The Nature of Fragile Things

The Nature of Fragile Things

Thank you, Berkley Publishing, for the gifted book {partner}


“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.”


As I was cleaning out my shelves at the end of 2021, I asked if there were any of them that I should keep. The Nature of Fragile Things received a resounding ‘YES’ from everyone. So, I decided to pick it up in January.

Y’all, I see what you were saying. This book is incredible, and I have no idea why it took me so long to read.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Period: 1906
Pub Date: 2.1.2021
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆

“It is the nature of the earth to shift. It is the nature of fragile things to break. It is the nature of fire to burn. And just as it is the nature of men and women to build, it is also in our nature to begin again after disaster. This I know, too.”

This story is told from the perspective of Sophie Whalen, a young Irish Immigrant who desperately wanted to get out of New York and ended up marrying a stranger, with a daughter, in San Francisco.

I loved how this story unfolded and Sophie’s strength to survive. She is the definition of a fighter. I know it is a work of fiction, but there are Sophie’s out in the world who were a part of history, and I commend them for all that they survived. I was rooting for Sophie and her step-daughter, Kat. I cheered them on from beginning to end, and when I finished the final chapter, I wanted to hear more about them and their lives after the Earthquake.

I am so glad that I hung onto this book and made it a reading priority. I hope you can make time to read it soon, too. You won’t be disappointed.

⭐️ Historical Fiction in its finest hour
💪🏼 Resilient characters
🌉 San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
👏🏼 Fast-paced

Trigger warning: infant loss, miscarriage, domestic violence

I recommend you read The Nature of Fragile Things if you’re a fan of The Great Alone or The Winemakers Wife.

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