I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the new standalone novel by Sarah Hilary, Fragile, on my blog today as part of the blog tour. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.
Everything she touches breaks . . .
Nell Ballard is a runaway. A former foster child with a dark secret she is desperate 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 the 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 that 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 easy they can be to break . . .
I’m a huge, huge fan of Sarah Hilary’s writing, having loved her DI Marnie Rome series, which I’m hoping Sarah Hilary will return to at some point. I was really intrigued to see that she was releasing a new standalone novel. Fragile is her latest book, and it is an intense, beautifully written psychological thriller.
We meet Nell, who has recently applied to work for a Robert Wilder at his home in London, Starling Villas and eventually becomes his housekeeper. Nell is a former foster child, but lately, she has been living on the streets. But Nell also has a dark secret, and there is a reason why she has applied for the position at Starling Villas.
Ever since I read Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, she has been an auto-buy author for me. I always recommend her work when people ask me to recommend them a good book to read. I connected to Nell straight away. I wanted to know why she specifically wanted to come to Starling Villas and what it had to do with her childhood. Sarah Hilary builds on the atmosphere as the novel progresses and things become darker and more intense, particularly when Robert’s wife arrives on the scene.
Robert, who Nell works for, is a very strange character. I did find him unnerving as well when Nell firsts comes to his house, and I wanted to learn more about who he was. I felt fearful for Nell when she first arrived as I wasn’t sure what she was getting herself into here. Any minute I kept thinking that something terrible was going to happen to her, or she was going to uncover a dark secret. It’s clear from the outset that she is here on a mission and she is determined to see it through. I wanted to find out what it was she wanted to achieve by coming here.
Sarah Hilary’s writing draws you into the story from the very first page. As the plot unfolds, we begin to learn more about Nell and her childhood. Sarah Hilary reveals what Nell went through when she was a child living in foster care, and it makes for gripping reading. We know that something terrible happened when she was living in foster care, but it’s only when we reach the chapters, do we understand the full, terrible truth.
If you haven’t yet discovered Sarah Hilary’s writing, this is the perfect time to do so. Fragile is a haunting, exceptionally well written novel. I highly recommend it!
Publication date: 10th June 2021
Print length: 352 pages
Fragile is available to buy:
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