The Benjamin School Book Group recently invited acclaimed author and book club favorite Susan Meissner to share their discussion about Susan’s latest historical fiction novel, AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN.

Their group, located in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is made up of parents, faculty, staff and friends…with average attendance between 18-24. They meet five times in a school year, and have done so for the past 14 years! They enjoy mostly historical fiction.

Great feedback was offered and shared with us (thank you to book club manager, Lola). Read on:

I love the enthusiasm in her Voice when she speaks about her story in her book. I love that she is open to any question that came at her. Look forward to reading her next book. I love the twist interns in this book. Erika

Thank you to Susan for visiting our book club!  Sometimes it can be daunting to face a group of teachers, but Susan’s intellect and research is unmatched!   Anne

I appreciated how Susan Meissner approached the subject of death. It seems so hard to open up about this subject. Having just experienced the loss of my mother, I identified with the way Susan puts death into a perspective of part of life. I loved her metaphor about people being like a candle and when the flame is sniffed out, there is still the candle. She helped the reader “lean in” to this very difficult experience. I appreciated learning how she researched using morticians manuals. It was interesting to find out the digging for answers that she did to make a convincing set of characters. I really enjoyed how personable she was and easy to talk to.  Jane

Her dedication to her craft came through enthusiastically and I was impressed with her commitment to research, and her openness about her writing.  Sara

This was my first time in the book club and loved every minute of it.  The author was so friendly and nice, and I learned a lot about the book. I can’t wait to read her next book! Marisol

Our chat with Susan Meissner was fascinating especially to hear her reasons for her plot decisions. She was well prepared for us and answered many questions before we had time to pose them. I also enjoyed hearing about her new book “The Nature of Fragile Things” and look forward to reading it next year. Victoria

Best discussion of process that I have heard.

Was a terrific evening!  So impressed with her knowledge of history.  Such a great storyteller. Mary Beth

I thought she was fantastic!!  I got a lot of information that I didn’t really know-how things are connected (why the roaring 20s was there and why they went crazy..). Also about the embalming- I knew a little bit about it and she gave us more information.  She was a fantastic speaker.  Linda

Very pleased to have chatted with you and learning about your process. I had recommended this book to the group and was delighted that everyone enjoyed my choice.   I look forward to reading your other books. Muriel

I just thought it was very nice of her to take the time to spend with us and answer questions about her work.  I am anxious to read some of her books! Carol

The author is a wonderful, interesting and vivid writer and she was a very good speaker. Enjoyed listening to her and finding out what inspired her to write about the 1918 pandemic. Thanks again for your time and effort in making this such a fabulous book club.  April 

Susan was an amazing speaker.  Well thought out descriptions of what she did, how she planned her story.  Have a new appreciation of all the time and energy that goes into writing “fiction”.Everyone enjoyed her and we all plan to read her next book.  Thanks Susan for making this session one of the best ever, over the 15 years I have been involved in this group.  Best wishes, Lola

Book clubs/groups/libraries, as evidenced by the testimony of these readers, there are so many good reasons to invite an author to join your book discussion! We invite you to include one of our 120+ exceptional authors to your next book discussion and enjoy the camaraderie and connections made through books. Free membership for book clubs and free author visits at