Most people are familiar with Jack London, the famed author of classic novels like “Call of the Wild” and “White Fang,” and who made his home in the hills of the Sonoma Valley. But are you familiar with his wife, Charmian? A flamboyant, accomplished, hard-working author herself, Jack London’s second wife is the star of Rebecca Rosenberg’s debut novel, “The Secret Life of Mrs. London.”
Married to Jack London, it would be presumed that Charmian lived a life mostly in his shadow. In some ways, this appears true, as she devotedly typed her husband’s work as he dictated, then edited each piece later. She aided her husband’s writing career by drawing character sketches, filling in descriptions, and smoothing over rough spots in his work. However, writing was one of Charmian’s many personal passions, and she penned several full-length novel of her own in her lifetime.
But the juiciest part of Charmian’s colorful and charismatic life was one of her other passions — Harry Houdini.
Rosenberg elegantly weaves in details of Charmian’s life with Jack and her sensual affair with Harry Houdini in this captivating story that blends fact with fiction. Many of the details come from Charmian’s own journals, which she wrote in almost every day of her life. Through Rosenberg’s writing, readers can easily identify with Mrs. London and her complex love life.
One of the most striking parallels between Rosenberg and Charmian is their experience with fire. In 1914, a mysterious fire consumed Wolf House on their Sonoma Valley property. In 2017, Rosenberg and her husband, former owners of Sonoma Lavender Farm, lost their home and lavender fields to the October fires.
Rosenberg is presenting “The Secret Life of Mrs. London” at three exciting events in Sonoma County, both of which can be found at rebecca-rosenberg.com/myevents
On Saturday, March 17, she’ll be at Breathless Wines celebrating Women’s History Month with a glass of bubbles and shamrock butter cookies. This “Books & Bubbles” event includes author Patricia V. Davis, author of the Secret Spice Café Series, and takes place 1-4 p.m. Breathless Wines is located at 499 Moore Lane, Healdsburg.
Then on Monday, March 26, Rosenberg will present her book at an event at Aqus Café. Starting at 7 p.m., Rosenberg will share portions of her novel and sign books. Aqus Café is located at 189 H St, Corner of 2nd and H, Petaluma, CA.
On Monday, April 16, Rosenberg will join four other authors at the monthly Dine With Local Authors event at Gaia’s Garden in Santa Rosa. From 6-8 p.m., she and other authors will read excerpts from their books. To reserve your space at Rosenberg’s table, email Jeane Slone at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 707- 544-2491. Minimum $5 food purchase. Gaia’s Garden is located at 1899 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa.
For more information and to find out where you can find “The Secret Life of Mrs. London,” visit rebecca-rosenberg.com.
Note: Check out the Sonoma Index-Tribune article on Rebecca Rosenberg here.