Like every fan of Sarah Hilary, I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting on the release of Fragile and although I read it ages ago via Netgally, just thinking of it again is giving me goosebumps!
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
Everything she touches breaks . . .
Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperately trying to keep, all Nell wants is to find a place she can belong.
So when a job comes up at Starling Villas, home to the enigmatic Robin Wilder, she seizes teh opportunity with both hands.
But her new lodgings may not be the safe haven that she was hoping for. Her employer lives by a set of rigid rules and she soon sees he is hiding secrets of his own.
But is Nell’s arrival at the Villas really the coincidence it seems? After all, she knows more than most how fragile people can be – and how easily they can be to break . . .
I’ve been waiting with baited breath for this one, as a huge fan of Sarah Hilary’s writing I couldn’t wait to see what she had produced with her latest novel and a step into the psychological thriller genre. And WOW, let’s just say I was not disappointed! I don’t want to say anything about the plot in fear of spoilers, all you need to know is in the blurb. Let’s just say almost 8 months on from reading an advance copy, I am still haunted!
Fragile is an intense and visceral read; it draws on all of your senses; I could almost taste, hear, smell and touch the words as they appeared in front of me. The visuals created were out of this world, mind-blowing, astounding! There is a very gothic feel about this book, something akin to a mixture of a darky fairy tale combined with Charles Dickens wrapped up in a dark and heavy Gothic lace.
Each word, each sentence, each paragraph piles on the tension so thick it almost suffocated me. I became convinced the characters were stepping out of the pages and following me. Every character left me feeling uneasy, anxious almost. I honestly didn’t know who to trust and I’m not really sure I liked any of them, despite feeling sorry for them but oh my God did I love them!
Starling Villas, the house where it all takes place is a character in its own right. It came alive and invited me inside the pages to explore its intriguing and creepy interior, creating pictures so vivid they played out like a movie in my head.
Fragile cast a spell on me, I was compelled to keep turning each page, the knot in my belly growing tighter as I did. Forgotten children, broken and abused; systems that are broken and care that has forgotten how to care; imbalances of power and control; truth, lies and choices are all explored. Each little snippet drip fed with the chills getting colder and the uneasiness increasingly disturbing as the layers are stripped back and the story slowly revealed.
Fragile is not a wham bam thank you mam kind of read; rather it is a heart wrenchingly sad tale, raw and brutal in its telling. It is different to what fans of the author may be used to but it demonstrates the literary talent that is Sarah Hilary. I still have the shivers running down my spine! Step inside if you dare!
Fragile is available to purchase via all good bookstores