A coloured scrap of fabric connects the tragic events of September eleventh in New York with the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.
Taryn runs a textile store in Manhattan and has managed to bury her memories of surviving the attack on the World Trade Centre. She has a little daughter in school now. We next look through the eyes of Clara from Pennsylvania working on Ellis Island in 1911. As a nurse, she cares for the polyglot immigrants quarantined on the doorstep of the city. She still carries nightmares of the industrial accident in the garment district which she had barely survived, when 147 employees died.
The immigrants have they left all they knew behind, and many have lost loved ones to illnesses like scarlet fever and measles; the main item of value they carry is a trade. Clare is reluctant to rejoin life. She breaks the rules to help a Welshman in the hospital whose sole reminder of his wife is a flowered scarf. Clara had a young man called Edward, who died in the fire, and to get past her grief she decides to find out more about him and visit his grave. Through Taryn's eyes, we relive the modern terrorist attack; her husband was in one of the towers and she was delayed from meeting him by a customer asking her to match an old silk scarf. Taryn survived, but was widowed, and carries numbing regrets.
The attractive picture of flowers on the first page of each chapter, made for tediously slow progress through the computer reader. Other than that, the book read quickly, full of details and the disparate lives of Taryn and Clara. Some readers might choose to skip a few pages if they find the retelling of 9/11 distressing. The two women each inspire admiration as they work hard and seek reassurance of love, while a broad portrait of the city past and present is painted. As all such atmospheric stories must, A FALL OF MARIGOLDS has a bittersweet ending, so read Susan Meissner's book with a box of tissues handy.
It took a while to engage with the story but it became quite gripping as I encountered the main characters of Clara and Taryn and followed their individual but connected stories,this shows me that as humanity how our stories often interweave and that there is a divine plan for our lives. We need to take every opportunity to reach out to others and often that involves risk taking. This has been well written & researched .
Poignant but beautifully written novel. The link between the 2 devastating events acros time periods was very clever and reminds us of the power of resiliency in the face of loss. I read this over a weekend as could not put it down, both stories are gripping and the link of the scarf cleverly brings them together.