Shining Through

( 26 )

Overview

It's 1940 and Linda Voss, legal secretary extraordinaire, has a secret. She's head over heels in love with her boss, John Berringer, the pride of the Ivy League. Not that she even has a chance—he'd never take a second look at a German-Jewish girl from Queens who spends her time taking care of her faded beauty of a mother and following bulletins on the war in Europe. For Linda, though, the war will soon become all too real. Engulfing her nation and her life, it will offer opportunities she's never dreamed of. A ...
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Shining Through

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Overview

It's 1940 and Linda Voss, legal secretary extraordinaire, has a secret. She's head over heels in love with her boss, John Berringer, the pride of the Ivy League. Not that she even has a chance—he'd never take a second look at a German-Jewish girl from Queens who spends her time taking care of her faded beauty of a mother and following bulletins on the war in Europe. For Linda, though, the war will soon become all too real. Engulfing her nation and her life, it will offer opportunities she's never dreamed of. A chance to win the man she wants...a chance to find the love she deserves.

Made into the movie of the same name starring Melanie Griffith, Michael Douglas, and Liam Neeson, Shining Throughis a novel of honor, sacrifice, passion, and humor. This is vintage Susan Isaacs, a tale of a spirited woman who wisecracks her way into heroism and history—and into your heart.

In 1940, irresistible heroine Linda Voss is secretly in love with her boss. How she wins and loses him—and takes New York by storm—is now brought to life in the Twentieth Century Fox major motion picture starring Oscar-winner Michael Douglas, Melanie Griffith, Liam Neeson, and John Gielgud.

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Editorial Reviews

San Francisco Chronicle
Linda Voss is an irrestistible heroine...She's exactly the bright and resourceful heroine we all feel we could be.
Chicago Sun-Times
Totally captivating.
New York Times Book Review
As close to a 1940s movie as a book can get. It's like the kind of big, exciting movie we liked best then, in which someone pretty much like us takes incredible risks for unimpeachable motives and wins just what we wanted.
Philadelphia Inquirer
"Laced with heartbreak, drama and thrills...Marvelously readable."
Anne Tolstoi Wallach
You've got to hand it to Susan Isaacs. Unlike a lot of best-selling authors, she doesn't write the same novel again and again. Instead, like her girl-next-door heroines, she takes risks, and her readers reap the rewards. . . . Shining Through rates cheers for taking us back to those movies where we watched, appalled, as the heroine went off with the wrong man when the right one was there all the time, where glamorous stars got to wear frumpy makeup for a few reels and where spies hid notes in the mouths of herrings. And Susan Isaacs rates cheers for reminding us that those movies had spine. -- New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517054413
  • Publisher: Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/30/1996

Meet the Author

Susan Isaacs

Susan Isaacs is the bestselling author of eleven novels, two screenplays, and one work of nonfiction. She lives on Long Island.

Biography

Susan Isaacs, novelist, essayist and screenwriter, was born in Brooklyn and educated at Queens College. After leaving school, she worked as an editorial assistant at Seventeen magazine. In 1968, Susan married Elkan Abramowitz, a then a federal prosecutor. She became a senior editor at Seventeen but left in 1970 to stay home with her newborn son, Andrew. Three years later, she gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth. During this time she freelanced, writing political speeches as well as magazine articles. Elkan became a criminal defense lawyer.

In the mid-seventies, Susan got the urge to write a novel. A year later she began working on what was to become Compromising Positions, a whodunit set on suburban Long Island. It was published in 1978 by Times Books and was chosen a main selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club. Her second novel, Close Relations, a love story set against a background of ethnic, sexual and New York Democratic politics (thus a comedy), was published in 1980 by Lippincott and Crowell and was a selection of the Literary Guild. Her third, Almost Paradise, was published by Harper & Row in 1984, and was a Literary Guild main selection; in this work Susan used the saga form to show how the people are molded not only by their histories, but also by family fictions that supplant truth. All of Susan's novels have been New York Times bestsellers. Her fiction has been translated into thirty languages.

In 1985, she wrote the screenplay for Paramount's Compromising Positions, which starred Susan Sarandon and Raul Julia. She also wrote and co-produced Touchstone Pictures' Hello Again. The 1987 comedy starred Shelley Long and Judith Ivey.

Her fourth novel, Shining Through, set during World War II, was published by Harper & Row in 1988. Twentieth-Century Fox's film adaptation starred Michael Douglas and Melanie Griffith. Her fifth book, Magic Hour, a coming-of-middle-age novel as well as a mystery, was published in January 1991. After All These Years was published in 1993; critics lauded it for its strong and witty protagonist. Lily White came out in 1996 and Red, White and Blue in 1998. All the novels were published by HarperCollins and were main selections of the Literary Guild. In 1999, Susan's first work of nonfiction, Brave Dames and Wimpettes: What Women Are Really Doing on Page and Screen, was published by Ballantine's Library of Contemporary Thought. During 2000, she wrote a series of columns on the presidential campaign for Newsday. Long Time No See, a Book of the Month Club main selection, was published in September 2001; it was a sequel to Compromising Positions. Susan's tenth novel is Any Place I Hang My Hat (2004).

Susan Isaacs is a recipient of the Writers for Writers Award and the John Steinbeck Award. She serves as chairman of the board of Poets & Writers and is a past president of Mystery Writers of America. She is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle, The Creative Coalition, PEN, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the International Association of Crime Writers, and the Adams Round Table. She sits on the boards of the Queens College Foundation, the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, the North Shore Child and Family Guidance Association, the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is an active member of her synagogue. She has worked to gather support for the National Endowment of the Arts' Literature Program and has been involved in several anti-censorship campaigns. In addition to writing books, essays and films, Susan has reviewed books for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and Newsday and written about politics, film and First Amendment issues. She lives on Long Island with her husband.

Biography courtesy of the author's official web site.

Good To Know

Some outtakes from our interview with Isaacs:

"My first job was wrapping shoes in a shoe store in the low-rent district of Fifth Avenue and saying ‘Thank you!' with a cheery smile. I got canned within three days for not wrapping fast enough, although I suspect that often my vague, future-novelist stare into space while thinking about sex or lunch did not give me a smile that would ring the bell on the shoe store's cheer-o-meter."

"I constantly have to fight against the New York Effect, an overwhelming urge to wear black clothes so everyone will think, Egad, isn't she chic and understated! I'm not, by nature, a black-wearing person. (I'm not, by nature, a chic person either.) I like primary colors as well as bright purple, loud chartreuse, and shocking pink. And that's just my shoes."

"I'm not a great fan of writing classes. Yes, they do help people sometimes, especially with making them write regularly. But the aspiring writer can be a delicate creature, sensitive or even oversensitive to criticism. I was that way: I still am. The problem begins with most people's natural desire to please. In a classroom situation, especially one in which the work will be read aloud or critiqued in class, the urge to write something likable or merely critic-proof can dam up your natural talent. Also, it keeps you from developing the only thing you have is a writer -- your own voice. Finally, you don't know the people in a class well enough to figure out where their criticism is coming from. A great knowledge of literature? Veiled hostility? The talent is too precious a commodity to risk handing it over to strangers."

"Writing is sometimes an art, and it certainly is a craft. But it's also a job. I go to work five or six days a week (depending how far along I am with my work-in-progress). Like most other people, there are days I would rather be lying in a hammock reading or going to a movie with a friend. But whether you're an artist or an accountant, you still have to show up at work. Otherwise, it is unlikely to get done."

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    1. Hometown:
      Sands Point, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 7, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      Honorary Doctorate, Queens College
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Shining Through

Chapter One

In 1940, when I was thirty-one and an old maid, while the whole world waited for war, I fell in love with John Berringer.

An office crush. Big deal. Since the invention of the steno pad, a day hasn't gone by without some secretary glancing up from her Pitman squiggles and suddenly realizing that the man who was mumbling "...and therefore, pursuant to the above..." was the one man in her life who could ever bring her joy.

So there I was, a cliche with a number 2 yellow pencil: a working girl from Queens who'd lost her heart to the pride of the Ivy League.

And to make matters worse, John Berringer bore absolutely no resemblance to the typical Wall Street international lawyer, the kind whose gray face was two shades paler than his suit. Sure, a girl could wind up losing her heart to one of those dreary men. There's nothing quieter than an old maid's bedroom, and in that black stillness it's so easy to create magic: A lawyer with the profile of a toad—Abracadabra!—is transformed into an Adonis, pulsating with passion under his pinstripes.

But John didn't need any of that midnight magic to turn him gorgeous. The big joke in the law firm was how could I not have a mad crush on him. "You've got to be made of iron, Linda," one of the girls said at lunch, "not to go nuts for those blue eyes. They're blue like-" Someone at the far end of the table called out, Twilight! And someone else chimed in, No, like a clear lake ... but with a funny kind of depth, like on a cloudy day. John Berringer made poets out of stenographers. Someone else piped up, Come on...blue like pansies, andGladysSlade, my best friend, called out from the head of the lunch table, "How can anybody even think of the word 'pansy' in the same sentence with 'Mr. Berringer' in it?" Everyone giggled.

In private, Gladys said, "Listen, Linda, don't kid a kidder. I'm the first person to understand your not wanting to make a public announcement, but even if you didn't care about looks, think about brains. I mean, you're always reading the papers and wanting to talk about—oh, God, you know English naval power. Or French politics. So aren't you attracted to someone brilliant like him? I bet he loves all that boring stuff."

"It's not boring. Three quarters of the world is—"

"He's so charming," she cut me off. "Like a blond Cary Grant."

"Gladys," I explained, "when you sit across the desk from this guy day in and day out, you realize he's always charming. It kind of wafts up from him, like B.O. Don't you get it? It doesn't mean anything. And his looks...Yeah, he's handsome, but what's behind it?"

"That's for you to find out," Gladys ho-ho-hoed.

"I've got to tell you," I said, "there's something deepdown unappealing about a man who knows he's stunning and uses it. You know, like it's six-fifteen and you're so tired all you want to do is suck your thumb, but he has fortyseven letters he still wants to dictate. So he flashes that five-thousand-watt smile and that's supposed to brighten up your life and make you want to go on. But see, a guy who pulls that sort of thing isn't..."

"Isn't what?"

"Isn't masculine."

"Oh, come off it!"

"I'm serious, Gladys. And he's much too blond. Girls are fair. Guys should be dark. And with those big blue eyes. It's like some artist made him up to illustrate 'Cinderella.' Can't you just see him, with green stockings and those bubble shorts, holding a glass slipper?"

"I can see him with green stockings...and without green stockings." This was a very racy remark for Gladys, whose idea of wild sex was Fred Astaire loosening his tie.

"He's Prince Charming," I said. "Who needs it? I've got to stay late when he asks me, even if he looked like a pile of you-know-what. It's my job. But he thinks: Ha! I've charmed her. I've got her where I've got all the girls, in the palm of my hand." I looked Gladys straight in the eye. "You know why he doesn't do a thing for me? Because he's a woman's man. Not a real man."

Naturally, I was lying through my teeth. But I kept my secret love a secret. I would not let myself (as his secretary) be honorary president of the John Berringer Fan Club. What I felt for John wasn't meant to be shared with the girls. It was precious, and different.

Because even way back then, I felt I was different.

But was I (am I?) really different in any way from all the women from Brooklyn and Queens and the Bronx who trekked up the stairs from the subway every morning and got lost in the dark canyons, the gloomy buildings that loomed over Wall Street? Well, I'm not in Queens anymore. I'm certainly not a secretary. I'm not the girl I was.

But how did I get all the way here from there?

Because when America finally did go to war, the other subway secretaries fought Hitler by saving their bacon grease in fin cans and putting makeup on their legs instead of silk stockings. My fight, though, was different—perilous, real. I wound up in the middle of the Nazi hellhole. Me, Linda Voss.

Shining Through. Copyright © by Susan Isaacs. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 26 )
Rating Distribution

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(18)

4 Star

(4)

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(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2000

    Good, but not like the movie

    This book was well written, but if you're expecting it to be like the movie, you'll be disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Theses reviews are useless, delete them

    I hope people pay attention

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2013

    Training area

    for apps

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2013

    Ripplemask

    Brown pelt with hazel eyes. Very string great at fighting. Female. Wants a mate but no kits.

    Oh and good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013

    Join the sharpclan

    This clan in evil so donot join if you r not evil.- killerstar: a red and handsom cat that is a killing machine has a mate called: silverkill and a deputy: scourage and a medcat: bone.
    Go to " a dark side " result 16 . Be there ready to kill cats .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2013

    Rageclan

    A large long-haired white shecat with gold markings pads in, she narrows her amberish-yellow eyes coldly, "Some silver cat, I asume it was your leader, came to Rageclan camp yesterday and accused my warrior Blackfang of healing one of your kits. She denied it, and I would like to know the whole story. Give me YOUR answer at dogs 101." With that she whirls around and stalks away.
    -Lynxstar

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    Shiningstar

    All cats can join at the next result. See you there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Hi im am a worrior who has a great connection got a dream .

    They coming assasam clan will kil you dark forest rising to chaallen us all that is

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    NEXT RESULT

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    Moonpaw

    Hello. I want to join here. I am a humorous and kind cat and i try to find fairness in all situations. My pelt is pure white at nighttime and at daytime my pelt is calico. My eyes are turqoise and they glow in the nighttime as well as my pelt. I have very vivid dreams and have an amazing connection with starclan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Swirlfur

    Good night!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Burningheart

    :) thnx. Gtgtb!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    Alphawolf

    I keep posting alphapaw instead of alphawolf at first. It is confusing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2012

    NIGHTSTAR TO ALL

    WE ARE KOVING TO LITTLE ALL RESULTS!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    One of my favorite books

    This is my favorite book by Susan Isaacs. If you love espionage movies from the 1940s you might just fall in love with this book. The plot is slightly outrageous, but it is so well written that all is forgiven.

    For some strange reason I keep thinking that the role of Linda Voss would have been a great fit for Rosalind Russell, but the book wasn't around when she was acting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 16, 2009

    Finally, A Writer that can write!

    I have always heard that books are generally better than movies so I decided to read this book, as the movie is one of my favorites. The movie is based on about a tenth of the book and a lot of major things are changed, but the adage still held up. The characters are wonderfully rich and full and the pace was wonderfully quick. It was such a joy reading something that was well written about characters that are flawed just enough to be likeable, sympathetic and realistic. I will definitely read everything else that Susan Isaacs has written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2005

    Rollicking Good Read

    This was a wonderfully old-fashioned story with a completely lovable, very funny heroine. I enjoyed the mention of Mum deodorant and cake mascara, among others--it brought back the early 70s for me (although the story takes place in the 40s).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2000

    War and romance in one

    This was my first S. Isaacs book and I enjoyed it. The story of a somewhat backwards yet confident woman who eventually wins the guy, only to find out that the grass isn't always greener on the other side. She overcomes her stereotype to become a hero in the end and it pays off, she finds her true love.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 26 Customer Reviews

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