Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Review: The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

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. 

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: February 2nd 2021
by Berkley Publishing Group
4/5 stars

I love reading historical fiction off the beaten track, and Susan Meissner's new book fits that bill nicely. Though actually one of my first books of this year the earthquake of 1906 played a background roll.  With The Nature of Fragile Things it plays centre stage.

This story begins a few years before the earthquake when Sophie marry s a man she met just hours before the wedding and becomes mother to Kat.  Sounds intriguing right?  Why would she do that, why would he mail order a bride? So many secrets.  

As usual Susan Meissner did not disappoint, though I will say this book had a different tone then others I have read. A gentle introduction and pacing brought the era to life. I knew very little about the magnitude of this earthquake and was shocked by what I read of the destruction that took place. This book was mysterious as both Sophie and Martin kept their past to themselves, even young Kat didn't share much.  It kept me intrigued.

The Nature of Fragile Things is a story of deception, love and friendship. One that drew me in as I connected with the characters and was kept on my toes as the story played out nicely.   Definitely a book and author I recommend.

I was excited when I heard this book was coming and very thankful to the fine folks at Berkley for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.  The Nature of Fragile Things releases on Feb. 2, 2021 and available for preorder now.  

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