Book Reading by Susan Meissner and Tour on Ellis Island

April 28, 2017 Catherine Hecht

Photo via

Susan Meissner will host a reading and signing of her book A Fall of Marigolds on Saturday, April 29 on Ellis Island, followed by a tour of the unrestored immigrant hospital, the setting used for the book. Proceeds from this event will go to, the nonprofit organization, Save Ellis Island.


A Fall of Marigolds – Named to Booklist’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction for 2014

“A beautiful scarf, passed down through the generations, connects two women who learn that the weight of the world is made bearable by the love we give away….”

September 1911: On Ellis Island in New York Harbor, nurse Clara Wood cannot face returning to Manhattan, where the man she loved fell to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Then, while caring for a fevered immigrant whose own loss mirrors hers, she becomes intrigued by a name embroidered onto the scarf he carries…and finds herself caught in a dilemma that compels her to confront the truth about the assumptions she’s made. Will what she learns devastate her or free her?

September 2011: On Manhattan’s Upper West Side, widow Taryn Michaels has convinced herself that she is living fully, working in a charming specialty fabric store and raising her daughter alone. Then a long-lost photograph appears in a national magazine, and she is forced to relive the terrible day her husband died in the collapse of the World Trade Towers…the same day a stranger reached out and saved her. Will a chance reconnection and a century-old scarf open Taryn’s eyes to the larger forces at work in her life?


Susan Meissner via

“I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t driven to write. I attribute this passion to a creative God and to parents who love books and more particularly to a dad who majored in English and passed on a passion for writing,” said Susan Meissner.

Meissner was born in 1961 in San Diego, California, the second of three daughters, she attended Point Loma College in San Diego, majoring in education. “I would have been smarter to major in English with a concentration in writing. The advice I give now to anyone wondering what to major in is follow your heart and choose a vocation you are already in love with,” she explained.

Meissner has published 17 books in the last dozen years, including The Shape of Mercy, which was named one of the 100 Best Books in 2008 by Publishers Weekly. She speaks at writers’ conferences from time to time and has a background in community journalism. She is also a pastor’s wife and a mother of four young adults.


Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital via

Following the Supreme Court decision to award sovereignty of 24 acres of Ellis Island to New Jersey, Governor Christine Todd Whitman created a panel to consider the island’s future. Governor Whitman signed an Executive Order creating a 13 member advisory commission charged with investigating the future use, maintenance and repair of the buildings that were now considered to be on the New Jersey portion of Ellis Island.

From this 13 member panel, Save Ellis Island was formed to raise the necessary funds and oversee the rehabilitation, preservation and adaptive re-use of the unrestored buildings located primarily on the south side of Ellis Island.

Covered corridors connected the main hospital building to infectious disease wards, kitchens, laundries and recreation facilities for patients and staff. As of today, 29 buildings are currently closed waiting to be restored and reopened. These buildings – the empty wards, the subdued operating rooms, the quiet staff housing and the eerie morgue of the largest United States Public Health Service Hospital at the time – stand empty, awaiting restoration and new purpose.

Save Ellis Island is committed to preserving the national treasure that is Ellis Island and establishing innovative education programs that celebrate the spirit of immigrants everywhere – not just those who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island.


The book reading and signing by Susan Meissner will be held on Saturday, April 29 at 1:30 pm on Ellis Island, followed by a tour of the unrestored immigrant hospital. Proceeds from this event go to Save Ellis Island and will be used towards the rehabilitation of the hospital. The weather forecast for Saturday is warm, but the abandoned hospital remains a somewhat cool area so dress accordingly. Closed toed shoes are recommended for the tour since attendees will be going to an off limits area of the hospital.

Tickets are $45 and include a copy of the book. Tickets are non refundable and do not include a ferry ticket. Ferry tickets provides you with access to the grounds of the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. There is a cafe on both Liberty and Ellis Island. 

For more information about Save Ellis Island and to purchase tickets to this event, visit For ferry information and ticketing prices, visit For more information about Susan Meissner and the books she has published, visit

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