I normally take notes while I am reading an advance reader copy (ARC) to help facilitate my review. Susan Meissner’s historical novel, The Nature of Fragile Things, though, was so wonderful I didn’t want the interruption.
Here’s a quick synopsis:
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 moves to San Francisco. She quickly adjusts to her new life and develops a deep affection for Kat, her new stepdaughter, but something about her husband isn’t quite right. Then one spring evening, a stranger at the door sets in motion a 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 1906 San Francisco earthquake, thrusting them on a perilous journey.
Are you sold yet? Meissner does a masterful job weaving together an intricate plot. Her principal character, Sophie, is a woman with a troubled past, but also an impassioned hope for the future. So far, this is one of my favorite reads of 2021. 4.5 stars.
“It is the nature of the earth to shift. It is the nature of fragile things to break. It is the nature of fire to burn.”