Susan Meissner is one of my favorite writers.
And not just because I've met her in person :)
She's good. She has written stand-alone contemporary novels and historical novels, and one detective/mystery series set in the Twin Cities that was really good. But she really came into her own style when she started writing books with a link between a historical and a contemporary setting. It was like, "Oh, this is what she was meant to write."
A Fall of Marigolds is her first general market novel, but it is far from "secular" in tone or theme. It tells two stories, one of the aftermath of 9/11 and the other of the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Both stories are linked with a scarf.
It's a masterful novel. It's beautiful, it made me cry, it made me think, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
(Plus, did I mention I've met Susan in person? I actually met her husband before I met her, when he was on his annual tour as a reserve chaplain right after my husband went active duty. Anyway, Susan and Bob were in Alaska last year, so we took them out for tea and conversation. It was awesome.)