“Meissner’s prose is exquisite, and she is a stunning storyteller.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
Now in paperback!
A mail-order bride desperate to get out of New York marries a mysterious San Francisco widower whose 5-year-old child does not speak, but her hastily cobbled-together happiness is forever changed by a massive earthquake that shakes up everything…
(starred review, Publishers Weekly)
Pre-order now: Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Bookshop.org, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powells, Target, Amazon.
1905 – Sophie Whalen is a young Irish immigrant so anxious to get out of a Lower Manhattan 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. Here is a novel about the bonds of friendship and mother love, and the power of female solidarity…
Praise for this book!
“Ingeniously plotted and perfectly structured, this captivates from beginning to end.” – Publishers Weekly.
“The novel is fast-paced and suspenseful…” – San Francisco Chronicle
“Vividly rendered in the chaos and mass destruction of the historic earthquake, Meissner’s latest is a testament to the strength and solidarity of women in crisis.” – Library Journal
“Meissner’s latest is her best yet, an ultimately uplifting story of strong women and found family.” – Booklist
“In The Nature of Fragile Things, the talented Susan Meissner spins a mysterious web of lies, love, and loss that accelerates toward the inevitable: the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, which struck during the early hours of a seemingly ordinary April morning. Meticulously researched and utterly immersive, with an intimate mystery that unspools with increasing urgency, The Nature of Fragile Things will have you racing through the chapters to the shocking, satisfying end.” — Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names
“[A] poignant story about found family and a deft psychological thriller with shocking twists. Meissner is a masterful writer and this is a terrific tale that takes us on a harrowing cable-car ride through early 20th century San Francisco where dark secrets–like the city itself–crack wide open, forcing our world-weary heroine to confront the devastation done by the lies she’s been told and by the lies she’s still telling.” — Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of My Dear Hamilton
“Another beautifully imagined historical novel from Susan Meissner, in which she takes the reader on an emotional journey to the devastating events of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Written with great tenderness, and driven by the unstoppable force of the three intriguing women at its heart, this is a novel to savor, and one to share with all the women in your life whom you admire.” – Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave
Where I’ll be…
Feb 26 – San Diego, CA –Join me and twenty other authors at Adventure by The Book’s annual Superbook Weekend, live again, and in person at San Diego’s beautiful Central Library overlooking the bay. The day-long event is book-packed and includes so many lovely details. Find our more right here: (Just a note: all CDC Covid guidelines for safely gathering will be in place. We will have fun, but we will also care for one another…)
Mar 13—San Francisco, CA – I will be in-person at the one and only Book Passage bookstore in the historic Ferry Building in downtown San Francisco. Join me at 2 PM and I’ll share with you all the details of writing THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS with the great 1906 earthquake as its backdrop. And there shall be Ghirardelli Chocolate for all… The details are right here! https://www.bookpassage.com/event/susan-meissner-nature-fragile-things-ferry-building-store
MORE EVENTS ARE IN THE WORKS – CHECK BACK OFTEN!
For your reading pleasure…
An American girl’s life is changed forever when her German immigrant parents are sent to a Texas WW2 internment camp…The Last Year of the War tells a little-known story of World War II with great resonance for our own times and challenges the very notion of who we are when who we’ve always been is called into question.
Buy now: Barnes & Noble, BAM, Hudson, Bookshop.org, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, Walmart, Amazon
“Meissner has created a quietly devastating story that shows how fear and hatred during World War II changed (and even ended) the lives of many innocent Americans.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A heartbreaking, thought-provoking work of historical women’s fiction.”—Booklist
“Highlighting a little-known story of World War II with heart-wrenching detail, this beautifully written novel will make you think about what it means to be American, as well as what—and who—determines our identity.”—BookBub
“Vivid historical detail and elegant prose bolster this rewarding story of profound friendship, family, fear, and the pain that arose for American-born children of immigrant parents.”—Publishers Weekly
“There’s no shortage of books about World War II and internment camps coming out right now, given events in the news over the last year. Meissner’s latest novel presents a more interesting, untold account than others.”—Real Simple
From the Blog
The footage we’ve been seeing the last few days of the children in Afghanistan is breaking my mother-heart, and like so many of us here…