Tuesday, February 2, 2021

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

Book Summary

April 18, 1906: A massive earthquake rocks San Francisco just before daybreak, igniting a devouring inferno. Lives are lost, lives are shattered, but some rise from the ashes forever changed.

Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so desperate to get out of a New York tenement that she answers a mail-order bride ad and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. San Francisco widower Martin Hocking proves to be as aloof as he is mesmerizingly handsome. Sophie quickly develops deep affection for Kat, Martin's silent five-year-old daughter, but Martin's odd behavior leaves her with the uneasy feeling that something about her newfound situation isn't right.

Then one early-spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a transforming chain of events. Sophie discovers hidden ties to two other women. The first, pretty and pregnant, is standing on her doorstep. The second is hundreds of miles away in the American Southwest, grieving the loss of everything she once loved.

The fates of these three women intertwine on the eve of the devastating earthquake, thrusting them onto a perilous journey that will test their resiliency and resolve and, ultimately, their belief that love can overcome fear.

From the acclaimed author of The Last Year of the War and As Bright as Heaven comes a gripping novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity. 

My Thoughts

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner transports readers to San Francisco, California in 1905 where Sophie Whalen has agreed to marry Martin Hocking.  Sophie was living in New York after immigrating from Ireland when she saw Martin’s advertisement for a bride and mother for his daughter, Kat.  They marry the day Sophie arrives in San Francisco, and she quickly adjusts to her new role.  Martin travels for work leaving Kat and Sophie alone.  One April evening, Sophie is surprised by the visitor.  This woman sets in motion a chain of events that will change their lives and that of another woman with a connection to them.  The next morning a devastating earthquake hits the San Francisco area forcing the women to flee.  The Nature of Fragile Things is a well-written and crafted historical novel.  The authors descriptive writings captured the time-period and events.  She really captured the earthquake and its devastation with her word imagery.  I could visualize the scenes and what our characters were experiencing.  I could tell that Susan Meissner did her research for this book.  The characters were developed and at the heart of the story.  It was fascinating how it all tied together with the amazing “oh my goodness” moment near the end.  I especially appreciated the epilogue that nicely wrapped up this fascinating tale.  I do not want to say too much and ruin this captivating story for you.  I have read all of Susan Meissner’s novels and I found this one better yet different from her other books (such as Lady in Waiting).  The Nature of Fragile Things has secrets, love, lies, loss, friendships, betrayal, a mother’s love, and justice.  Now we must wait another year for Susan Meissner’s next novel (sigh).  

The Nature of Fragile Things can be purchased from Amazon* (also read a sample).  You can find Susan Meissner's other novels here.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Dublin's Girl by Eimear Lawlor.    I hope that you have a friendly day.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

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