing

My Review of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” by Rebecca Rosenberg. Lake Union Publishing, January 30, 2018

Rebecca Rosenberg , the Author of “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” has written an entertaining and captivating novel. I appreciate the way that Rebecca Rosenberg weaves the Genres of Historical Fiction and Fiction into her story. The timeline for this story is approximately 1915 in San Francisco, and takes place in other locations as well. This story takes place on the brink of World War On
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
"The Secret Life of Mrs. London" is the story of famous writer, Jack London, and his wife, Charmian, who works with him to get all of his brilliant ideas and writing down on paper. They have a tumultuous, fascinating relationship. They are sparring partners: physically and mentally. They love each other but both of their gazes are often going in opposite directions. A chance encounter with infamous magician Harry Houdini will turn everything on its head.

This book initially ensnared me with the p
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