“Meissner’s prose is exquisite, and she is a stunning storyteller.”

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Coming Feb 2, 2021!

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, PowellsTarget, 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…

Pre-order at:

Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Bookshop.org, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, PowellsTarget, Amazon.

Praise for this book!

“Ingeniously plotted and perfectly structured, this captivates from beginning to end.” – Publishers Weekly.

“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…

The current situation with COVID will prevent me from a physical book tour with THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS, but I will be appearing at many virtual events in February, with crossed fingers that I will be able to do some careful book travel in July and August!

Jan 10  – Join me in conversation with Marie Benedict as we chat about her new book, THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE, at a virtual event hosted by Adventures by the Book.  Did you know the renowned Agatha Christie disappeared in 1926 only to reappear eleven days later with no explanation? The brilliant storyteller Marie Benedict offers a fictional look at a delicious unsolved mystery. You can register here.  Hope you will join us.

Jan 31 – SoCal locals, bring a blanket or lawn chair and facemask for (fingers-crossed!) three live, in-person events in three different outdoor locations: San Diego, Encinitas, and Costa Mesa. The host, Adventures by the Book, is calling it a Seismic Adventure. Registration includes a signed copy of THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS, plus a talk by me and a Q and A. Head here for all the details on the safety guidelines, locations and times, and to register.

Feb 2 | LAUNCH DAY  –  I am thrilled to celebrate the release day of THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS with a virtual event hosted by Warwicks Books here in my hometown of San Diego. I will be joined in conversation with historical fiction author and fellow San Diegan, Kate Quinn. If you pre-order your copy at Warwicks, I will sign it and include a special little something in the envelope before it’s mailed to you! 4 PM Pacific | 7 PM Eastern. Register here for this free event.

Feb 4 –  I will be in conversation with my fellow Berkley historical fiction author, Kerri Maher at a virtual visit to Anderson’s Bookshops, the Chicago area’s premier indie bookstores, at 8 PM EST. The link to register for this free event will be here in the coming weeks. Kerri and I will chat about the book interview-style, I’ll share some photographs, and there will be an audience Q and A. Signed bookplates will be available for instore purchases of my book.

Feb 6 –  Hop on board with me and eleven other authors virtually for the second annual SUPERBOOK event, hosted by Adventures by the Book. There will be three unique panel discussions, giveaways, virtual meet and greets, a halftime show, and more. It’s going to be loads of fun. Here’s the link for more info and to register!

Feb 8 –  Join me virtually at the lovely Blue Willow Books in Houston, Texas, at 8 PM EST for a book talk where I will share lots of historic photographs via my shared screen. Signed bookplates will be available when you purchase the book from this wonderful indie bookstore. Register here for this free event (when the date has been added to the event calendar).

Feb 12  –  I will be virtually at the one and only FoxTale Book Shoppe, just outside Atlanta for a book tour stop, and I will be joined in conversation with my fellow Berkley author, the lovely Karen White. Signed bookplates will be placed inside every book of mine (or Karen’s!) that you order from  this fantastic bookstore in Woodstock, Georgia. Register here for this free event.

Feb 17  –  Join me and my good friend and fellow historical fiction author, Greer McAllister virtually with Friends & Fiction as we talk about our new books with the Fab Five (Patti Callahan, Kristin Harmel, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Mary Alice Munroe, and Mary Kay Andrews). Friends and Fiction is a Facebook community group with Wednesday night shows via Zoom that are simply the best. They’ve had so many wonderful guest authors during this pandemic-that-shall-not-be named. Super easy to join. The Wednesday shows are always at 7 PM Eastern.


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.orgIndieBound, 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