Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Mesissner really took me by surprise. It is a historical fiction but very different from the novels I typically read. This book is set in London, UK and jumps back and forth between the Blitz in London in 1940 (WWII) and present day London. I learned a great deal about the London Blitz from this book and even more about the evacuation of children from London during that time. But remember this is a novel, it is a coming of age story about a young girl and her sister who are trying to balance their dreams and desires for themselves and literally surviving the constant threat of bombings in London. Secrets of a Charmed Life is about dreams and ambitions, death and loss, survival and determination. An American girl named Kendra Van Zant is studying history at a University in London and receives a rare offer to interview an elderly lady who survived through the Blitz but has yet to make her story public. I appreciated the author’s ability to interweave a theme of free will throughout the novel. Emmy, the main character, has many choices to make throughout her life. She chooses to make decisions based on an ideology that she will never be successful without making decisions for herself and choosing the best path she sees in front of her. Emmy understands that she can have ambitions in life but unless she takes the necessary steps towards those goals then they will never become anything but dreams. A secondary character in the novel is Emmy’s sister Julia and we are given insight into her through the use of “letters” which are basically a first person diary. As a secondary story, we learn that Julia is just as passionate as her sister but her story feels like she had less power to make choices of her own than Emmy did. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and I think I might explore some of Susan Meissner’s other books.