We love to feature some authors who are new to us. You may have already heard of them, but either way, it’s just nice to highlight some new author friends. Today we’re checking in with the lovely Rebecca Rosenberg, whose novel, THE SECRET LIFE of MRS LONDON (LakeUnionPublishing) first captured me by its cover, but once I delved inside, I was introduced to an intriguing cast of characters and story.
THE SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON by Rebecca Rosenberg, captures the fateful meeting of the Houdinis and Londons, one of the most remarkable couples of their time. Jack London, the most popular author in America, and Houdini, a world-renown escape artist, have reached the pinnacles of their careers in 1915. While their wives, Charmian London and Bess Houdini are opposites, they bond through their trials with the over-sized egos of their famous husband.
Free Love, blinding fame, tenuous success, and the Great War threaten them. The couples struggle to hold onto their marriages through the challenges, eventually succumbing to the lure of another’s arms … until one of them takes a stand … alone.
-Charmian London’s diary, November, 1915
Excerpted from The SECRET LIFE of MRS. LONDON: The love triangle between Harry Houdini and Charmian and Jack London by Rebecca Rosenberg
Jack and Charmian London met Harry and Bess Houdini after his magic show at the Orpheum Theatre in San Francisco, in November, 1915. The San Francisco Chronicle reported about the show in their November 8, 1915 issue:
HOUDINI PUZZLES AUDIENCE AT ORPHEUM
Boxed, Dumped Into Water, Escapes
Houdini throws the big thrills into this week’s show at the Orpheum. He has mystified local vaudeville patrons with many and varied exhibitions of his ability to liberate himself from all sorts of stage captivity, defying doors, locks and chains, but his new act surpasses all the previous ones.
In this act he is lowered head downward into a box compartment full of water, and with his feet fastened after the manner of the old-time stocks, to the top of the cabinet. The whole contrivance is pretentiously barred, bound and padlocked, but Houdini comes out triumphantly about sixty seconds after the submersion. The cabinet is the performer’s own invention though it is called a “Chinese water torture cell,” after which it is supposed to be patterned. Also on the “elusive American’s” programme is the East Indian needle trick.
* * *
Jack London took his daughter Becky (who lived with her mother, Jack’s ex-wife, Elizabeth Maddern) to Houdini’s show one afternoon on a chilly November day. He was so impressed, he brought Charmian the next evening, even after he’d spent four excruciating hours in the dental chair earlier in the day. After the show, the Houdinis and Londons met and went to dinner, becoming fast friends.
The following week, the Houdinis hosted the Londons for Thanksgiving dinner in their Oakland hotel, introducing them to Houdini’s brother Hardeen, who was appearing as a magician in Oakland as well.
To be continued …
A California native, Rebecca Rosenberg lives on a lavender farm with her family in Sonoma, the Valley of the Moon, where Jack London wrote from his Beauty Ranch. Rebecca is a long-time student of Jack London’s works and an avid fan of his daring wife, Charmian London. The Secret Life of Mrs. London is her debut novel.
Rebecca and her husband, Gary, own the largest lavender product company in America, selling to 4000 resorts, spas and gift stores. The Rosenbergs believe in giving back to the Sonoma Community, supporting many causes through financial donations and board positions, including Worth Our Weight, an educational culinary program for at-risk children, YWCA shelter for abused women, Luther Burbank Performing Arts Center to provide performances for children, Sonoma Food Bank, Sonoma Boys and Girls Club, and the Valley of the Moon Children’s Home.
Thanks to Rebecca and Lake Union Publishing, we have one copy to giveaway. Just tell us your favorite trick/illusion/puzzle …. We’ll pick a winner soon. Good luck!
Have a wonderful weekend!
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