Meissner weaves story of 2 women’s pain 100 years apart

Published: March 9 2014 | 7:00 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:21 am in

Many recent novels have melded stories from the past and the present — “Orphan Train,” “The Storyteller” and “Calling me Home.” In “A Fall Of Marigolds,” Susan Meissner follows the familiar formula with delightful results.

First we are introduced to Taryn, a widow of 9/11 and now a single mother. She has tried to move on with her life by focusing on her job and raising her daughter, but 10 years later a photo of her on the street on 9/11 resurfaces and forces her to relive everything.

Next we go back 100 years to 1911 and a terrible fire in Manhattan called the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. There we meet Clara, who watched as her friends perished in the fire and flees to Ellis Island to work in the hospitals. There she meets a patient who shares a similar loss.

I had a hard time putting this book down. I thought about Taryn and Clara as I went about my day and they even crept into my dreams at night. I felt their sadness, grief and pain, particularly Taryn’s on 9/11.

The characters were suffering from extreme grief. At times the novel was burdened by the weight of sadness. I can imagine it could be difficult to read for someone who has suffered a loss. But their grief, eventual recovery and the hope of a brighter future will move you forward through the emotionally trying parts. It is a story you won’t forget soon.

Meissner will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to the Save the Ellis Island Foundation for the restoration of the hospital buildings on Islands Two and Three. Learn more about this project at

Read more reviews by Stacie Gorkow at

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