The Nature of Fragile Things (Book Review)

The Nature of Fragile Things (Book Review)

The Fragile Nature of Things Book Review

This novel was hard to put down. I was engrossed all the way through to the end of this absorbing tale of survival, friendship, and motherhood.

It is an incredible story of a young Irish immigrant, Sophie, who is desperate to get out of New York City, and comes to San Francisco as a mail order bride. Set during the time of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, she finds herself struggling in the earthquake’s aftermath. The historical aspects of the story were well researched, and seamlessly woven into a larger glimpse of true hardship.

The main character is compassionate, caring, loyal, brave, and determined. As she adjusts to her new life, Sophie becomes more settled, until one day a knock at the door changes everything. She is a remarkable woman who rises from a life of despair and poverty, calling upon her inner strength to make things better, not only for herself, but for the women all around her as well.

The title stems from this quote, “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.” The women in this book are not fragile, and I love a story of strong women.

This is a work of both historical fiction and mystery, woven together with characters I won’t soon forget. The mix of genres makes for a particularly interesting read. I don’t want to say much more about the plot here to avoid spoilers.

The Nature of Fragile Things is a complex story that has some thoughtful and powerful themes in it including friendship, working together, trust, found family, survival, second chances, actions taken in desperation, moral ambiguity, and the vulnerability of women.

I liked this compelling story with its slow unveiling of secrets, and satisfying ending. This was a good, entertaining novel with plenty of drama, feel good moments, tenacity of spirit, the promise of love, and the heart-saving reality of friendship. This novel was neither profound nor consequential, but it was evocatively written, full of suspenseful twists. I listened to it on audio, and the reader did a great job, complete with a slight Irish brogue. I give this novel five stars; you might enjoy it too.

I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. John gregory 3 years ago

    Sounds engaging…

  2. Susan 3 years ago

    Thank you for you review. I look forward to reading this❣️

  3. Meg Hanson 3 years ago

    I am going to add that to my book read list! For now I have to finish reading the Outlander books, which will take awhile.

  4. Dilys 3 years ago

    I loved this book, Polly. Thank you so much for the recommendation. X

    • Author
      Polly Castor 3 years ago

      So glad!

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