Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Nature of Fragile Things, by Susan Meissner {ends 2/24}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

As we settle in for the night and just as the last light of day leaves us, National Guardsmen walk through the park to announce that a curfew has been set in the park and in the city. No one is to be out and about after sundown or before sunup. No one is allowed to return to areas where the fires have raged nor where the fires are headed. The mayor has declared that any looters will be shot on sight. No candles are allowed of any kind anywhere and no cooking fires inside any structure, as that very thing was the cause of one of the fires now burning out of control. No liquor is to be sold to anyone for any reason. We are also told army tents will arrive early tomorrow morning, but that tonight we must make do with whatever we can. We are not to worry about the fires approaching the park while we sleep. The army has positioned troops outside the park to watch for them.

The guardsmen move on to repeat their announcements over and over to the hundreds upon hundreds of us spread out on the park’s lawn.

The earthquake and subsequent fires make for an eventful story on their own. Add in multifaceted characters each with their own agenda and the book gets really exciting.

Official synopsis:
Book 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.

Drama and deceit seems to carry on regardless of whatever else is happening in the world. The historical setting for the realization of the evil deeds of one man against several women both multiplied and helped erase the coping and revenge that followed. A lot can be disguised during a major earthquake and the burning of most of a city.

This book had interesting characters from all walks of life. Sophie obviously had a past the reader didn’t know everything about. Martin was an adequate husband, but where did he go for a few days at a time, over and over? Poor nearly-orphaned Kat was the most tragic—a five-year-old who had already stopped talking over the loss of her mother—was there something more in her past she wasn’t telling? These were the only three main characters for the first half of the book, but on the night before the earthquake, a stranger shows up at their door and everyone’s stories start unraveling.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The historical part of the fiction was so revealing of what living through the earthquake and subsequent fires in 1906 may have been like. The intrigue and story of the women’s lives and their connections was also so interesting. The book was impossible to put down until all the storylines were untangled. I’d recommend this for any reader who enjoys historical fiction or drama stories. The epilogue was also quite tidy about wrapping up the loose ends. I love when that happens!

{click HERE to purchase}

Becki Bayley loves her uneventful life. She is a wife and mother who works and reads. Find more of her book reviews at


One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Nature of Fragile Things

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Wednesday, February 24th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be contacted the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Nature of Fragile Things, by Susan Meissner


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