A Fall of Marigolds

A Fall of Marigolds

by Susan Meissner


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A beautiful scarf connects two women touched by tragedy in this compelling, emotional novel from the author of As Bright as Heaven and The Last Year of the War.

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. What she learns could 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. But a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf may open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life.

“[Meissner] creates two sympathetic, relatable characters that readers will applaud. Touching and inspirational.”—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451419910
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/04/2014
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 31,369
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist. She is the award-winning author of A Fall of MarigoldsSecrets of a Charmed LifeStars over Sunset BoulevardA Bridge Across the OceanAs Bright as Heaven, and The Last Year of the War, among other novels.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Like the golden threads of a scarf sprinkled with marigolds, Susan Meissner weaves two unspeakable New York tragedies—the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and 9/11—into a shimmering novel of love and acceptance. Meissner’s heroines, Clara and Taryn, live a century apart, but their stories are connected not just by a bright scrap of fabric but by love lost.  A compelling novel, A Fall of Marigolds turns fate into a triumph of spirit.”—Sandra Dallas, New York Times bestselling author of True Sisters 

“Meissner has crafted a thoughtful story about lost loves and times past, illustrating how quickly disaster can take away what we hold most dear, and how ultimately we must move forward with hope in our hearts.”—Margaret Dilloway, bestselling author of The Care and Handling of Roses With Thorns

“A transportive, heartwarming, and fascinating novel that will resonate with readers in search of emotionally satisfying stories connecting past and present, and demonstrating the healing power of love.”—Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Call Me Zelda

“Weaves a compelling tapestry of past and present, of love and loss and learning to love again, of two women connected through time in a rich and unique way.”—Lisa Wingate, bestselling author of The Prayer Box and Tending Roses

“Susan Meissner knits the past and the present with the seamless skill of a master storyteller. A beautifully written, moving novel that had me gripped from the first page.”—Kate Kerrigan, New York Times bestselling author of Ellis Island

“Deftly weaves a story of love and loss... an inspiring story of hope and the belief that with tomorrow comes a new day full of promise.”—Lorie Conway, author/producer of “Forgotten Ellis Island”

“Susan Meissner has written a courageous novel, moving with great insight between the haunting parallel stories of two women trying to recover from the losses of a terrible fire in 1911 New York City and the unforgettable fall of the twin towers on 9/11. An uncommon celebration of the human spirit in the face of unspeakable tragedy, A Fall of Marigolds is a beautiful reminder that although life is perilous, love is a powerful healer.”—Kimberly Brock, 2013 Georgia Author of the Year and author of The River Witch

Customer Reviews

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A Fall of Marigolds 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
The_Book_Wheel_Blog More than 1 year ago
Take An Emotional Journey With 'Marigolds' Have you ever found an item and wondered about the lives of its previous owners? I have, which is why I was intrigued by A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner which is, at its core, about one beautiful scarf linking two women across time. A dual narrative spanning a century, this story follows two women: Clara, a nurse at Ellis Island in 1911, and Taryn, a single mother in present day. Both women are struggling to overcome personal tragedies and are, ultimately, seeking redemption. One of the things that I loved about this book, aside from the storyline, was the setting. The detailed descriptions about the life and patients on Ellis Island created such a vivid world that I could easily lose myself in the early 1900′s. Present-day Manhattan, of course, required less description and I am glad that the author chose to to use her words wisely by focusing on the past. Meissner avoids the mistake most historical fiction writers make by striking the perfect balance between description and plot. Lyrically written and with impeccable character development, A Fall of Marigolds is the perfect book to curl up with. The author has a gift for bringing emotions to the surface and takes the reader on an emotional journey that will leave you breathless. As the women faced their fears and made decisions that would last a lifetime, I felt like I was standing beside them, my heart racing in time with theirs. Historical fiction fans will absolutely adore this book.
cthomson More than 1 year ago
Susan Meissner is a master storyteller. Once again I was drawn quickly into her story. Clara Wood knows she's escaped from the traumatic event of witnessing someone she cared about jumping to his death during the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire by taking a job on Ellis Island. She prefers to stay in what she calls her in between place but when an immigrant arrives wearing his recently deceased wife's scarf, she is drawn to their common experience of grief. Fortunately for Clara, there are others around her who see that she needs to heal rather than escape from her trauma. The scene where the doctor helps her board the ferry to go to Manhattan is so descriptive I felt Clara's anxiety while I rooted her on. The parallel modern story, which gets much less coverage in the novel but is equally powerful, involves Taryn who happens to have that same scarf with her when the World Trade Towers collapse, killing her husband before she has a chance to tell him something important. Ten years later a photo of her is published, bringing back painful memories but also propelling Taryn into finally sharing the story with her daughter. I loved how Meissner tied this up in such a satisfying loving way. I truly loved this book and highly recommend it to readers of both historical and contemporary novels who like stories about overcoming pain to love again. I received a complimentary copy from Berkley/New American Library, a division of Penguin Group for an honest, unbiased review.
susanmsj More than 1 year ago
I liked the way the story moved back and forth between the two women who lived a century apart. I kept waiting to see how the scarf connected them, and didn't expect how it turned out. It was a great story of healing. I loved this story and I would recommend it.  I won this book in an online giveaway.
Mocha-with-Linda More than 1 year ago
Compelling story of love, loss, and new beginnings! Oh my. Susan Meissner is on my short list of must-read authors so I know to expect an excellent book, but A Fall of Marigolds eclipses all of her previous works to become my absolute favorite of her novels. Meissner's trademark is fusing two stories--a contemporary and historical--into one novel, and she skillfuly links the two events in this novel by their similarities and by a beautiful scarf. Her prose sings, and the characters wrapped themselves around my heart as I thought what if? and what would I do? The compelling glimpse into the history of Ellis Island's hospital fascinated me and gave me a new appreciation for this slice of American's culture. I couldn't set aside this beautiful tale of love, loss, and new beginnings until I finished it. In fact, this is one of a few novels that I was tempted to return to chapter one and begin again the moment I reached the end. A Fall of Marigolds contains much to ponder and discuss, whether over coffee with a friend or at a book club. Put this one at the top of your must-read list!  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Susan Meissner and Penguin NAL Trade Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sections dragged. I kept putting this down and really couldn't wait for this book to end. The historical inaccuracies drove me crazy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The story and the characters were told with simplicity and care. I felt like I really got to know them. I also thought it was clever how the author drew parallels between two real life tragedies. I also liked how she reveals the crucial plot points slowly so that you go through the up and down emotions with the characters. I really enjoyed reading this book.
Arlene70AL More than 1 year ago
Really enjoy this book. A look at NYC in 1911 thru the eyes of a woman who has lost someone she loves in a tragic event. And a look at another woman who loses her husband on 9/11. Some historical moments, some romance. A really easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Susan Meissner wrote a great book here. The back and forth between the two stories is easy to keep track of.The way she connected the two was brilliant. It's heartbreaking and uplifting all in one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two women a century apart experience love , loss , renewal and the link that interweaves their lives. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I can' t wait to read another of her books. I could not put the book down.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Great Book! I really enjoyed it. I only wish there was more of Taryn's story. Perhaps a sequel???
runnergirl83 11 months ago
This novel flips between two women, a hundred years apart. They are tied together by a scarf, and as you read the novel, you find out how the scarf connects them. It is September 1911, and Clara watched the man she cared for fall to his death in a tragic fire. She feels guilt as he would have lived had he been working on his normal floor, but he was coming down the building to get her. He was going to show her the sewing room. They had barely spoken, but Clara just knows it was the beginning of something between the two of them and she is devastated to see him, and others jump to their deaths as the building is on fire. Clara goes on to work as a nurse at Ellis Island. There she meets a man who has recently lost his wife to scarlet fever. They were not married long, and they had married after a very short time. This reminds Clara of her and the man she saw die. September 2011 and Taryn is single raising her daughter. On September 11th, 2001 she was on her way to see her husband at the world trade center to tell him that she was pregnant. She picks a scarf up for work along the way and it makes her late to her date with her husband. This changes her life. I really liked this one. I found Clara's story more interesting, but most of the book was her story, so that might be why. You just read more about her, the chapters about Taryn were quite a bit less. Interesting how both women had similarities, both trying to move on after a tragic accident. Both having someone they loved, or would love, die tragically. While reading, I cared about both main characters, I wanted them to be able to move on after the tragedies. This is the first book I have read by this author, and I'm adding a few of her other books to my reading list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is so beautiful, and will touch you, deeply. Brought back the horror of 9/11 but through a personal viewpoint, that someone who hadn’t been there could see it through. The message of love and surviving heartbreak is inspirational, as Love is from heaven, of God, and is eternal. Highly recommend this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Both stories kept me turning the pages. Beautiful and moving.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
A Fall of Marigolds is a captivating story of how a brightly colored scarf ties numerous people together over several decades, through love, loss, and the heartache life presents the characters in this novel. The scarf is the tie that binds people together over a one hundred year time span. This multilayered story is based in both Manhattan and on Ellis Island. The relationships of the many characters in this emotional novel are varied and very well portrayed. I highly recommend this book of life, love, loss, and healing. It is truly a work of the heart.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by Susan Meissner, but it certainly won't be the last - couldn't put it down! I love the way she wove together the stories of two women, 100 years apart, whose lives were touched by painful loss and united by a beautiful, silken scarf of marigolds. Each is given the opportunity for a fresh start - will they be brave enough to let that new life include love? Meissner's characters are achingly honest and persons you somehow feel you already know. Clara and Taryn both protect themselves from pain by hiding behind a thick layer of scar tissue over their broken hearts. They wrestle with wondering about providence, and their own feelings of responsibility for the deaths of men they loved. In time, each is given an opportunity, not to turn back the clock as they'd hoped, but to peek into the past and find hope and healing. I loved the plot twists and unexpected history lessons in this tightly written gem. Read it yourself and be transported to New York City then and now. This book is worth every tear you'll shed reading it!
Avid_readerRF More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! I loved this book! Could not put it down! It brought me to tears, what a talented writer Susan Meissner is, looking forward to more of her wonderful novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historically accurate regarding both the Triangle Shirt waist Factory fire and 9/11, this story weaves ethical dilemma and perils of romance. Well-written , it carries you right along . I can't wait to read another one by Meissner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a touching memorial to two tragedies. Beautufully written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Up g H
lilacqueen75 More than 1 year ago
I'm still reeling from this beautifully written story. I was completely drawn into the story and touched by the way two events separated by about 100 years were woven together so well. I've been thinking a lot about the way our lives are lived and if our stories will live on after we are gone. This story revolves around a beautiful scarf and the way it touches the lives of women, both past and present, who are searching for peace. The writing is very well done and really plays on a reader's emotions. In 1911, there was a horrific fire that impacted the life of young Clara. Her journey for peace and comfort is very engaging and she is extremely likable, easy to relate to, developed, and I loved learning about her friendships, relationships, and inner struggles. There is a parallel story within this story, as well as with a story in present day. Taryn was widowed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Towers and ten years later, is still seeking that complete peace from the event. In many ways, her story is similar to Clara's and they are bound in an unforeseeable way. The book spends more time in the past, but the reader still gets a good glimpse at Taryn's life, emotions, and struggles. I think most people remember where they were when this attack happened and it was easy to relive those feelings and remember what a tragedy it was, which is fitting, as it is the anniversary. I really enjoyed the story and feel as those these characters are real. I can't say what I would do if I were in their situations and although things ended differently than I was anticipating, I was still very content with it. Content: some mild swearing; talk of violent acts, death, illnesses, etc, but all is non-descriptive; mild romance. Clean.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay but too much drama.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I did enjoy this book but found some of the Clara's behaviors not believable. It seemed to drag in parts. I gave it four stars because, in spite of my previous comments, i looked forward to returning to the book.