“Meissner’s prose is exquisite, and she is a stunning storyteller.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
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…
With the decrease in COVID-19 cases and the reopening of the country underway I am happy to announce I will be taking my vaccinated self out for some wonderful and safe upcoming events with THE NATURE OF FRAGILE THINGS! Some of these events will fill up quickly due to ongoing safety measures, so do sign up early for any event in your area. I can’t wait to see you! Check back for additional stops as this calendar will be updated as we approach summer.
Jul 22 – San Francisco via Zoom – One of my last virtual events! I will be speaking and taking questions along with author Ron Nyren, whose novel also has the 1906 SF earthquake as its backdrop. This event is hosted by the Mechanics Institute in San Francisco. You can register right here.
Jul 27 – Peachtree City, GA – I will kick off my Summer Southern Tour in Peachtree City at their lovely library, 201 Willowbend Road, Peachtree City, GA 30269 | 12 noon. Details are forthcoming right here. The Book Miser will be on hand to sell copies!
Jul 27 – Woodstock, GA – I am so happy to reschedule a postponed event from earlier this year at the lovely Atlanta-area bookstore, FoxTale Book Shoppe, one of my favorite places! Join me at 6:30 PM (EST) for a free author talk, presentation, and book signing! 105 E. Main St, Woodstock, GA. You can find out all the details are right here.
Jul 28 – Pell, AL – I will be at the Pell City Library for a Meet and Greet, beginning at 10:30 AM (CST), and then an author talk at 11 AM and a book signing. More details are forthcoming here. 1000 Bruce Etheredge Pkwy #100, Pell City, AL 35128. Copies will be available for purchase through the library with Baker & Taylor Books.
Jul 28 – Anniston, AL – Join me for Books & Bites at the Public Library of Anniston-Calhoun County, 108 E 10th St, Anniston, AL. for a Meet and Greet, beginning at 1:30 PM, and then an author talk at 2 PM followed by a book signing. More details and free registration here. Copies will be available for purchase through the library with Adventures by the Book.
Jul 30 – Cashiers, NC – I will be hosted by the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library, at The Village Green for a free author talk at 3 PM. The library recommends making a reservation by calling 828-743-0215 as space will be limited. Masks required. Books will be available for purchase through Books Unlimited and I will be signing. Yay! All the details are here.
Jul 31 – Highlands, NC – Join me at the Hudson Library at 12:30 PM for a free presentation, Q and A, and book-signing at 12:30 PM | 554 Main St in Highlands. Books Unlimited will be there to sell books and I will be there to sign them! You can find all you need to know right here.
Jul 31 – Franklin, NC – I will be at Macon County Public Library, 149 Siler Farm Rd, Franklin, NC 28734 for a book talk and signing. Books will be available for purchase through Books Unlimited. More info to register is right here.
Aug 3 – Lake Lure, NC – So looking forward to this “Books & Bites” Luncheon hosted by Friends of Mountain Library at the beautiful Lake Lure Inn. Malaprops Books will be there to sell books. Email the library for more info or to register: email@example.com
Aug 4 – Greenville, SC – I am so very happy to be the guest author for LUNCH & LIT, hosted by Judson Booksellers and which will take place at Soby’s | 207 S Main St. You can register for this ticketed event right here. I’ll be there to present a talk, answer your questions and dine with you! As with all these upcoming events, precautions will be followed per CDC guidelines that are in place at that time. Can’t wait!
Aug 6 – Pawley’s Island, SC – Oh, how I’ve missed the Moveable Feast author series in connection with Litchfield Books! The location will be Kimbel’s Wachesaw | 1 Magill Way, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576. Ticketed event. Reservations for this lunch, book presentation, and signing are available calling by at CLASS at 843-235-9600. The event starts at 11 AM (EST) and additional info is here.
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