Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
About the Book:
A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away….
September 1911. On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries
and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her?
September 2011. On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers
the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?
A mix of contemporary and historical fiction, I was profoundly moved by this book. The storyline takes you through tense, emotional, and realistic events. The characters are beautiful and poignant, and deal with lost love, choices, and regrets.
The past and present are beautifully woven together through Taryn and Clara, separated by 100 years, and takes the reader through a tale of many emotions. Taryn and Clara are tied together by different tragedies, both occurring in New York City – a devastating fire in the early 1900’s and the sadness of 9/11. The 100 year old French scarf, made from an Indian design, has a repeating pattern of marigolds, and is the common denominator between them.
The author brought Ellis Island to life when ships arrived in New York Harbor and immigrants, by the hundreds, passed through Ellis. Many of them had failed the health inspection and ended up in the Ellis Island hospital, many with contagious diseases.
The heart-wrenching scenes of 9/11 felt like you were there, caught up in the tragic circumstances. The author shows the grief and turmoil through the dialogue and portrays the deep inner thoughts of the characters.
And the story unfolds as Clara and Taryn experience similar tragedies that claim the lives of the men they loved, and how they deal with their losses.
Quotes from the book –
“Do you believe that an unfulfilled desire is better because it’s something you can still dream about?”
“Everything beautiful has a story it wants to tell.”
A Fall of Marigolds, so skillfully crafted, is certainly a 5 star novel and definitely a favorite for 2014.
About the Author:
Susan Meissner was born in San Diego, California, the second of three. She spent her childhood in just two houses.
Her first writings are a laughable collection of oddly worded poems and predictable stories she wrote when she was eight.
She attended Point Loma College in San Diego, and married her husband, Bob, who is now an associate pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves, in 1980. When she is not working on a new novel, she is directing the small groups ministries at The Church at Rancho Bernardo. She also enjoy teaching workshops on writing and dream-following, spending time with my family, music, reading great books, and traveling.