Picture of author.

Susan Meissner

Author of Secrets of a Charmed Life

37 Works 5,894 Members 438 Reviews 9 Favorited

About the Author

In 1995, Susan Meissner was working as a part-time reporter for a county newspaper. In 1998, she was named editor of the Mountain Lake/Butterfield Observer Advocate, the town's weekly paper. The paper was named the Best Weekly Newspaper in Minnesota by the Minnesota Newspaper Association in 2002. show more She retired later that year to write her first book, Why the Sky is Blue, which was published in 2004. Her other books include The Girl in the Glass, The Shape of Mercy, In All Deep Places, and A Fall of Marigolds. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Meissner Susan


Works by Susan Meissner

Secrets of a Charmed Life (2015) 881 copies
A Fall of Marigolds (2014) 784 copies
As Bright as Heaven (2018) 685 copies
The Nature of Fragile Things (2021) 493 copies
The Shape of Mercy (2008) 360 copies
The Last Year of the War (2019) 347 copies
A Bridge Across the Ocean (2017) 316 copies
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard (2016) 185 copies
Lady in Waiting (2010) 184 copies
A Sound Among Trees (2011) 180 copies
Only the Beautiful (2023) 144 copies
The Girl in the Glass (2012) 142 copies
White Picket Fences (2009) 132 copies
Widows & Orphans (2000) 112 copies
Why the Sky Is Blue (2004) 103 copies


Common Knowledge

San Diego, California, USA
Places of residence
San Diego, California, USA
Minnesota, USA
Blytheville, Arkansas, USA
Mountain Lake/Butterfield Observer Advocate
Short biography
Award-winning writer Susan Meissner is a multi-published author, speaker, and workshop leader with a background in community journalism. Her novels include The Shape of Mercy, named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2008; White Picket Fences; and Lady in Waiting. She is a pastor's wife and a mother of four young adults. When she's not writing, Susan directs the Small Groups and Connection Ministries program at her San Diego church.



I love this book for so many reasons! To start, Susan Meissner is a gifted writer who creates characters that I care about as a reader. In this story, Clara and Taryn are women connected by a beautiful scarf and unspeakable tragedy. Both of their stories take place in New York City; Taryn's in 2011 and Clara's in 1911.
As a survivor of a tragic house fire, I related to both of their reactions to witnessing historic tragedy: the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, and the 9/11 Twin Tower collapse. Both women retreat into an "in-between place". This is a common reaction.
The book also has a strong sense of place. Having worked in the World Trade Center, Meissner took me back to downtown NYC when writing about Taryn's experience. Clara, a nurse at Ellis Island, interacts with immigrants suffering from scarlet fever. One of these is a tailor. I thought about my grandparents who came through Ellis Island during the same period, one of whom was also a tailor. This story fleshed out their experience for me.
I also liked how she used Keats' "Ode to a Grecian Urn" as a means of understanding longing and loss. The poetry book itself is a McGuffin within the story, just to name a few.
Lastly, I love scarves. Having lost my collection in my house fire, family members have lovingly shared theirs with me. My new, small collection is dear to me because I can relate each scarf to the person who shared it with me, as do the characters in this book.

… (more)
Chrissylou62 | 46 other reviews | Apr 11, 2024 |
Wow. Well this is definitely an eye opener for me. I thought this book was very well written and researched thoroughly. Its good to know this mutilation of people isn't happening in our part of the world anymore.
mchwest | 12 other reviews | Mar 22, 2024 |
Susan Meissner juxtaposes the Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 with the 9/11 Twin Tower tragedies and the aftermath for two women in this novel that are connected by a scarf decorated with marigolds.

Clara Wood, a nurse on Ellis Island, lost a man with whom she felt very connected despite few encounters prior to the factory fire. Taryn, newly pregnant, lost a husband on 9/11. Most of the story concerns Clara whom I found to be self-absorbed and cold. She is pining for what might have been with a man she didn't know very well and is indifferent to anyone offering solace or solutions to her self-imposed exile. A young doctor on Ellis Island is especially concerned about her welfare.

I expected to like this story more than I did because I like Meissner's novels, but I couldn't find myself caring much about Clara. Taryn's grief was much more understandable; however, the tie-in with the scarf seemed implausible.
… (more)
pdebolt | 46 other reviews | Mar 10, 2024 |
Story of a german american teenagerwhose life changes forever when her immigrant family is sent to an internment camp during WWII.
janismack | 33 other reviews | Feb 19, 2024 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors



Charts & Graphs