A Fall of Marigolds is a historical fiction novel by Susan Meissner. The story weaves between Taryn’s life in September 2011 and Clara’s life working as a nurse in the Ellis Island Hospital in 1911.
These 2 women’s lives will touch each other without them ever meeting, living years apart. Each woman has loved, lost, suffered tragedy and are hiding in worlds where they each feel safe. Clara never leaving the hospital and her dormitory on Ellis Island and Taryn, working in a fabric shop, living above it and raising her daughter alone.
Clara happens upon a beautiful, colorful scarf with marigolds when she sees it wrapped around the neck of a man who will become her patient at the hospital in 1911.
The scarf flutters through fingers making its way from 1911 to 2011 where the scarf will save Taryn’s life, but takes away from her at the same time. The scarf is lost to Taryn until a photo from the past comes back and leads her back to the scarf and maybe a new life.
“Marigolds ~ they are very resilient flowers, they aren’t fragrant like roses and sweet peas, but they can stand against odds that the more fragile flowers cannot. They can bloom in the fall, even after a frost, even after other flowers have given up.” Susan Meissner
This quote from the book is so relevant to both of these women. They both are like the Marigolds that grace the scarf, they both are resilient, live quiet lives with purpose, are hiding from their past and living suspended, they can’t seem to move forward. In life things change and for Taryn and Clara circumstances change and both are pushed into facing secrets and a reality that changes their lives forever. Will they choose to be happy? Will they hide or step out of their comfortable lives and push through to face the truths.
As I read the book, I was faced with the same dilemma Clara faces when she makes a discovery in a trunk that she keeps hidden. What she discovers could change her patients life. She plans on telling him, but how? and is this secret really something that he should discover? As you read the book, ask yourself if this fell into your hands what would you do? Would you tell and is it something that needs to be told?
I enjoyed the book, and the back and forth of time periods. The book was a fairly easy read and the historical pieces involving Ellis Island Hospital were fascinating. The doctors and nurses that treated the immigrants were hero’s in my eyes. I felt as though I was walking the halls with Clara, and standing on the sidewalk with Taryn as she watched tragedy unfold.
Sadly, I missed book club and the discussion, but heard from everyone that they had a great discussion. Below is a link to the discussion questions for your book club.
Everyone at book club was given marigolds to take home and enjoy along with Marigold seed packets. What a great idea.
Now we are on to read A Year on Ladybug Farm by Donna Ball. I can tell you, I am loving this book and can’t wait to meet you back here to chat about it.
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