The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

I love Susan Meissner’s writing, so I was excited to see this one come up on Net Galley. It tells the story of Sophie Whelan, who answers an ad to be the wife of a widower in San Francisco and stepmother to his young daughter. Sophie is an Irish immigrant who can’t wait to get free of NYC and she loves her new life in San Francisco with a lovely home, plenty of money, and most of all, her daughter whom she bonds with right away. But everything is not as it seems, especially with her quiet and secretive husband, and Sophie stands to lose all that she holds dear. In the midst of this, the 1906 earthquake occurs and Sophie and little Kat struggle to survive.

I couldn’t put this one down! I loved this story – I often love to read about California in the past. I loved the character of Sophie and how she was so resilient.

Highly recommended if you like historical fiction!

Thank you for my review copy!


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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