The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

The 1906 earthquake in San Francisco has been an interest of mine for quite some time. The earthquake only lasted less than minute but the devastation was complete. The fires that broke out due to the quake were disastrous, leaving half the cities’ residence homeless and thousands, dead. I’m looking forward to seeing how Meissner weaves this unfortunate historic event into her story. Thank you, Berkley and NetGalley for a copy of this powerful story. -Stephanie

The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner

Berkley Publishing Group

Historical Fiction | Women’s Fiction

Pub Date 02 Feb 2021  


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.


Book Review: Murder in the Queen’s Wardrobe by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Murder in the Queen Wardrobe

A female spymaster will face mortal danger to protect her husband and her queen. . .

London, 1582: Mistress Rosamond Jaffrey, a talented and well-educated woman of independent means, is recruited by Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to be lady-in-waiting to Lady Mary, a cousin of the queen. With her talent in languages and knowledge of ciphers and codes, she will be integral to the spymaster as an intelligence gatherer, being able to get close to Lady Mary just at the time when she is being courted by Russia’s Ivan the Terrible. However, there are some nobles at court who will do anything they can to thwart such an alliance; and Rosamond soon realises the extent of the danger, when a prominent official is murdered and then an attempt is made on both her and Lady Mary’s lives. In her quest to protect her ward – and her estranged husband – Rosamond must put herself in mortal peril.


Hands down one of the best Historical Mystery Thrillers I have read this year by far. Where do I begin? This story captured my attention from the first page and that is a rare thing indeed. Emerson’s main character, Mistress Rosemond Jaffrey is and extremely educated, independent and strong women of her time. At first I wasn’t sure how her role as lady-in-waiting was going to work in this story but it was brilliantly played. All of the central characters in this story was written strong and even the behind the scene characters play an important role. Often times I read stories where there are characters that don’t add to the story one bit and this is not the case in this one. I don’t often say this because it’s a cliché but I was at the edge of my seat reading this story pretty much the whole time and I got annoyed when people would interrupt me from reading….*laughing*

One of the other things I find extremely important in a story is to leave the reader guessing who done it. Most times I guess the murderer right off the bat and that annoys me to no end. It wasn’t like that for this book. And the title and premise for this story is excellent!

When I read a book I want strong characters, dialogue, plot, setting, and intelligent writing. I found all this in Murder in The Queens Wardrobe. I am patiently waiting for more stories like this from Emerson and I want to read more adventure with Mistress Rosemond Jaffrey. She is my new favorite female character.

Who am I kidding….I hope that the author comes out with another story and soon! Highly recommend!

Stephanie M. Hopkins