Canada Reads & Reviews, aka Simon Chibuk, was not disappointed by his first historical fiction read (and certainly not his last) from bestselling and book club favorite author Susan Meissner.

Who’s behind Canada Reads & Reviews?

My name is Simon Chibuk, and I reside in Edmonton, Alberta Canada. I am an avid reader and enjoy different types of genres but my favorite “go to” is historical fiction.

During the COVID pandemic, I joined the Third Thursday of the Month historical fiction virtual book club. We have had great discussions and even had the experience of having authors attend, including some from NovelNetwork! I have been part of this book club since December 2020. We have a large, growing membership list as people hear more about our group, and we are open to accept new members.

Simon’s book club, Third Thursday of the Month:

Third Thursday of the Month Book Club formed on Facebook in December 2020 as an outlet for historical fiction lovers to come together amidst the pandemic. The club currently has over 900 members from across the U.S. and Canada. Each month, 20-50 members log-in to our Zoom discussion of a historical fiction which has been suggested and voted upon by members. We enjoy author visits to enrich our discussions and introduce our members to the craft of researching and writing about a wide spectrum of historical events, people, and time periods.

Simon’s review of A Fall of Marigolds:

My first historical fiction read by author Susan Meissner, and was not disappointed!

“Everything beautiful has a story it wants to tell . . .”

The novel A Fall of Marigolds is a well written and well researched story of grief, loss, hope but more importantly of new beginnings . . . I guess you could also include in here that this is a story of choices (right or wrong), and living with those choices for better or worse.

Ellis Island, 1911 – we’re introduced to a nurse (Clara Wood) who accepts a nursing position on Ellis Island (central place for new immigrants looking and hoping for a fresh start in America). Clara herself like the immigrants she cares for, is hoping for a ‘fresh’ start far away from Manhattan where she loses someone very close to her in the historical Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire (also took place in 1911).

September 2011 – we’re introduced to widowed Taryn Michaels who in the present world is also looking for a fresh start and new beginnings after losing her husband in the devastating terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in the heart of New York City (NYC).

The author uses the dual timeline very well to introduce readers to these characters, but also seamlessly connects the three (3) historic events as described above very well to keep this story moving at a quick pace but not causes confusion by moving back and forth as the book progresses.

I enjoyed the author’s incorporation of the marigold scarf to connect these two women over the span of 100 years without confusing the reader or taking away the big picture of the story, and the messages that this novel leaves behind.

Having been to NYC (back in 1998), and visited Ellis Island and also been to the top of the World Trade Centre, before that fateful day on September 11, 2001 helped me to get involved more into the story compared to just reading a historical fiction novel set in NYC. Gave me a good appreciation and understanding of what was happening more.

As always with historical fiction that’s well researched, you learn something new you didn’t know before, or perhaps something you did know about but more in depth. For instance, prior to reading this novel, I wouldn’t have been able to explain to you about the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire.

This novel is a good introduction to NYC history for those who don’t know much about it, or perhaps for those of you who do know something about it, but loves NYC anyway 🙂

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the Shirtwaist Factory fire, please see this link:….

I could say a lot more about this novel, but I will let readers decide whether they want to read this novel, and come up with their own takeaways.

5 stars


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