The Nature of Fragile Things - Susan Meissner

The Nature of Fragile Things

By Susan Meissner

  • Release Date: 2021-02-02
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
From 134 Ratings


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.


  • Great audiobook

    By ShellyMLindgren
    This weeks’ library audiobook was pretty good and I highly recommend it. If you listen to audiobooks before bed, you might not get your full nights sleep when listening to this book. The setting is early 1900s when a huge earthquake happens in California & San Francisco burns for days. In short, it’s about a “mail-order bride” (Irish immigrant living in New York, her life is a shambles and she finds a newspaper ad placed by a wealthy widow in CA looking for a wife to be a mother to his 5-year-old daughter). Of course, everything is not as it seems and you’ve got yourself a page turner. The Irish accent for our main character, Sophie, is wonderful and mesmerizing. Every few chapters there’s an interviewer (cop) speaking with Sophie in what I can only describe as a “Dragnet” style which I really enjoyed and helped to accentuate the time period of the story. Great audiobook narration! Sophie’s narrator: Alana Kerr Collins Cop Narrator: Jason Culp
  • Love this book!

    By Trbroome
    This is my first book by Susan Meissner, but definitely not my last!