Saturday, February 20, 2021

2021 - #26 - The Nature of Fragile Things, Susan Meissner

 


TITLE/AUTHOR:  The Nature of Fragile Things, Susan Meissner

PUBLISHERBerkley

YEAR PUBLISHED:  2021

GENRE: Fiction / Historical

FORMAT:  eGalley PP/LENGTH: 384pp

SOURCE:  NetGalley download

SETTING(s):  San Francisco, CA


ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY:  A compelling story of marriage based on convenience and deceit and the great SF earthquake of 1906.


BRIEF REVIEW:  Sophie is a young woman who has immigrated from Ireland to New York City in 1906 in hopes of a better life.  Her living conditions in NY are deplorable and she is desperate to get out of her current situation.  She decides to respond to an ad for a "mail order bride," to a handsome widower with a five year old daughter who lives in San Francisco.  Traveling to San Francisco alone, she and Martin Hocking are quickly married.

Martin is polite and provides a nice place for the three of them to live but, her marriage isn't as she had imagined. They have separate bedrooms, he is very short with his answers about his family and work and he is frequently away from home. Despite this, Sophie loves being a mother to young Kat, a girl who rarely speaks and seems traumatized by what has happened in her short life.  Just as Sophie begins to piece together secrets about Martin's past, a stranger appears at Sophie's door and she soon realizes that her only option is to leave but, at the same time a massive earthquake hits the area.

Without giving out spoilers, and there are plenty out there if you read the reviews, this is a page-turning, character driven novel with a nice mystery element. Rich in historical detail of early 1900's, S.F., I rooted for Sophie all the way. She is a strong, determined, resilient young woman who has been through so much. She made a beautiful friend, neighbor and replacement mother for Kat.  I loved the writing and how the secrets were slowly revealed. Try this one, even if historical fiction really isn't your thing, it's a story that will stick with you

RATING: 4.5/5 stars

23 comments:

  1. Historical fiction really isn't my thing, but I love your thoughts so I might be adding to my list.

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    1. Vicki, I was never drawn to historical fiction either but, this one has made me start another historical novel called Band of Sisters which I am enjoying as well even though I just started.

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  2. WOW, that sounds really interesting!

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  3. Nice review. This book does indeed sound intriguing.

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    1. It pulled me in Dorothy and was an easy story to follow - sometimes, authors make stories too frustrating to follow.

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  4. Sounds quite good to me. You are really on a roll with your reading so far this year!

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    1. Yes, I'm really happy with most of my selections in 2021. BTW, Today I picked up the Ann Cleeves book from the library - the one you read recently.

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  5. I do like historical fiction. Thanks for the heads up!

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  6. I'm into this. Sophie's story and the great earthquake are competing for my interest.

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    1. It is less about the earthquake and more about Sophie's story.

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  7. I like the sound of this one. The disappointment post-mail-order bride sounds fascinating.

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    1. The mystery element only enhanced the overall story. Easy read as well.

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  8. I've been reading good things about this one and it's set in a time period that I haven't read much about so on the TBR list it goes!

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    1. Yes, it is a different time period. I just started another historical called Band of Sisters, a WWI story about a group of Smith College women.

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  9. There seems to be a lot of San Fran-set novels this year. The earthquake part of it intrigues me. thanks.

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  10. I really enjoyed this one. Meissner is a go-to author for me for historical fiction.

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  11. The mail order bride aspect puts me off but the mystery element appeals to me.

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  12. I've read several good reviews about this book so I'll keep this in mind.

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