Tag: A Fall of Marigolds

Blog Book Tour | “Scent of Triumph” by Jan Moran A Historical Biographical Fiction novel rooted in fashion, parfum, France, and a legacy through time through the threads of love and passion!

Posted Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , 4 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By: Winning a contest adverted through “Shelf Awareness for Readers” bi-weekly newsletter, April 2015. I received the hardcover book direct from the publisher St. Martin’s Griffin via St. Martin’s Press without obligation to post a review. The timing of the book’s arrival happily coincided with the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours route for this novel in the book blogosphere, as I originally had wanted to participate in one of the two blog tours I knew about for this particular release, however, from my understanding only ebooks were available for review. Therefore, upon receipt of the book itself from the publisher, I contacted HFVBTs and requested to be placed on the last stop for the blog tour itself: Friday, the 17th of April. 

Unfortunately, the timing ended up being a difficult one for me, as I was blogging about the stress and illness I was under last week on my reviews (both for ‘Inspector of the Dead‘ and ‘The Masque of a Murderer‘; the latter of which ended up posting on Friday in lieu of this one as I fell behind). I technically only had the novel a few short days ahead of Friday, but at that time I felt I could make the quick deadline. Instead, my reflections are posting the Monday after the tour ended.  I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts herein.

Intrigued to Read:

Much to my chagrin, the reason I am curiously receptive to historical novels surrounding parfum is due to my encounter with the writings of M.J. Rose; specifically the book showcases I wrote on behalf of The Collector of Dying Breaths and The Witch of Painted SorrowsI fully immersed myself into the Reincarnationist series prior to settling inside Dying Breaths, as I wanted to understand the world and the back-story of the lead protagonist. Following through to Painted Sorrows, I found myself with a beautiful arc of continuity where fragrance played an under-note of connection to this new release on behalf of Rose. Shortly thereafter, I had the pleasure of reading a Historical Biographical Fiction novel on behalf of Coco Chanel by Gortner; of whom I had the pleasure of reading previously through The Tudor Vendetta. It was during my ruminations on behalf of Coco Chanel I revealed my connection to The Shell Seekers which had given me my first connection to parfum and the intoxicating connections of scent in fiction.

Throughout my readings, one singular thread of context remains and that is the allure of scent and fragrance has sensory triggers that alight through the heart first and the mind second. It is through our memories and the ‘scents therein’ we attach to memory in it’s rawest of forms that allows us to transcend through time and go backwards to a singular moment which stands out to us. It is this pursuit of reading how writers can inflict and inflect resonance with their audience with a particular scent or the allure of a passionate attachment to a particular smell that draws me into their story-lines.

The fact Moran used the basis of her novel on memories of her mother added to my curiosity to pick up her novel, inasmuch as having read her author newsletters for a good portion of the past year. She happily keeps her readers informed of her stories whilst revealing just enough to whet a thirst of interest if you haven’t yet read a novel she’s published. For me, the short notes and the synopsis of Scent of Triumph implored me forward to finding a way into her re-released debut novel. As this was originally published by Crescent House Publishing | Briarcliffe Press in 2012. Read a bit about her Indie Press to Major Trade journey on her blog.

Coincidently, to my own recollection Ms Moran is one of the ‘writers who found me’ via Twitter, thus I started to follow in-kind and signed up for her author’s newsletter. This is one reason I curate a list on Twitter for writers who find me as I keep a list of the authors and stories which alight quite serendipitously across my ‘twitterverse journey’ for the day in which I can properly become introduced to their stories. This is another example of how finding each other on Twitter can be a wicked sweet discovery for both writers and readers alike and I encourage you, if your following me on Twitter, tweet me and/or convo me on my blog — you never know when I might be inspired to read your novel!

As an aside, as I have the hours to do this, I am uploading a list of books to a special list on Riffle solely dictated by the writers who found me and the stories they’ve written which ignite a reason of interest for me to read them. I am not sure why some writers find me and then disappear or if I add them to my Twitter list why they stop following me, but once an interest is sparked, trust me, I stay curious. I presume it’s because I do not ‘auto-follow’ back as I like to get to know the writer (or book blogger, reader, etc) following me before I follow them myself. I like to understand their writing style and the stories they publish, as much as I read their feeds to ascertain a bit about them as a person. Word to wise: if you find a book blogger, tweet them a ‘hallo’ and start a random convo interdependent from your novel. Conversations are golden!

After all, if Ms Moran hadn’t found me, how would I have known about Scent of Triumph?

Yes, I would have found it via Shelf Awareness, but would I already be committed to reading it?

More incredible is I truly believe I was meant to read all of these novels in succession of each other: The Shell Seekers, A Fall of Marigolds, the Reincarnationist series, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, and Coco Chanel in order to fully appreciate what I would find inside Scent of Triumph. There is something to be said for reading intuitively and reading the stories we recognise are meant to enter our lives at the time in which they are meant to come alive in our imaginations.

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Blog Book Tour | “Scent of Triumph” by Jan Moran A Historical Biographical Fiction novel rooted in fashion, parfum, France, and a legacy through time through the threads of love and passion!Scent of Triumph
by Jan Moran
Source: Direct from Publisher via Shelf Awareness for Readers

Book Synopsis of Scent of Triumph:

When French perfumer Danielle Bretancourt steps aboard a luxury ocean liner, leaving her son behind in Poland with his grandmother, she has no idea that her life is about to change forever. The year is 1939, and the declaration of war on the European continent soon threatens her beloved family, scattered across many countries. Traveling through London and Paris into occupied Poland, Danielle searches desperately for her the remains of her family, relying on the strength and support of Jonathan Newell-Grey, a young captain. Finally, she is forced to gather the fragments of her impoverished family and flee to America. There she vows to begin life anew, in 1940s Los Angeles.

Through determination and talent, she rises high from meager jobs in her quest for success as a perfumer and fashion designer to Hollywood elite. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, Scent of Triumph is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

Genres: Historical Fiction

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781250048905

Published by St. Martin's Griffin

on 31st March, 2015

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 384

Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards Badge created by Jorie in Canva. Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Posted Wednesday, 22 April, 2015 by jorielov in 20th Century, Author Found me On Twitter, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fashion Fiction, Fashion Industry, French Literature, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Perspectives, Historical Romance, History, Jorie Loves A Story Cuppa Book Love Awards, Life Shift, Parfum Industry, Passionate Researcher, Romance Fiction, Shelf Awareness, The World Wars, War-time Romance, Writing Style & Voice

WWW Wednesday No.3: A girl with an affinity for the classics!

Posted Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 5 Comments

WWW Wednesday badge by Jorie in Canva

I loved the premise of this meme {WWW Wednesdays} due to the dexterity that it gives the reader! :) Clearly subject to change on a weekly rotation, which may or may not lead to your ‘next’ read which would provide a bit of a paradoxical mystery to your readers!! :) Love the concept! Therefore, this weekly meme is hosted by Should Be Reading. Each week you participate, your keen to answer the following questions:

  • What are you currently reading!?
  • What did you recently finish reading!?
  • What do you think you’ll read next!?

After which, your meant to click over to Should Be Reading to share your post’s link so that the rest of the bloggers who are participating can check out your lovely answers! :) Perhaps even, find other bloggers who dig the same books as you do! I thought it would serve as a great self-check to know where I am and the progress I am hoping to have over the next week!

What are you currently reading!? {a two-week retrospective!}

I am continuing to read Crown of Vengeance by Stephen Zimmer, as it will mark my last post tied to the Sci-Fi Experience! I had wanted to read a few more books towards this reading challenge, but I lost too many hours during January to accomplish this task. I, am, however, continuing to read the books I outlined on my participation page for the Experience! I selected a few books for the Wicked Valentine’s Readathon which are as follows:

Selection One: Back to the Classics: The Ladies Paradise by Emilie Zola

Selection Two: Magical Realism (tCC) & Time Travel (SFN & SciFI Bingo): The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Selection Three: Book Itching to Read: Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan*

Selection Four: Book for Review: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

{*} As previously disclosed, this boomeranged back to the local library; am awaiting its return!

Alongside the books I pulled for Wicked Valentine, I am also in position to start reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (as part of the #LitChat War & Peace Book Club), & Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (as part of the @RiverheadBooks RAL). Once I start to dig into these select classics, I am on my way towards revealing how I have such a hearty affinity for reading classical literature! Over the years I have dreamt of which classics to read first and which to follow in their wake. 2014 marks the year I am finally able to set aside time to start to explore the classical literary world with a curious eye towards the unknown adventures which lie ahead!

What did you recently finish reading!?

I have only finished a handful of novels within the past fortnight or thereabouts, all of which I posted reviews on my blog: The Brotherhood of the Dwarves, Dangerous DecisionsSebastian’s Way, and the Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. The latter of course, was an anthology collection of essays and interviews compiled together to present an excellent primer on genre writing; even if your genre is outside the scope of the title! I found myself writing quite a heap about my recollections and the musings therein which were extracted from the readings!

I am in the process of reading several novels at the moment for each of my different reading challenges as well as having finished my first blog tour book review stop for Penguin Group (USA). As I am reading multiple books concurrently, I will be revealing where I am by page count rather than by chapter or section next Wednesday! I am hoping to be at the end of Chapter X or XI of Wuthering Heights by the 21st (Friday) as well as complete my reading of Crown of Vengeance to round out my focus week for Seventh Star Press! At the close of February, I am equally as hopeful to have read approx. 200 pages of War and Peace whereas my goals for the 23rd of February are too complete Somerset & most of Roses! The Ladies Paradise is on my reading table as well, as I am attempting to read in tandem at the moment! I felt best to initiate a bit of a page count goal per book in order to best ignite a pattern of reading classics in-between modern literature I explore either outside of blog tours or within them! I always have such a fanciful heart to explore literature in all of its beauty, that I felt this might help me focus on books I truly want to finish reading within the time I am allotting! Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s journal of WWW to see how well I did!

A Fall of Marigoldstook me backwards into my memories for the shirtwaist factory fire of 1911 as evidenced and exhumed into a breath of life by Meredith Tax’s Rivington Street; whilst bringing forward haunting memories of observing the horrors of September 11th by telecast. I felt honoured to be asked to be a book review stop on her blog tour, and as you can read in my review, the novel itself touched me on a very deep level. It was a blessing to find closure and peace after two events in history profoundly affected me.

What do you think you’ll read next!?

I received word that my ILL holds are in queue to arrive within a few week’s time in which I cannot wait to see what is waiting for me inside Leviathan Wakes, Jaran, and The Divining!

And, then there was the whole realisation whilst I read this tweet which led to the successive replies:

Launched myself into a bit of mini-quest to find other “foodie fiction” titles that I could plausibly devour at some point in my reading future! Laughs within a smile! Oh, the wondrous thrill of the ‘discovery’!!

  • The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (started; need to finish!)
  • The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister (sequel to above; goes w/o saying!)
  • Chocolat by Joanne Harris (birthday gift; need to read!)
  • The Colour of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe (borrowed; returned unread)
  • Julie & Julia by Julie Powell (opted for the motion picture!)
  • Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Ronald Dahl (always saw the films!)
  • How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’ Neal (loved!)
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (murmurs of curiosity!)
  • When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
  • The Baker’s Daughter by Sarah McCoy
  • The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses (borrowed, need to finish!)
  • The Roots of the Olive Tree by Courtney Miller Santos
  • Eat. Pray. Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (opted for the motion picture!)
  • The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais
  • Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
  • The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Coffeehouse mysteries by Cleo Coyle (need to read all of them!)
  • White House Chef mystery series by Julie Hyzy (need to keep up to date!)
  • The China Bayles mysteries by Laura Childs (revolves around a teahouse!)
  • Courtesy of Ms. Lisa via TLC Book Tours the following were also suggested:
  • The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
  • Eating Heaven by Jennie Shortridge
  • The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher
  • Maman’s Homesick Pie by Donia Bijan
  • Hungry by Darlene Barnes
  • & the forementioned The Colour of Tea & The Lost Art of Mixing

The next books I am drinking in will be books for review and I am quite excited for them to grace my mind’s eye! For I get the absolute pleasure of re-entering the world of the #LelandDragons, as I re-read Redheart by Jackie Gamber before continuing forward into Sela and the bookend third of the trilogy: Reclamation! The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte by Ruth Hull Chatlien is a hearty tome of an account of a side of the Bonaparte family I never had heard of beforehand! My pursuit of Bonaparte has re-strengthened since I read Becoming Josephine by Heather Webb! Whereas Citadel by Kate Mosse is an interest which was encouraged by my Mum when she gave me Labyrinth; in lieu of knowing where I put the book, I have borrowed the two previous books from my local library!

I had a bountiful bookish postal surprise day

in which I happily welcomed in the following books for review:

My Wish List banner


Violet Patterson Blog Tour via Tomorrow Comes Media


Inscription by H.H. Miller

via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours


A MidSummer Night’s Steampunk by Scott E. Tarbet    

and Moments in Millenia (anthology) edited by Penny Freeman

via Xchyler Publishing

Whereas I previously announced receiving Citadel & The Ambitious Madame Bonaparte!

I decided to join the 2014 Chunkster Challenge, as I had no idea how many novels I’d read over the score of the year which would qualify as being labeled ‘a tome of a book greater than 450 pages!’ Clearly, I have already begun to read stories in greater quantity of depth, but this is going to be a good record of seeing how many I gravitate towards over a regular year’s worth of reading!

Likewise, I have released posts in part of my participation of:

I will be stitching together my posts this next week for challenges hosted by Bookish Ardmour:

All of which I curate on my RALs & Challenges page, of which I update my progress as well as on my Part II of Reading Challenge Addict! I decided to pull back from several reading & bookish challenges this year, as although they appealed to me in the beginning when I was on the verge of signing into them, I decided in the long-term I would be better off honing in on the ones which were at this point in time the most keen of the lot to participate in! There will undoubtedly be more RALs, Thons, & Challenges forthcoming but these will be the main ones I am concentrating on except to say for the two Jane Austen novels I am reading to correlate with the Jane Austen Readings hosted by Reading is Fun Again!

Quite the exciting time for a bookish soul, eh!?
Have your literary wanderings been as expansive and lovely as mine!?
And, do you have a ‘foodie fiction’ recommendations for me!?

{SOURCE: The WWW Wednesday badge created by Jorie in Canva as a way to
promote the weekly meme for those who want to take part in it.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.


Posted Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 by jorielov in 18th Century, 19th Century, Anthology Collection of Stories, Back to the Classics, Blog Tour Host, Blogosphere Events & Happenings, Bookish Discussions, Books for Review Arrived by Post, Chunkster Reading Challenge, Classical Literature, Fantasy Fiction, Foodie Fiction, France Book Tours, Get Steampunk'd, Go Indie, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Indie Book Trade, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Library Find, Love for Books Readathon, RALs | Thons via Blogs, Reading Challenge Addict, Reading Challenges, Rewind Challenge, Science Fiction, Seriously Series Reading Challenge, SFN Bingo, TBR Pile Challenge, tCC The Classics Club, The Dystopia Challenge, Tomorrow Comes Media, Wicked Valentine's Readathon, William Shakespeare Challenge, Wuthering Heights, WWW Wednesdays, Xchyler Publishing

:*Book Review*: A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

Posted Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 by jorielov , , , , , , , 6 Comments

Parajunkee DesignsA Fall of Marigolds by Susan MeissnerA Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner

Author’s Pin(terest) Boards: Susan Meissner

Official Author Websites: Site | Twitter | Facebook
Converse on Twitter: #AFallofMarigolds | #SusanMeissner

Genre(s): Fiction | Inspirational | Historical

[time slip] 1911 Ellis Island / Post-911 New York City

Published by: New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 4 February, 2014

Available Format: Paperback, Hardback, & E-Book
| Page Count: 400 |

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Acquired Book By:

I was contacted by the author (Susan Meissner) herself through Twitter (@SusanMeissner) back in December, 2013 about the possibility of receiving “A Fall of Marigolds” in exchange for an honest review which would be included on her official blog tour for its February release! I was beyond delighted at having been approached by her and readily agreed. As I have a non-giveaway policy for Jorie Loves A Story, this blog tour stop is not hosting the tour giveaway, but rather is solely a book review of the novel which is posted whilst the official tour is going on.  I received a complimentary ARC of “A Fall of Marigolds” direct from Ms. Meissner in exchange for an honest review.  In January 2014, I received the press materials from her publicist Ms. Clark at Penguin Group (USA). I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity, not only to read my first novel by Ms. Meissner but to host my first blog tour book review for Penguin Group (USA)! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Inspired to Read:

The inspiring moment for me is when I realised that although I hadn’t known about A Fall of Marigolds releasing February 2014, I had already planned to read Ms. Meissner’s novels! You might have noticed her name is threaded into my 70 Authors Challenge of which has a focus on Inspirational fiction!? All the authors I am reading over the 24 months of the challenge are linked to their main websites in my blog’s sidebar! The books I selected to read of hers are as follows: The Girl in the Glass, A Sound Among the Trees, and Widows and Orphans which starts the Legal Mystery series. As you will read on my 70 Authors Challenge page, I found the inspiration to select all 70 authors due to my readings of Writing for Christ, which is Ms. Casey Herringshaw’s bookish blog! She is also a stop on this tour and I feel I have come full circle from being a reader of bookish blogs to curating my very own! I am further esteemed to be in the company of an author group blog I started to hang out around in January 2013 [Southern Belle View Daily] and a reader blog I came to cherish as much as Ms. Herringshaw’s [Relz Reviews]!

I never dreamt that I would be hosting a blog tour for one of the authors I selected to read and I am humbled by the honour of having Ms. Meissner seek me out in the first place! She’s a wonderfully sweet woman and I am thankful our paths have crossed!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Susan MeissnerBook Synopsis in the Author’s words:

The book is about two women who never meet as they are separated by a century. One woman, Taryn, is a 9/11 widow and single mother who is about to mark the tenth anniversary of her husband’s passing. The other is a nurse, Clara, who witnessed the tragic death of the man she loved in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in Manhattan in 1911.In her sorrow, Clara imposes on herself an exile of sorts; she takes a post at the hospital on Ellis Island so that she can hover in an in-between place while she wrestles with her grief. She meets an immigrant who wears the scarf of the wife he lost crossing the Atlantic, a scarf patterned in marigolds. The scarf becomes emblematic of the beauty and risk inherent in loving people, and it eventually finds it way to Taryn one hundred years later on the morning a plane crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The story is about the resiliency of love, and the notion that the weight of the world is made more bearable because of it, even though it exposes us to the risk of loss.

On the significance of ‘marigolds’:

Marigolds aren’t like most other flowers. They aren’t beautiful and fragrant. You don’t see them in bridal bouquets or prom corsages or funeral sprays. They don’t come in gentle colors like pink and lavender and baby blue. Marigolds are hearty, pungent and brassy. They are able to bloom in the autumn months, well past the point when many other flowers can’t. In that respect, I see marigolds as being symbolic of the strength of the human spirit to risk loving again after loss. Because, face it. We live in a messy world. Yet it’s the only one we’ve got. We either love here or we don’t. The title of the book has a sort of double-meaning. Both the historical and contemporary story take place primarily in the autumn. Secondarily, when Clara sees the scarf for the first time, dangling from an immigrant’s shoulders as he enters the hospital building, she sees the floral pattern in the threads, notes how similar they are to the flames she saw in the fire that changed everything for her, and she describes the cascading blooms woven into the scarf as “a fall of marigolds.”

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A time slip between two worlds of New York frozen in time itself:

I am not unfamiliar with the shirtwaist industry, as I previously disclosed I have read Rivington Street by Meredith Tax, of whom gives such a visceral experience through her narrative there is no illusion of the reality the girls faced in that industry. A Fall of Marigolds begins rather acutely in post-911 New York. To find myself curling into a fabric store made my crafters heart turn giddy indeed! I am plumb knitty over knitting, but what I truly want to explore in the future is quilting and sewing clothes! My heart warmed with the warmth of an internal fire whilst soaking in the first chapter as a customer murmured her gratitude for the shoppe! (My affection for quilting, mind you, grew out of my wanderings inside the world of Elm Creek by Jennifer Chiaverini!)

One of the early echoes of the novel is that for everything we see beauty inside, a story alights just outside of our view. I found myself resonating with this particular statement, as due to the nature of why I created the title of my own bookish blog: Jorie Loves A Story! Stories exist across mediums not merely hinged to the printed text of literature or even of spoken voice or motion picture. I heart the ability to seek out stories which endeavour us to step a bit closer to the greater picture of why living and experiencing everything we can bring into full focus. Stories enchant us as much as they evoke our deepest most gutting emotions. Stories have the ability to transcend time and sustain us during the roughest of seas which entreat on our everyday hours. I grew on the living histories which in of themselves were stories set into action by the voices of my grand-parents, great-grandmother, and parents. We inhabit such a small vacuüm of space whilst we’re here, but alas! The stories live past us and stitch into the tapestry of the world’s interconnected thread!

This fascination and intrepid enchantment of history and story, might even go as far to explain my personal preferences towards seeking out the skills of old world arts & crafts inasmuch as antiquing! The older a piece of furniture is in my mind is a greater chance of having the unique addition thus far amiss from a room! I like the tangibility effect of touching the past in ways that are visible in the modern age. I like wandering around antique emporiums as much as ambling through a small towne set to a  pace fifty years in the past. There is a subtle nudge to slow down, breathe, and live in harmony. Pieces of stories live all around us, each day we walk outside the door and wonder, “What if? And, what does that person do? What are their experiences? Where did that particular something or other come from?” It’s in our nature to wonder, to strive towards unearthing the mysteries, to put a history inside of an explanation which sounds more like the legacy of a life told through a story!

The etching desire of both lead characters needing closure for the traumas of their past is eclipsed by their stalwart resolve to leave out of step with time. To gather their wits by being withdrawn into a world which lives a harpoon throw from the reality neither wants to approach or excavate out the memories which haunt them. A time slip was naturally going to occur for Taryn and Clara, as each of them are on the precipice of living half in stasis and half in motion.

My Review of A Fall of Marigolds:

In choking honesty, Meissner draws us backwards into the morning when the world woke up once more to a day out of step with the reality we all knew. September 11th, 2001 is a day no one will soon forget, whether or not they lived in America or whether they lived overseas. The newsfeeds overtook the channels, and for this reader in particular who had spent the aching early morning hours in knee-deep research was a groggy grand-daughter at the other end of the line whilst her grandmother urgently tried to shake her to her senses about ‘a plane went down in New York’. I was caught in the segue between deep sleep and awareness, so I truly only heard ‘a plane went down’ which I mumbled was terrible before the line clicked off and I was snoring most likely oblivious to the world’s reaction. I remember waking by four o’ clock in the afternoon, eyes full of sleep and wandering into the living room to catch a light-hearted tv show of an unremembered name. Instead, as Taryn reflects on her part of standing underneath the Towers at ground-zero, I was only a bit past a thousand miles south completely gobsmacked to numbness taking in every channel as the tv flickered into view; I was simply transfixed.  I grabbed the phone without recognition and rang my grandmother. The fullness of that day I oft try to push aside and not reflect on. Images broadcasted on television left a dulling ache inside my soul, as it was all too much to process and see in vivid real-time reality. Half of what I saw was pulled as soon as it aired as it wasn’t even being filtered. Meissner deftly drew me back emotionally into the heart of that fateful day, and attached me directly into the heart of her lead character: Taryn!

The breath of realism breathed into each section touches you as the transition from Taryn to Clara arrive as mere whispers and shadows of each other. Meissner is a sensory writer giving her readers a treat to trick one’s mind into experiencing everything the characters are seeing, sensing, and internalising. The anguished heartache of Clara came propelling back to the forefront of my mind as the bits of information disclosed about the shirtwaist factory fire ignited in my memories from Rivington Street, the book I have previously mentioned reminded me that I have a sensitive heart and best tread cautiously in future readings by what I choose to internalise.

Grief wrapped up in the guilt of never knowing what could have been is one of our greatest struggles as we survive those who pass on. Whether or not, we were properly tethered to them or if they were a loved spirit who gave us joy during our days; gutting sorrow overtakes our sense of normalcy. We cannot always filter out our emotions anymore than we can filter out our memories. Our minds love to play games with us, toying us with images we witnessed as well as the incidents of terror which gripped us like a plague. Clara and Taryn are anchored by the very moments where their lives intersected with tragedy beyond logical reason. Their gutting emotional strife is brought to life in such an intoxicating manner, you’re finding your fingers pressed into the softness of the book cover nearly afeared for what you will find on the next page! Hours melt away as you drink through their lives as if you would be left adrift in not knowing where their days will lead them next.

I liked Clara as instantly as I endeared myself to Taryn, which is always a credit to the writer! Clara is one of the few bourne to find herself drawn to blood rather than bolt away from it on sight. A doctor’s daughter endued with the gift for nursing set a claim on her to find her way to Ellis Island taking care of the infirmed immigrants who felt muddled by how they were not walking ashore instead. Transposed against the brutal anguish of standing below the Towers as they fell on September 11th, my ears echoed with the pounding shock of the ‘noise’* of that day as it was heard in the late afternoon. I felt shell-shocked at four o ‘clock on the 11th, I felt as though Meissner dug into our conjoined memories of that horrid day and led us out the other end. To hold onto something more than the worst bits our centermost memories stored and tucked out of sight. The scarf of marigolds was a talisman of Hope and of Life.

The strangest realisation which washed over for me (towards the middle of the novel), is that I have purposely avoided medical dramas and medical-heavy stories for numerous years as I felt as though I needed an honest break from them. I had seen more than my fair share of medical dramas on television and perhaps, had unexpectedly burnt out from the viewings. Whilst wrapped up inside Clara’s side of the story, I nearly had forgotten she was a registered nurse on the front lines of combating diseases like scarlet fever, which of itself lends to a certain medical-esque narrative!

*noise: Here refers to all the conjoined sounds, screams, shatterments of glass, sirens, confused murmurings of the haggardly confused survivors, the intensity of the news anchors overwhelmed by anguish and grief, and the chaos of the events flickering into broad view on the television screen. Followed by eerie oblivion which characterised the silence, whilst everyone’s face and bodies were shrouded in whitish-grey. The absence of light and dark was obscured by debris falling like snowflakes. Everything merged together, everything felt oppressively real, the shock took forever to wear off, even if I was merely observing the horrors of those who were front and center.

All the emotions I had tied into my throat pummeled out of me by page 238. Overwhelming emotion and the stark despair of what Taryn realised in that pivotal moment which clouded her vision in despair. I felt her anguish and I felt it because of what I had witnessed myself on video feedback. Meissner humanised the disparity of the survivors and the observers. She breathed life into the stories of everyone we never knew before that awful morning when the world paused by the sheer terror of it all.

Life is an intricate fabric. We weave in the threads with each day we dare to breathe in and drink in all that we can learn or experience. It’s the in-between hours of when we are truly alive. The moments when we are not even realising where we are headed or how we are meant to reach our destinations. The living hours of where truth reveals itself to those willing to listen. Faith is lived best by accepting what we do not yet understand as a measure of hope for what we do. Love is the binding of our souls to help grasp the understanding which sometimes is blinded by fear, trauma, and grief. All of life has a purpose which propels us forward to greet each new day with the possibility that it will afford. Compassion. Empathy. Acceptance is the final gate we must cross through to complete the circle our footfalls led us to arrive inside.

New York | a backdrop I love:

I am uncertain if I have ever disclosed on Jorie Loves A Story, if my affection for New York City has been attached to me as long as I have watched motion picture set inside the city from my youth!? The fanciful synergy of a city bent on creativity and indulgence in an all-inclusive playground has held my esteem attention! Transferring off the screen into the world of print books and hearty narratives by wordsmiths who paint the city aflame with a pulsating heart where the story of success and of love go together in tandem! Mysteries eking out of the shadows and humbling stories of humanity which surround your soul in a respite of rumination. My journeys have not yet taken me to the city I’ve read about to the level I have, but a part of me feels as though I have been there. Lived a bit even. As the old saying tends to go, if you have a book in hand, you have a compass point in your soul! Travel doesn’t always have to be walked through the soles of your feet. There are times when the light of a novel can illuminate a specific setting and locale in a crystal of reason unseen by a living experience. Novels transport us beyond where time and space have earthly limits. We enter into the conscience linings of characters and in part, take out a piece of them into our own wanderings of imagination. Perhaps then, the essence of the city of New York has always held such a strong grasp of my yearnings.

It’s the city’s tenacity and resilience to overcome what befalls her that gives all of us the greatest hope of all for seeking a community of such unfaltering strength. They rally and bolster each other up whilst dealing with the impossible, soldiering through unspeakable horrors and rebounding together as though they had risen out of the ashes as one entity rather than thousands. New York City’s greatest blessing is the ability to hold onto Hope in the midst of devastation and rise again as a Phoenix.

A note of gratitude to Ms. Meissner:

I am full of gratitude to the author for writing a convincing story without pushing the envelope past what this particular sensitive heart can endure. The sequences in which she gave riveting and honest accounts of the scenes Clara experienced after the shirtwaist factory fire and of ground-zero for Taryn were bang-on brilliant in their conveyances. I applaud the choices Meissner made in eluding to the horror without having to take us there completely by imagery. What was included was expected as some living horrors can only be spared so far, but in her gentle grace of knowing the limits of tender heart readers, her own heart shined. The stories of Taryn and Clara evoke the realities of women like them who lived a life counterpart to their fictional ones. Meissner has writ a story with the softness and grace of a historian but with the ease of a novelist. I am forever grateful she approached me, as I feel our paths would surely have intersected if she hadn’t. Her writings draw me into the depth of where she is leading us and I feel blessed to have read this story of New York as my first Susan Meissner novel!

Extending into the heart of 9/11:  There is a book I have been meaning to read which illuminates a singular unspoken moment of compassion and humanity where one small town in Newfoundland found their airport was in dire need of re-directing inbound flights on September 11th, 2001. The book is called: The Day the World Came to Town and its the main reason my original fascination about the hearty compassionate souls who reside in Newfoundland made me curious about their maritime province!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

This book review is courtesy of the author: Susan Meissner

I give my gratitude to Ms. Meissner & to Penguin Group (USA) for allowing me the honour to be a stop on the “A Fall of Marigolds” blog tour! I was happily delighted I could participate! I hope I will be able to participate in future blog tours if the opportunity were to arise! Until then, please drop by my Bookish Events Featured on JLAS to see what is coming up next!

**Please Note: This is a non-giveaway stop on the blog tour. I do not host giveaways or bookaways of any kind on Jorie Loves A Story (as you can read in my Review Policy). Which is why my blog is not included in the giveaway hop via the author’s website. I agreed only to host a review stop whilst the tour was in-progress. Therefore, I do encourage you to leave me a comment but it will not be counted as an entry in the tour’s giveaway. Thank you for understanding!**

{SOURCES: Cover art of “A Fall of Marigolds”, Susan Meissner’s photograph; snippets of the book synopsis (taken from the Press Kit Q&A section), were all provided by Ms. Meissner’s publicity agent at Penguin Group (USA) and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Blog Tour badge provided by Parajunkee to give book bloggers definition on their blogs. Tweets were able to be embedded by the codes provided by Twitter.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2014.

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Posted Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 by jorielov in 20th Century, 21st Century, Author Found me On Twitter, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Diary Accountment of Life, Ellis Island, Geographically Specific, Historical Fiction, Immigrant Stories, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Medical Fiction, Modern Day, New York City, Nurses & Hospital Life, Penguin Group (USA) Publicity, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Shirtwaist Industry, the Nineteen Hundreds, Time Slip