I found The Secret Life of Mrs. London by Rebecca Rosenberg to be a very readable book. I have read a previous book by the author and really liked that one also. This book is fiction based on fact.
That said what is the book about? It is the story of Charmian Kittredge London, wife of Jack London the prolific author. Charmaine is Jack's second, younger wife, and they spend their time smoking, drinking and writing. Charmain types as Jack talks although Charmaine did have her book published through Jack's publisher. They are competitive and there is a lot of jealousy and intense emotion between the two.
She is the woman behind the man, if you will, and ensures that his writing gets done, she also nurses him through his alcoholism. Even with the jealousy and strong emotions, their marriage is one that has endured. She was an active partner in the Beauty Ranch, their spread on Sonoma Mountain in Glen Ellen. They wanted their ranch to be self-sufficient and a provider of food products for the ranch.
They become friends with Houdini and his wife Bess and Charmaine becomes enamored with Houdini and they are intimate friends without the sex but after Jack dies their affair becomes intense.
Jack is an alcoholic and becomes extremely strange at the end of his life, he has his lower limbs swelling, from the drinking and an infection in his foot. What exactly caused his death may be a question that still needs answering, there is talk of suicide but never proven.
After Jacks's demise, Charmaine is left on her own. With her writing skills, Charmian published articles for Mid-Pacific Magazine, along with The Log of the Snark and Our Hawaii plus going on to promote Jack's writings. He finished his novel Cherry and had i it published with Cosmopolitan magazine.
Did I like the book? I didn't think I would but as I got into it I was definitely hooked, I love Charmain because she was definitely a strong woman and even though Jack was jealous of her talent, he let her be her own person. The writing is great and definitely well researched. I read The Call of the Wild when I was a child and I never paid much attention to Jack's writings so reading this book gave me an idea of who Jack really was. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to reading more by Rebecca!