Stacey's Reviews > A Fall of Marigolds

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
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This started off well and I was eager to read it, as a couple of friends had recommended it. After a few chapters though, I just found the dual historical stories - one from 100 years ago and one contemporary, centered around 9/11 - very unbalanced and quite hokey.

Like other readers, I disliked Clara a lot and faulted her initial nosiness for the ethical pickle she found herself in. Yet, not having learned her agonizing lesson once,"Ms. Buttinsky" continues her snooping throughout the book. And, oh, the men! Every man in the novel falls in love with her and vice versa. Why? She is whiney, self-centered and just simply depressing. In today's parlance, Clara would be a narcissist battling codependency. A couple of CODA and SLAA meetings might really help sort her out.

But what really got my goat was when I came across this line from Clara, speaking about the precious scarf which plays such a big role in the novel:

"Before I left for Scotland I would burn Lily's letter and ask Dolly to give the scarf to one of the poorer women in the wards."
What??? She doesn't even offer the scarf to Dolly, her closest friend and confidante??

Well, that was just wrong. And this was bad writing. Bad. By that point, I was more interested in that scarf than I was in Clara's story.

Taryn is the other main character, who reveals her connection to the scarf and her life situation as it relates to 9/11. Unfortunately, Meissner offers us meagre details about Taryn's life; in chapters that are spaced so far apart from each other, I often forgot what was going on with that plotline from what I'd read previously.

Much of the plotline is implausible as well and despite its' good intentions, this novel just didn't work for me. In the end, I would have given it two stars, had it not been for this insightful quote that appears in a letter to one of the characters, which struck a very personal chord with me:

"I wish I'd had the pleasure of meeting your mother an an earlier age so that I would not be such an old man when God blessed me with fine sons such as you...I spent many years alone before I met your mother, but I would change nothing if I were to live my life again. The person who completes your life is not so much the person who shares all the years of your existence, but rather the person who made your life worth living, no matter how long or short a time you were given to spend with them."
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Reading Progress

April 24, 2015 – Shelved
April 24, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
October 28, 2016 – Started Reading
October 29, 2016 –
October 30, 2016 –
October 31, 2016 –
November 2, 2016 –
November 2, 2016 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Christine (new)

Christine Very thoughtful and helpful critique, Stacey. Thanks.

Stacey My review comes off a bit too scathing, Christine, but really It was a good story with interesting characters and a good dual plotline. A lot of people loved it, but it just didn't work for me, I guess.

message 3: by Christine (new)

Christine I'm aggressively cutting my tbr list, Stacey, and I just don't think this one makes my top 1000. 1000 is ridiculous, but I have to cut almost 200 more to make it. Down from over 3000!!

message 4: by Heather (new)

Heather Stacey, I agree. I thought I would love this but I abandoned this one at about 150 pages in. I thought it was a great idea for a story and I liked the writing but found myself rolling my eyes at Clara too much to continue. The synopsis of the book said she lost the love of her life in the fire. She only met him two weeks before to say hello in the elevator! ‘Ms Buttinsky’ - love it! 😂

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