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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. Sa 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.


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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. Sa 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.

30 review for The Nature of Fragile Things

  1. 4 out of 5

    Angela M

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don’t usually enjoy books with a lot of suspense or turns in the story and I don’t enjoy when there are so many secrets kept from me. I find it hard to explain it. They just don’t work for me. BUT, BUT, I was totally taken with this novel, the characters and omg what an ending when all of the secrets are divulged and everything perfectly comes together ! I hope there’s a movie ! Despite these things that usually don’t appeal, there are so many things here that make for the kind of book that I’ I don’t usually enjoy books with a lot of suspense or turns in the story and I don’t enjoy when there are so many secrets kept from me. I find it hard to explain it. They just don’t work for me. BUT, BUT, I was totally taken with this novel, the characters and omg what an ending when all of the secrets are divulged and everything perfectly comes together ! I hope there’s a movie ! Despite these things that usually don’t appeal, there are so many things here that make for the kind of book that I’m drawn to. It’s a terrific work of historical fiction depicting San Francisco in 1906 when the well known earthquake hit. The writing is so good, I swear I felt the earth rumble and saw the devastation that it left. There are characters with so much heart. A heartless polygamist is the exception. It’s a gripping telling how his three wives come together as secrets are slowly divulged. The thread that holds them together - a shared violation of their lives, a developing friendship, decency, but most of all a little girl named Kat who simply wants to be home with the people she loves. This is probably one of my shortest reviews because I find it hard to say more without giving away the secrets held here. You really need to find them out for yourself. I received an advanced copy of this book from Berkeley through NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dorie - Cats&Books :)

    ***HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY*** Wow this was a wonderful book and I really don’t want to let go of these characters! This novel had all of the elements that I look for in a great historical fiction and is a solid 5+ stars. The Nature of Fragile Things has such a unique way to look at the devastating earthquake that took place in San Francisco in 1906. I have visited San Francisco at least 4 times many years ago and it was a beautiful city then. This book took me right into the time prior to and duri ***HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY*** Wow this was a wonderful book and I really don’t want to let go of these characters! This novel had all of the elements that I look for in a great historical fiction and is a solid 5+ stars. The Nature of Fragile Things has such a unique way to look at the devastating earthquake that took place in San Francisco in 1906. I have visited San Francisco at least 4 times many years ago and it was a beautiful city then. This book took me right into the time prior to and during this great earthquake. I was transported, right into some of the areas I knew including Golden Gate Park. As the novel opens Sophie has just arrived from New York to California and is about to meet her future husband, Martin Hocking. She answered an ad for a woman to marry him and also care for his 5 year old daughter. Sophie’s life in New York was inhospitable for immigrants at that time, there were just too many. Her tenement “was just a shared room with sagging mattresses, a place where dreams . . . unravel” Sophie and Martin married as soon as they could get to the courthouse. Martin has a beautiful home and he introduces her to Kat, who has not spoken since her mother died. They form a bond over time that becomes stronger with. Her relationship with Martin is very “distant” even when he is at home and not traveling for work. Then as the blurb states a woman appears on Sophie’s doorstep, her name is Belinda and these two will discover some incredible secrets about Martin!! After this the story really explodes with the sounds, smells and visions of what it would be like to try to find shelter during an earthquake. The people were not prepared in any way but the police helped as many as they could find shelter. WHAT WASN’T KNOCKED DOWN BY THE EARTHQUAKE WAS CONSUMED IN THE FIRES THAT RAGED FOR DAYS. Through the eyes of our main protagonist, we will envision what these events would look like, we can almost smell the fires and the smoke which permeated everything for weeks. Watch the ashes continuing to fall like snow throughout the city. The author’s notes are filled with additional research and information on the earthquake which today would have registered “a magnitude 7.9 on the Richter scale.” For Sophie, Belinda and Kat their trials are just beginning. They will unlock Martin’s secrets and are resolved to stay together as a group To divulge any more would spoil the story for the reader. I enjoyed this book tremendously and can highly recommend it. I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    MarilynW

    The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner (Author), Alana Kerr Collins (Narrator), Jason Culp (Narrator) It's the early 1900s and Sophie is a young Irish immigrant, running from a hurtful and possibly dangerous past in Ireland. Living in a squalid tenement in New York, she is anxious to escape this new life so answers an ad for a wife, placed by San Francisco widower, Martin Hocking. The man she meets when she arrives in San Francisco is extremely handsome but very cold and she finds she is The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner (Author), Alana Kerr Collins (Narrator), Jason Culp (Narrator) It's the early 1900s and Sophie is a young Irish immigrant, running from a hurtful and possibly dangerous past in Ireland. Living in a squalid tenement in New York, she is anxious to escape this new life so answers an ad for a wife, placed by San Francisco widower, Martin Hocking. The man she meets when she arrives in San Francisco is extremely handsome but very cold and she finds she is left on her own to raise his five year old daughter, while Martin travels for days on end, doing "insurance" work. But, Sophie now lives in a nice house, with her own room, has all that she needs to survive in a very comfortable manner, and she adores Martin's mute daughter, Kat. By the next year, 1906, Sophie loves Kat as if she was her own daughter and she does everything she can do to make up for Martin's coldness to Kat and herself.  On the eve of the massive San Francisco earthquake, April 18, 1906, Sophie and Kat's world is rocked when pregnant Belinda arrives on their doorstep looking for her husband. Soon the two women know that they are connected to other women, including Kat's mother, in devastating ways. Martin isn't just cold, he's evil and dangerous and they must get away from him before he causes more harm. But before they can leave, the earthquake hits and the women must work together to save themselves and Kat.  The earthquake plays a part in the story but in many ways, it's just a side character. This story is more about a devious and dangerous man who destroys all in his path and the women who attempt to continue on in life, after they know the true nature of this man. Sophie has the most to lose if all the events right before the earthquake are brought to light. But she also has her secrets of her time in Ireland that she must keep hidden. She is walking a tightrope of wanting to do what is best for Kat, who she feels is hers now, and allowing Kat to find her real mother, if possible. This is a story of good people getting caught in the snares of an evil man but also of good people coming together to help each other in times of physical and emotional upheaval.  There are a lot of places in this story where the characters seem to repeat words and phrases over and over. I'm not sure if I would have noticed this as much as I did if I had been reading the book rather than listening to it. Still, I enjoyed the book and I had no idea just how much damage and death was caused by the 1906 earthquake. Thanks to this story, I have another subject I want to research.  Published February 2nd 2021

  4. 5 out of 5

    Holly B

    Mysterious, riveting and hard to put down! A mail order bride named Sophie, from Ireland, marries a man she knows nothing about in 1906. She answers his ad and they settle into the home he has purchased in San Francisco. Its the most comfortable home Sophie has ever had and she adores his five year old daughter, Kat. Its not long before Sophie starts questioning her new husband's actions and his secrecy. She fears something isn't quite right. So much begins to happen, their world rocks, a mass Mysterious, riveting and hard to put down! A mail order bride named Sophie, from Ireland, marries a man she knows nothing about in 1906. She answers his ad and they settle into the home he has purchased in San Francisco. Its the most comfortable home Sophie has ever had and she adores his five year old daughter, Kat. Its not long before Sophie starts questioning her new husband's actions and his secrecy. She fears something isn't quite right. So much begins to happen, their world rocks, a massive earthquake hits San Francisco and BANG! things get complicated as they navigate the situation. I felt invested in the story and enjoyed the characters very much. A memorable story that was filled with suspense and the right amount of tension. Don't want to give any of the secrets away, so I'll leave it at that. Highly Recommend. Thanks Berkley/NG for my advanced review copy. OUT February 2, 2021 and still available on NG

  5. 4 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    ALL. THE. STARS. Susan Meissner completely swept me up with her exceptional storytelling, transporting me to San Francisco 1906 and into the lives of these characters. Sophie is an Irish immigrant who travels to San Francisco as a mail order bride. When Sophie meets Martin she is attracted to his luxe but not certain about his personality. His daughter Cat however completely captures Sophie‘s heart. As the bond between Sophie and Cat grows martin becomes more and more shady. Then one night a you ALL. THE. STARS. Susan Meissner completely swept me up with her exceptional storytelling, transporting me to San Francisco 1906 and into the lives of these characters. Sophie is an Irish immigrant who travels to San Francisco as a mail order bride. When Sophie meets Martin she is attracted to his luxe but not certain about his personality. His daughter Cat however completely captures Sophie‘s heart. As the bond between Sophie and Cat grows martin becomes more and more shady. Then one night a young pregnant woman shows up at Sophie‘s door and confirms Sophie‘s suspicions that she doesn’t know the man she married at all. The next day the earthquake strikes and the women find their lives even more deeply intwined. What follows is such a captivating tale of survival, family, Secrets, and love. This is a historical fiction book that will appeal to absolutely everyone. It was the perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery, and family drama. I absolutely fell in love with all these characters and was sad to say goodbye to them at the end of the story. The earthquake was so vividly described I almost thought I felt the earth shake. As a Californian I was surprised at how little I really knew about this historical Quake. It also made me realize how much better our infrastructure is now than it was then. I truly cannot say enough good things about this book! I strongly encourage everyone to read it! This book in emojis 🚂 💍 👩‍👧 ⛺️ 🍑 *** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    A terrific story set in in 1906 San Francisco, engaging characters and a plot that is intriguing and keeps the reader guessing right to the end. A lovely, easy to read historical fiction story. This is my second novel by Susan Messiner and I really enjoyed this mysterious and satisfying read. Sophie Whalen, a young Irish immigrant answers a mail order bride advertisement in the Newspaper and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. She wants to escape the tenements of New York and her poo A terrific story set in in 1906 San Francisco, engaging characters and a plot that is intriguing and keeps the reader guessing right to the end. A lovely, easy to read historical fiction story. This is my second novel by Susan Messiner and I really enjoyed this mysterious and satisfying read. Sophie Whalen, a young Irish immigrant answers a mail order bride advertisement in the Newspaper and agrees to marry a man she knows nothing about. She wants to escape the tenements of New York and her poorly paid job and is happy to embrace a new life even if it is with a man she has never met and his young daughter. April 18th 1906, a massive earthquake rocks San Francisco and also changes Sophie’s life forever. The nature of Fragile things engages the reader from the very first page and I enjoyed the mysterious aspect of the novel. I haven’t read anything previously on the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 and this was interesting and encourages me to seek out a non fiction account of this natural disaster. It’s a well written story, with dark secrets that the readers longs to untangle and three interesting and likeable women at the heart of the novel. Another novel for my favourites shelf and a lovely hard copy to add to my real life book shelf.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ink_Drinker

    Susan Meissner is a masterful story teller that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end!! She creates beautiful characters and lets them tell their story!! We begin with Sofie Whalen, an Irish immigrant, answering an advertisement in the paper to be the wife of Martin Hocking and mother to his six-year-old daughter Kat. Sofie, looking for a better life, packs her bags and moves from New York to California. She quickly falls in love with Kat and enjoys being her mother, but her feelings for Mar Susan Meissner is a masterful story teller that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end!! She creates beautiful characters and lets them tell their story!! We begin with Sofie Whalen, an Irish immigrant, answering an advertisement in the paper to be the wife of Martin Hocking and mother to his six-year-old daughter Kat. Sofie, looking for a better life, packs her bags and moves from New York to California. She quickly falls in love with Kat and enjoys being her mother, but her feelings for Martin never grow nor does Martin show any love towards her. On a night that Martin is out of town, a woman named Belinda knocks on the door of the Hocking home looking for him. Sofie invites her in and soon the secrets that Martin keeps start to unravel. These two women form an unlikely bond and venture to find some answers. Of course, neither of them knew what lied ahead. We are then transported to the 1906 earthquakes in San Francisco, California. Meissner provides a well-researched account of the devastation of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the fires that burned for days afterwards, destroying everything in its path. While reading, I could actually picture the ashes falling from the sky and smell the burning fire. If this earthquake happened today, it would be considered a 7.9 magnitude on the Richter scale. I’m not going to reveal any more about the intertwined lives of Sofie, Kat and Belinda. I don’t want to spoil a marvelous read for you. I would recommend this book to anyone that loves historical fiction, a story full of secrets, lies, love, loss, and female friendships. Everything a five-star read should be!! Thank you Edelweiss, Susan Meissner, and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me an Advanced Reader Copy of The Nature of Fragile Things in exchanged for my unbiased review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Libby

    3.5 stars rounded up “When people are thrown into an abyss and together find their way out of it, they are not the same people. They are bound to one another ever after, linked together at the core of who they are because it was together that they escaped a terrible fate. It doesn’t seem like Kat and I met Belinda only last Tuesday. It seems we have always known her.” The dramatic centerpiece of this novel is the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Author Susan Meissner gives credit to Malcolm E. 3.5 stars rounded up “When people are thrown into an abyss and together find their way out of it, they are not the same people. They are bound to one another ever after, linked together at the core of who they are because it was together that they escaped a terrible fate. It doesn’t seem like Kat and I met Belinda only last Tuesday. It seems we have always known her.” The dramatic centerpiece of this novel is the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Author Susan Meissner gives credit to Malcolm E. Barker’s book, ‘Three Fearful Days’ and its first hand accounts of the earthquake as being invaluable. Sophie Whalen is an Irish immigrant who landed in deplorable conditions in a New York tenement. Desperate to improve her life, she answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride. When she arrives in San Francisco to meet the handsome widower Martin Hocking, they go immediately to the courthouse to be married. It is Martin’s five-year-old daughter, mostly silent and grieving the loss of her mother that wins Sophie’s heart. Kat wins my heart, too. Kat is not hostile, she’s despondent and sad. It takes the steady drip-drip of Sophie’s attention and love to make incursions upon the walls that Kat has built. Martin travels for an insurance business and stays away from home for days, but he is a good provider. The day before the earthquake, a woman that Sophie doesn’t know shows up at her door. Martin is out of town. Events begin to cascade toward the earthquake that will occur the next morning. There were nearly half a million people living in San Francisco on that fateful day, all of them bent upon their own plans. The earthquake broke the water mains that lay underground as well as broke gas lines which erupted into fires. It is one of the largest natural disasters to hit America. 3,000 people died and half the population of San Francisco was left homeless by the fires and the effects of the earthquake. Meissner’s narrative causes me to think of all the people whose lives were changed in minutes when this disaster hits. Meissner shows the chaos and how lives were imperiled. Meissner does a fine job of delineating her characters, giving them full-fleshed lives. I enjoyed this novel, but for me, I missed something in Sophie, some spice possibly of interior dialog, something that would move me toward her a little more. She is a sympathetic character and I rooted for her, but still, I felt a little aloof. All in all however, a fine novel, and one I have no trouble recommending.

  9. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    **4.5-stars** When Sophie Whalen, an Irish immigrant, comes across an ad in a NYC-newspaper of a rich widower in search of a new wife, and mother for his young daughter, she doesn't think twice about it. She responds and puts herself forth for the position. She's got nothing to lose. The widower, Martin Hocking, lives in San Francisco and Sophie wants nothing more than to escape from New York. After she arrived from Ireland, her circumstances didn't end up as she expected. She's been living in an o **4.5-stars** When Sophie Whalen, an Irish immigrant, comes across an ad in a NYC-newspaper of a rich widower in search of a new wife, and mother for his young daughter, she doesn't think twice about it. She responds and puts herself forth for the position. She's got nothing to lose. The widower, Martin Hocking, lives in San Francisco and Sophie wants nothing more than to escape from New York. After she arrived from Ireland, her circumstances didn't end up as she expected. She's been living in an overcrowded tenement building, barely making ends meet. Upon arrival in San Francisco, Sophie marries Mr. Martin Hocking that very day at the city Courthouse. He then takes her home and introduces her to his 5-year old daughter, Kat. Kat is a beautiful girl, bright, though quite serious. The young girl has been silent since the loss of her mother. Sophie is taken with the child from the very start. She can tell sweet Kat is hurting and she vows to do whatever she can to make the child feel safe and loved. For his part, Martin is very handsome, as well as a good provider, but he is rarely around, traveling frequently for work. Even when he is home, he isn't affectionate with Sophie, or Kat. It is on one of these occasions while he is away, that a stranger comes knocking on Sophie's door and changes everything. Shocking revelations regarding Martin are revealed immediately prior to the entire city erupting in chaos. The year is 1906, and one of the most powerful earthquakes in history has just hit San Francisco. While the drama of this novel revolves around an earthquake, it felt like a roller coaster! The highs, lows, drops and turns that Sophie goes through were intense and emotional. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it does. Meissner has such a gift with storytelling. I am always transported while reading her novels and it is hard not to become attached to her characters. I do not read a lot of Historical Fiction, but I will continue to pick up anything Susan Meissner writes. I loved how she added a real mysterious tone to this novel. It's intriguing from start to finish; there was never a lull in the pace. This one didn't bring me to tears as some of her other novels have, but it was definitely impactful nonetheless. Sophie's story is one I will remember for a long time to come. Thank you so much to the publisher, Berkley Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I really appreciate it and look forward to Meissner's next release!

  10. 4 out of 5

    MicheleReader

    Sophie, a young Irish immigrant, is heading to San Francisco. She has answered a mail-order bride advertisement from a widowed man seeking a wife and a mother for his young child. It is a chance to escape the squalid conditions of the New York City tenement she’s been living in since coming to America. And a chance to be a mother, something she aches to be. Love, romance? Perhaps it will evolve. The newly formed family takes up residence in a lovely home near San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighbo Sophie, a young Irish immigrant, is heading to San Francisco. She has answered a mail-order bride advertisement from a widowed man seeking a wife and a mother for his young child. It is a chance to escape the squalid conditions of the New York City tenement she’s been living in since coming to America. And a chance to be a mother, something she aches to be. Love, romance? Perhaps it will evolve. The newly formed family takes up residence in a lovely home near San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood. Husband Martin provides everything she could possibly need. As they settle in, Sophie accepts that her new husband travels frequently and doesn’t reveal much of himself to her. She realizes that something about Martin isn’t quite right. But it’s all worth it as her relationship with her stepdaughter Kat grows. She loves the young child and is helping Kat recover from the loss of her mother. When it comes 1906, we know that the historic earthquake will soon take place. It is best not to reveal more of what happens to Sophie and her family. Author Susan Meissner is one of those talented writers who has the ability to truly transport you back in time. The Nature of Fragile Things takes the reader on an incredible journey. The massive impact of the earthquake and its aftermath will make it hard to put this book down. It’s a great work of Historical Fiction with suspense and strong characters. And like other Meissner books, it will tug at your heartstrings and keep you guessing as to what’s to come. Review posted on MicheleReader.com.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    "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." THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS is a wonderful and absorbing story of survival, friendship, and motherhood. Set during the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, this work of historical fiction weaves together a bit of mystery and an emotional family drama with characters I won't soon forget. Sophie is an Irish immigrant who answers a mail-order bride ad placed by a man in San "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." THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS is a wonderful and absorbing story of survival, friendship, and motherhood. Set during the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, this work of historical fiction weaves together a bit of mystery and an emotional family drama with characters I won't soon forget. Sophie is an Irish immigrant who answers a mail-order bride ad placed by a man in San Francisco. It seems like widower Martin Hocking can provide her with the life she craves — a comfortable home far away from the slums in New York City, and a child to raise named Kat, the young daughter of Martin and his deceased wife. Sophie's relationship with her new husband is odd, and sometimes his behavior is unusual, but she has security and a family, and that's what matters. That is, until a very pregnant woman named Belinda shows up at her house the night before the great earthquake. The lives Sophie, Kat, and Belinda have known are about to come crashing down figuratively & literally! I won't go further into the plot, but just know that if you're a fan of 20th century historical fiction, I highly recommend THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS. Susan Meissner is a gifted story teller who creates complicated characters readers will understand and enjoy. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Norma

    Captivating, mysterious, and absorbing! THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS by SUSAN MEISSNER is such a beautifully written suspenseful and heartfelt historical fiction that kept me interested right to the very end. The story was entertaining, emotional, and powerful. Thank you so much to NetGalley, Berkley Publishing, and Susan Meissner for my review copy!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Literary Redhead

    I love Susan Meissner’s hf novels and her newest is a real page-turner with twists and secrets amid the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Meissner writes so convincingly that we feel the earth tremble, see buildings crack into kindling, watch massive fires engulf the city. We become immersed in the story of Sophie, an Irish immigrant who answers a mail order bride ad and moves to San Fran to marry widower Martin. Each has a past as explosive as the earthquake that erupts soon after she I love Susan Meissner’s hf novels and her newest is a real page-turner with twists and secrets amid the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Meissner writes so convincingly that we feel the earth tremble, see buildings crack into kindling, watch massive fires engulf the city. We become immersed in the story of Sophie, an Irish immigrant who answers a mail order bride ad and moves to San Fran to marry widower Martin. Each has a past as explosive as the earthquake that erupts soon after she arrives. Meissner covers her characters with compassion as she strips them bare during world calamities. In AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN, it was the 1918 flu epidemic. In SECRETS OF A CHARMED LIFE, it was the London blitz. She’s one of my favorite authors precisely because she gives hope in darkness, as she does in THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS. A perfect tale for our times! 5 of 5 Stars Thanks to the author, Berkley Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the ARC. Opinions are mine. Pub Date 02 Feb 2021 #TheNatureofFragileThings #NetGalley

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Adventurous Sophie becomes a mail order bride after answering an advert to marry a man she’s never met. She moves from a tenement in New York city to San Francisco and in the process becomes a wife and step-mom to a little girl. Her new home is lovely and she’s drawn to her new daughter Kat immediately. Her husband, although handsome, is a little aloof but this suits Sophie as well. As she adjusts to her new life, Sophie becomes more settled until one day a knock at the door changes everything. D Adventurous Sophie becomes a mail order bride after answering an advert to marry a man she’s never met. She moves from a tenement in New York city to San Francisco and in the process becomes a wife and step-mom to a little girl. Her new home is lovely and she’s drawn to her new daughter Kat immediately. Her husband, although handsome, is a little aloof but this suits Sophie as well. As she adjusts to her new life, Sophie becomes more settled until one day a knock at the door changes everything. Described as a historical novel, this is much more. Using the 1906 San Francisco earthquake as the backdrop, the story combines history, women’s literature, and a dark mystery. Gluing the story together are three unique women and the bonds they form in difficult and unusual circumstances. This book flowed for me and was another fun buddy read with Mary Beth. Thank you to The Book Depository where I purchased a hardback copy. I loved this so much that I'll probably re-read at some point and may purchase extras as gifts. It's that good!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)

    3.5stars The good a person does far outweighs the evil done by another. This was an interesting nicely done tale of an Irish immigrant's battle against the evil man she finds herself married to. She becomes a savior to a child and two other women all with a backdrop of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. 3.5stars The good a person does far outweighs the evil done by another. This was an interesting nicely done tale of an Irish immigrant's battle against the evil man she finds herself married to. She becomes a savior to a child and two other women all with a backdrop of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    San Francisco, 1906. Sophie Hocking is questioned by the US Marshal. Her husband is missing, and she waited six weeks after the San Francisco earthquake to report him missing. Why? A year earlier. Sophie after emigrating from Ireland to NYC is now traveling to San Francisco. She is to marry a widower with a five-year-old daughter who placed an advertisement looking for a wife and mother to his child. He wanted someone from the East coast where he was from. Someone he didn’t need to cuddle and who San Francisco, 1906. Sophie Hocking is questioned by the US Marshal. Her husband is missing, and she waited six weeks after the San Francisco earthquake to report him missing. Why? A year earlier. Sophie after emigrating from Ireland to NYC is now traveling to San Francisco. She is to marry a widower with a five-year-old daughter who placed an advertisement looking for a wife and mother to his child. He wanted someone from the East coast where he was from. Someone he didn’t need to cuddle and who could step into a role he needed her to play. As soon as she arrives in San Francisco, she notices his absence more than she anticipated, as he works for insurance company which frequently takes him on the road. He seems to be taking care of lots of details; details he doesn’t name. She gets “accustomed to knowing very little about his stints on the road or even about his occupation…” until someone appears at her doorstep. A young pregnant woman is looking for her missing husband. Now, the questions are mounting. I enjoyed the character of Sophie very much. You can hear the Irish when she rolls words off her tongue. When she describes her first steps as an immigrant - a very poor one - subletting a room the size of a pantry with four other tenants. You see it with your own eyes the hardship she experienced and what propelled her to answer to an advertisement and to travel across the country. You can feel her infectious love for the five-year-old girl. And you can feel her contagious excitement to meet her new neighbor across the street, only to realize that she is being treated as a charity case. She is a strong woman who doesn’t need a charity friendship. She wants real friends. The aftermath of the earthquake is vividly presented, with aftershocks and with fires burning for three days resulting in a massive devastation of the city. The parks or any green space, or any pew in a church are filled with evacuees and injured. You can sense helplessness in finding someone missing. And witness some opportunistic people taking advantage of the situation and charging exorbitant fees for their services. Seamlessly woven story with intricately developed characters that takes a reader on a fast-paced journey. Mystery unrolls with each page. It is engaging from the very first page to the very last one. The plotting convincingly immerses a reader in the events, both historical and fictional. P.S. Previously read only As Bright As Heaven by this author which I highly recommend. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Review originally posted at mysteryandsuspense.com

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    A mail-order husband that turned out to be perfect until one morning a knock at the door shattered Sophie’s life. Actually there are two more women whose lives are shattered by Sophie’s husband. THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS takes us into the lives of Sophie, Belinda, Candace, and six-year-old Kat. Each woman has a different story, but Martin, Sophie’s husband, is at the center of all of them. This book was about life’s choices, the resilience of women, the beauty of friendship, the support women g A mail-order husband that turned out to be perfect until one morning a knock at the door shattered Sophie’s life. Actually there are two more women whose lives are shattered by Sophie’s husband. THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS takes us into the lives of Sophie, Belinda, Candace, and six-year-old Kat. Each woman has a different story, but Martin, Sophie’s husband, is at the center of all of them. This book was about life’s choices, the resilience of women, the beauty of friendship, the support women give each other, and an added bit of mystery. You will wonder where it is heading in the beginning, and it heads to another marvelous book by Susan Meissner. Ms. Meissner wove the story line around her well-researched account of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake which added to the tension and beauty of this book. This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    ‘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.’ Meissners has become one of my favorite historical fiction writers. I have thoroughly enjoyed several of her previous novels, however, this one lacked the same historical detailing she usually brings to her stories. Her talent lies in her unique ability to immerse her readers right into the heart of historical events and I felt that immersion was lacking in this story. While I ‘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.’ Meissners has become one of my favorite historical fiction writers. I have thoroughly enjoyed several of her previous novels, however, this one lacked the same historical detailing she usually brings to her stories. Her talent lies in her unique ability to immerse her readers right into the heart of historical events and I felt that immersion was lacking in this story. While I did enjoyed it I wish that it had focused more on the earthquake and less on the relationships. 4 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    I always enjoy Susan Meissner's books and this one was no exception. The story of a woman from Ireland who becomes a mail order bride to a widower in San Francisco in order to provide a mother for his young daughter. Sophie doesn't love Martin, but she gradually starts to love Kat, his daughter. Then she has a mysterious visitor and everything she thought she knew turns on its head. The next morning, the San Francisco earthquake hits and nothing is the same again. Once Sophie got her mysterious v I always enjoy Susan Meissner's books and this one was no exception. The story of a woman from Ireland who becomes a mail order bride to a widower in San Francisco in order to provide a mother for his young daughter. Sophie doesn't love Martin, but she gradually starts to love Kat, his daughter. Then she has a mysterious visitor and everything she thought she knew turns on its head. The next morning, the San Francisco earthquake hits and nothing is the same again. Once Sophie got her mysterious visitor I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out what was going to happen. There are a large number of twists and turns to the story, and the backdrop of 1906 San Francisco before and after the earthquake is riveting. I loved the way the characters created a family even when they weren't related by blood. I really liked how, particularly the women, formed a solidarity in the face of situations that would cause them to despair. The only shortfall in this book (and it's really minor) was that there was never any real hardship. Even after the quake, money was never an issue, they weren't injured, and I never got a true sense of the devastation and loss from the quake because of it. However, that really wasn't the overall point of the story, so it truly is a minor issue. The characters are well drawn and fascinating and I loved how the story came full circle at the end. There is a great sense of finality and conclusion with the epilogue which was the perfect ending to the tale. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    4.5 stars. Susan Meissner’s latest release is terrific!! It’s full of twists and turns that reads like a mystery/thriller, and takes place around the devastating 1906 San Fransisco earthquake. I liked how the author used that unique element in her book, as I knew nothing about that time in our history. Sophie Whalen, an immigrant from Ireland, is quite an interesting woman, setting herself apart from women of that era (she’s mighty fierce too!) Sophie, along with two other women, Beatrice and Ca 4.5 stars. Susan Meissner’s latest release is terrific!! It’s full of twists and turns that reads like a mystery/thriller, and takes place around the devastating 1906 San Fransisco earthquake. I liked how the author used that unique element in her book, as I knew nothing about that time in our history. Sophie Whalen, an immigrant from Ireland, is quite an interesting woman, setting herself apart from women of that era (she’s mighty fierce too!) Sophie, along with two other women, Beatrice and Candice, are very resourceful and loyal to a T, forming tight bonds in a very short time. I enjoyed how the author brought all three of their stories together, the horrible secrets they uncovered, and that little Katherine was cared for and well-loved by all three women was comforting to know. I worried for her due to everything she overheard. Sophie’s backstory was so heartbreaking, but she was determined to achieve what she wanted in life. I loved the ending turning out the way it did, that was the cherry on top!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Deanne Patterson

    How does one write a review for a book as fabulous as this one? I am still trying to grasp and come to terms with what happened in it and the very unexpected ending! The writing was very atmospheric, the descriptions surely made me feel as though I was there experiencing the earthquake and subsequent fire it caused. I was honestly memorized by the writing and when not reading the book was thinking about it and how things would progress. A remarkable woman rises from a life of despair and poverty and How does one write a review for a book as fabulous as this one? I am still trying to grasp and come to terms with what happened in it and the very unexpected ending! The writing was very atmospheric, the descriptions surely made me feel as though I was there experiencing the earthquake and subsequent fire it caused. I was honestly memorized by the writing and when not reading the book was thinking about it and how things would progress. A remarkable woman rises from a life of despair and poverty and instead of feeling sorry for herself she is able to call upon a superb inner strength and not only make things better for herself but the women around her. Her strength rises from the ashes surrounding her in 1906 San Francisco with an unstoppable force not to be denied. A web of lies,dark secrets,deception and lives irrevocably shattered never to be pieced together again as they were . If you read just one historical book this year make it this one! Pub Date 02 Feb 2021 I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    A great story with lovely characters, all except Martin. What a cad of the highest order! Sophie is an industrious, curious and smart woman despite the fact that she traveled cross-country to marry a man she’d never met as she got off a train. She would soon find out that though her lifestyle would become more comfortable, her husband was mostly absent even during the rare times he was home. Martin traveled for work weeks on end, sharing few details and those shared were pretty sketchy. He was a A great story with lovely characters, all except Martin. What a cad of the highest order! Sophie is an industrious, curious and smart woman despite the fact that she traveled cross-country to marry a man she’d never met as she got off a train. She would soon find out that though her lifestyle would become more comfortable, her husband was mostly absent even during the rare times he was home. Martin traveled for work weeks on end, sharing few details and those shared were pretty sketchy. He was a handsome yet disconcerting man of few words and I could feel his piercing eyes. Motherly Sophie embraced Martin’s 5-year old daughter Kat as her own from the start. Sophie and Kat were so much better off without Martin around. I loved sweet Kat, a quiet girl of few words and wise beyond her years. She captured my heart. Their lives change forever when a major earthquake strikes. There was much mystery surrounding Martin. Why suddenly marry a stranger from the East Coast but then be so cold and distant to her? What did he really do on the road? There was a satisfying outcome. The story came together and everything made sense. I was hooked from beginning to end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    TITLE: THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS AUTHOR: Susan Meissner SERIES: Standalone RELEASE DATE: Febuary 2, 2021 GENRE: Historical Fiction THEMES & TROPES: Polygamous Husband, Earthquake San Francisco 1906 RATING: 4.5 Stars CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG 4.5 STARS I grabbed this one on a whim because I read the blurb and was drawn to it. I'm glad I did! I don't know much about the early 20th century but I did know about the big earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. This story follows a hopeful TITLE: THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS AUTHOR: Susan Meissner SERIES: Standalone RELEASE DATE: Febuary 2, 2021 GENRE: Historical Fiction THEMES & TROPES: Polygamous Husband, Earthquake San Francisco 1906 RATING: 4.5 Stars CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG 4.5 STARS I grabbed this one on a whim because I read the blurb and was drawn to it. I'm glad I did! I don't know much about the early 20th century but I did know about the big earthquake in San Francisco in 1906. This story follows a hopeful Sophie, an Irish immigrant who comes to California to flee poverty in New York to marry a man she hasn't even met yet. Every step toward the ramp to the pier is taking me farther away from who I am and closer to who I am going to be.  The author leaves bread crumbs every couple of chapters that keep you completely engaged and immersed in the story and builds up the anticipation for the other shoe to drop. What I didn't expect was the suspenseful plot. I just couldn't stop reading. I loved Sophie who was so smart and planned five steps ahead to stay on top of her polygamous husband and whose love for her stepdaughter was very moving and sweet. Her courage in the face of the tragedy of the earthquake and her clearheaded actions I admired so much. She was wise beyond her 22 years. When people are thrown into an abyss and together find their way out of it, they are not the same people. They are bound to each other ever after, linked together at the core of who they are because it was together that they escaped a terrible fate.  This turned out to be quite a page turner. The historical facts are sparse and not overwhelming but enough to set the scene and makes the story come alive. The authors descriptions make the story vivid and I didn't feel like only an observer but someone seeing, feeling, smelling, tasting the ash, fire and devastation in the middle of the tragedy. Furthermore, it's so bizarre to see how easy identity theft was before the internet connected the world. This is a story about friendship found in unexpected places, the resilience of humans and new beginnings. I'll definitely read more from this Susan Meissner, who has an amazing storytelling gift! Martin was wrong about me. I wasn't running when I married him. I was making something new. Starting over. Beginning again. 

  24. 5 out of 5

    Esil

    The Nature of Fragile Things is not a writing masterpiece or particularly deep but it was a compelling story and I found it hard to put down. Set in the early 20th century in California, the story starts around the time of the San Francisco earthquake and focuses on the story Sophie tells about her marriage to a man she meets through a newspaper advertisement. From the beginning, we know that the man disappeared during the earthquake and that Sophie did not report him missing until some time lat The Nature of Fragile Things is not a writing masterpiece or particularly deep but it was a compelling story and I found it hard to put down. Set in the early 20th century in California, the story starts around the time of the San Francisco earthquake and focuses on the story Sophie tells about her marriage to a man she meets through a newspaper advertisement. From the beginning, we know that the man disappeared during the earthquake and that Sophie did not report him missing until some time later. There are multiple layers of mystery in the story so I will say no more to avoid spoilers. I liked Sophie's personality and her voice. I liked the slow unveiling of the mysteries. I liked how the story ended. Good entertaining novel with plenty of drama and feel good moments. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me access to an advance copy.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    his is an incredible story of a young Irish immigrant who comes to San Francisco as a mail order bride and finds herself struggling to survive in the aftermath of the 1906 earthquake.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Wendy'sThoughts

    4.5 Worth the Time Stars * * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free When I first discovered this book, I was intrigued with the idea of the great San Francisco Earthquake as the pivot point. Years ago I lived in the San Francisco Area and so I had experienced firsthand what those earthquakes felt like. No, they were not as bad as the major ones San Francisco has experienced, but the fear and concern was something you never forget. So I started this early in the day and could not stop reading it.I was captured and a 4.5 Worth the Time Stars * * * * 1/2 Spoiler Free When I first discovered this book, I was intrigued with the idea of the great San Francisco Earthquake as the pivot point. Years ago I lived in the San Francisco Area and so I had experienced firsthand what those earthquakes felt like. No, they were not as bad as the major ones San Francisco has experienced, but the fear and concern was something you never forget. So I started this early in the day and could not stop reading it.I was captured and a willing participant in my not being able to do anything else. I loved the way this story was structured, how you felt you were back in time, and the anticipation of what was to come...because we knew much was about to happen and it wasn't all having to do with the earthquake. Oh, No...this book has so much more happening. I do not want to spoil anything about it, so all I will say is our women in this book are strong. They are each special. The story touched me and my eyes may have had a little dust in them, causing a tear or two. This book is a gem and did I mention I read it in one sitting...a full day and into the night sitting but so worth it. A gifted copy was provided by the Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley for an honest review. For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    ANOTHER HOME RUN for Meissner! I have read most of Susan Meissner's books and if you are a fan as am I, this should be a hit for you. The publisher's blurb essentially encapsulates the initial plot and I will not rehash what happens after the earthquake of 1906 San Francisco for fear of being spoilerish for enthusiastic readers. Once again, Meissner creates some interesting characters which develop throughout the story. I felt there could have been a tad bit more showing instead of telling, howev ANOTHER HOME RUN for Meissner! I have read most of Susan Meissner's books and if you are a fan as am I, this should be a hit for you. The publisher's blurb essentially encapsulates the initial plot and I will not rehash what happens after the earthquake of 1906 San Francisco for fear of being spoilerish for enthusiastic readers. Once again, Meissner creates some interesting characters which develop throughout the story. I felt there could have been a tad bit more showing instead of telling, however, that is only because she is such a talented writer, thus I expect just a bit more than delivered but this is a minor criticism and the story was very solid. The descriptions of the resulting fires that devastated the region as the gas lines broke was quite vivid and very realistic, this was one of the strongest parts of the story for me. Sophie's loving devotion to Martin's daughter, Kat seemed genuine although a tad belabored. I did enjoy how she put Kat's needs as her top priority. Likewise, she showed her compassion toward another, that many other people may not have felt necessary, so her altruism propels the reader to become greatly invested in Sophie's life's outcome. San Francisco at the time of its great earthquake is a setting I've encountered before, however, Meissner provides an intriguing setting. The city as a character was captivating. At the time, San Francisco was a very advanced city with house phones, gas appliances and some wealthier homes were already wired and using electric lights. A booming town at the turn of the century, it took a great deal of labor and money to restore and rebuild after such tremendous devastation. This setting greatly enhanced the plot. I was enthralled by the story and found myself reading 100 or more pages in one sitting and many hours into the night beyond that which is typical. Meissner is the consummate storyteller and as always I eagerly await her next release.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I have read almost all of Susan Meissner's novels (except for As Bright As Heaven, which I may save until after the pandemic) and have enjoyed them all so far. However, The Nature of Fragile Things is her best one yet! I have been recommending this to family and friends to read as soon as it publishes in early February. This was such an interesting and captivating story, full of surprises that I truly didn't see coming at all. Through Susan's use of detail and description, I could really visuali I have read almost all of Susan Meissner's novels (except for As Bright As Heaven, which I may save until after the pandemic) and have enjoyed them all so far. However, The Nature of Fragile Things is her best one yet! I have been recommending this to family and friends to read as soon as it publishes in early February. This was such an interesting and captivating story, full of surprises that I truly didn't see coming at all. Through Susan's use of detail and description, I could really visualize San Francisco during the earthquake. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and was rooting for everything to work out for Sophie. I highly recommend this to fans of historical fiction, especially writers like Fiona Davis and Camille Di Maio. I also recommend it to anyone who wants a great novel. I added it the list of favorite books I read in 2020 over at my personal blog, as well. Movie casting ideas: Sophie: Saoirse Ronan (especially after seeing her in Brooklyn)Martin: Tyler HoechlinBelinda: Ellie BamberElliot: Charlie McDermottLibby: Jessica Amlee

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol (Reading Ladies)

    4.5 Stars Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complementary e arc of #TheNatureOfFragileThings upon my request. All opinions are my own. Desperate to leave a deplorable situation in New York City, Sophie Whalen, a young Irish immigrant, agrees to become a mail-order bride. Sophie marries the handsome, but aloof, widower named Martin Hocking and becomes attached to his five-year-old daughter. Martin is away from home frequently. During one absence, a mysterious visitor knocks on 4.5 Stars Thanks #NetGalley @BerkleyPub #BerkleyBuddyReads for my complementary e arc of #TheNatureOfFragileThings upon my request. All opinions are my own. Desperate to leave a deplorable situation in New York City, Sophie Whalen, a young Irish immigrant, agrees to become a mail-order bride. Sophie marries the handsome, but aloof, widower named Martin Hocking and becomes attached to his five-year-old daughter. Martin is away from home frequently. During one absence, a mysterious visitor knocks on Sophie’s door and from that moment on, their lives are intertwined. The great San Francisco earthquake of 1906 is just one of the traumatic events they will face together. E A R T H Q U A K E ! ! ! If you live in an area of the country that is prone to earthquakes as I do, Meissner’s story will affect you on a personal and practical level. Where would you go when your house is falling down around you? How will you care for those in your care? Would you have the courage to live in a tent city as you watch beloved neighborhoods burn? Now imagine yourself in 1906…. Where are the first responders? Where is the fire department? The paramedics? Where is the Red Cross? How will you get fresh water? Blankets? Where can two women and a young girl sleep safely? Now imagine yourself giving birth in these circumstances! It wasn’t difficult for me to imagine myself in this earthquake! I love a strong character! Sophie is compassionate, caring, loyal, brave, and determined. At this time in history, women didn’t have a great deal of resources when they found themselves victims of an earthquake or when mistreated or betrayed by a man. Even if mistreatment was reported, the police often sided with the men. Women learned to rely on themselves and the strength and wisdom of women around them. The Nature of Fragile Things explores the bonds of friendship and unconditional support between three women….each mistreated by Martin. Each woman is a complex character and strong in her own way; together they work a daring plan to save themselves. The Nature of Fragile Things is a mix of genres: historical fiction/suspense/mystery/women’s fiction. I think this makes for an interesting and complex read! Historical facts about the San Francisco earthquake are well researched; we wonder where Martin is and what he’s up to through most of the story which adds some suspense; a detective questions Sophie throughout the story (in present day) and causes us to wonder if he will bring charges against her; we are concerned about the fate of Martin as a result of the earthquake; and we are presented with issues important to women. The Nature of Fragile Things is a complex story and has some thoughtful and powerful themes including friendship, working together, trust, community, found family, survival, second chances, actions taken in desperation, moral ambiguity, and women in vulnerable circumstances. Trigger Warnings/Content Consideration: brief reference to spousal abuse and miscarriage Highly Recommended for fans of Susan Meissner’s, for readers who love a histfic genre mash up; for those who might be interested in reading about imagined lives experiencing the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and for book clubs. If I were in book club, I would definitely want to discuss moral ambiguity. Meissner is an auto-buy author for me, and you can depend on her for a solid read! Three favorite books by Susan Meissner: A Fall of Marigolds (my favorite of hers!), As Bright As Heaven (a favorite, too!), The Last Year of the War. For more reviews visit my blog (where this review was first published) www.readingladies.com

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura • lauralovestoread

    5/5 would recommend! I absolutely love being back to my historical fiction-loving roots and Susan Meissner has been a favorite author for me since reading A Fall of Marigolds, and then later with As Bright As Heaven. The Nature of Fragile Things was so good and took place in a part of history, during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, that I previously hadn’t read much about. There were complex characters, a compelling storyline full of mystery, and overall exceptional writing, making this the 5/5 would recommend! I absolutely love being back to my historical fiction-loving roots and Susan Meissner has been a favorite author for me since reading A Fall of Marigolds, and then later with As Bright As Heaven. The Nature of Fragile Things was so good and took place in a part of history, during the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, that I previously hadn’t read much about. There were complex characters, a compelling storyline full of mystery, and overall exceptional writing, making this the total package for me when it comes to HF. *many thanks to Berkley for the gifted copy for review. All opinions are my own

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