the nature of fragile things by susan meissner, 384 pp
Two reads of Susan Meissner in a two-month period. Not a bad thing! I received a signed copy of The Nature of Fragile Things from a pre-order placed with Susan’s local indie store, Warwick’s. She kindly included a few extra goodies with the shipment, such as photos of what she imagined the main characters looked like and their house in San Francisco in 1906 – the year of the Great Earthquake. Meissner succeeds once again in planting her story within a major historical event and branching out from there to create plotlines influenced by that event. I fell in love with Sophie, the main character, a mail order bride who arrives in San Francisco to marry a man and become an immediate mother to his young daughter. Similar to Fall of Marigolds and Meissner’s other brilliant historical fiction, As Bright as Heaven, duplicity and hidden identities play a major role as the story unfolds. I don’t know if by living in CA, Susan has experienced any earthquake tremors, but her terrifying descriptions had me running for the nearest doorway (I think that’s what you’re supposed to do). Quick pauses of an interrogation scene throughout the story adds intrigue as you turn every page to learn the backstory. I wonder what significant historical event Susan will delve into next? Can’t wait to find out.
That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.Jhumpa Lahiri
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