3.41 (544 ratings by Goodreads)
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3.41 (544 ratings by Goodreads)

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'Stunning' - Marian Keyes, author of Grown Ups

'Chilling' - Val McDermid, author of The Wire in the Blood

Fragile is a modern Gothic psychological thriller with a contemporary twist on the classic novel Rebecca, from award-winning and critically acclaimed writer Sarah Hilary.

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 position 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 she was hoping for. Her employer has secrets of his own and lives by a rigid set of rules she must abide by.

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 are to break . . .

Further praise for Fragile:

'Perfectly plotted, beautifully written modern Gothic. I absolutely loved it' - Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

'Beautifully crafted, smart and unsettling' - Mick Herron, author of Slow Horses

'A dark, mesmeric fever-dream of a book' - Ruth Ware, author of The Woman in Cabin 10

'Ingenious, original and brilliant' - Will Dean, author of Red Snow

'Extraordinary' - Andrew Taylor, author of The American Boy and The Ashes of London

'A modern-day Highsmith' - Steve Cavanagh, author of Thirteen

'A truly outstanding work of modern Gothic' - Eva Dolan, author of Between Two Evils

'Highly original, beautifully written' - Sharon Bolton, author of The Split

'A beautifully written modern Gothic masterpiece' - Liz Nugent, author of Skin Deep

'So elegant, so restrained' - Lucy Atkins, author of Magpie Lane

'A gorgeously written, tense and atmospheric novel' - Gytha Lodge, author of She Lies in Wait
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 130 x 197 x 22mm | 266g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1529029465
  • 9781529029468
  • 554,278

Review quote

Sarah Hilary has always known how to chill her readers - Fragile dials the chill factor up to eleven -- Val McDermid Fragile is absolutely STUNNING, the dreamy atmosphere couples with Nell's carnal love for Joe put me in mind of Barbara Vine . . . [Sarah Hilary is] an astonishingly gifted writer, with an almost scalpel-like ability to dissect human motivation and convey it deliciously devoid of sentimentality. I was GRIPPED by Fragile, it took me into a whole other world and I was sorry to leave it -- Marian Keyes Perfectly plotted, beautifully written modern Gothic. Timeless, tense and tender, Fragile will worm its way deep into your heart, just as the characters insinuate themselves into each other's lives. I absolutely loved it -- Erin Kelly Extraordinary . . . an immersive psychological thriller that plunges us into an underworld of emotional and physical exploitation. There are shades of Highsmith . . . Brilliant stuff -- Andrew Taylor Beautifully written modern Gothic. I took my time with this, savouring it - the tone of Sarah Hilary's writing is unique to her: exploring society and human nature in a sensitive, engrossing way. Ingenious, original and brilliant -- Will Dean, author of The Last Thing To Burn Fragile is a fever dream. A nightmarish slant on the world delivered expertly and with heart. Tension like cold steel. Characters you won't forget. Sarah Hilary is a modern-day Highsmith -- Steve Cavanagh A beguiling thriller of considerable ambition and ingenuity, Fragile marks Sarah Hilary as a twenty-first century du Maurier, a writer who plunges the depths of human nature, finding the darkest, most deviant corners, but also the fleeting hopes and brittle aspirations. This is a truly outstanding work of modern Gothic -- Eva Dolan So Gothically creepy and addictive, brilliant characters and set-up, but most of all just beautifully written -- Sabine Durrant A swirling, corrosive tale of death and deceit, as unsettling as it is beguiling -- Luke Jennings, author of the Killing Eve series Highly original, beautifully written -- Sharon Bolton Sarah Hilary's Fragile is a beautifully written deep dive into the kind of seductive but dangerous darkness that hides away behind closed doors and respectable facades -- Rowan Coleman Fragile is a dark kind of modern fairytale, Cinderella re-imagined by a writer who knows how to turn a phrase until it's sharp enough to cut. With echoes of du Maurier and Highsmith, Fragile is compelling, poetic and, at times, terrifying. Sarah Hilary is brilliant at framing love with hate, compassion with cruelty, and her skill in creating monstrous characters is unsurpassed -- Jane Casey Sarah Hilary has created a beautifully written modern Gothic masterpiece, so full of intrigue and mysteries layered upon mysteries that the unravelling may well shred your nerves, in the best way possible -- Liz Nugent I loved this. A riveting read, dark with dread. Written in vivid and sensuous prose. Evocative, perceptive and illuminating -- Cath Staincliffe Sarah Hilary's first standalone is everything you'd expect from such a gifted writer. It's beautifully crafted, smart and unsettling - a dark river of a book, with a chilling undertow -- Mick Herron Haunting and so exquisitely written -- Michelle Davies Fragile is as devastating as it is beautiful. Very few writers possess the skill to make a story as immersive as this . . . a perfectly crafted read -- Lucy Dawson Wonderfully twisty and atmospheric. Kept me second guessing right until the end -- Sam Baker Extraordinary . . . affecting, unflinching, so atmospheric, and the pin-sharp characterization is as good at it gets. Sarah has produced a novel that feels contemporary and socially important, yet somehow other-worldly . . . executed beautifully -- Caz Frear A stunningly written, deliciously dark and immersive thriller full of atmosphere and depth. I absolutely loved it -- Roz Watkins The writing is so elegant, so restrained, that it brings to mind Patricia Highsmith. Fragile is a very fine, and very creepy psychological thriller -- Lucy Atkins Tremendously atmospheric! Fragile will tangle you up in a house full of secrets and broken lives. Beautifully written, its dark secrets reveal themselves with a deft hand -- Rachael Blok I have long been an admirer of Sarah Hilary's work, and Fragile is an exceptional novel. The writing is superb, and every page glitters with dark brilliance. I loved the Gothic quality of the book, the twisted plot, and the sense of peril that pervades the story -- Kate Rhodes A beautifully written exploration of the damage people do to each other and the lies they tell themselves along the way -- Cass Green In Fragile, Sarah Hilary has written a hypnotic novel - claustrophobic, gripping and, at times, poetic. She cleverly plays with and subverts many of the cliches of the modern crime novel to produce something startlingly original -- Andrew Wilson Hilary is my drop-everything writer; always original, always bang-on psychologically, always gripping. I am a huge fan -- Alex Marwood A gorgeously written, tense and atmospheric novel. Sarah Hilary peels back the layers of mystery so skilfully that it was impossible to look away for a moment -- Gytha Lodge Sarah Hilary writes beautifully and unflinchingly -- Peter James One of Britain's best new crime writers * Daily Mail * Fragile is everything we've come to expect from Hilary: complex, believable characters, ingenious plotting, and rich storytelling full of intrigue and dark foreboding -- Melanie McGrath Exquisitely written, pitch-dark, unsettling book reveals the damage to the fragile soul caused by neglect and betrayal. * WI Magazine * Fragile is a tense, Gothic story of obsession and disappointment that will crawl under your skin and send chills down your spine. * Sunday Express *
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About Sarah Hilary

Sarah Hilary's debut novel, Someone Else's Skin, won the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and was a World Book Night selection. The Observer's Book of the Month ('superbly disturbing') and a Richard and Judy Book Club bestseller. No Other Darkness, the second in the series, was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Fragile is her first standalone novel.
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Rating details

544 ratings
3.41 out of 5 stars
5 16% (88)
4 32% (173)
3 34% (185)
2 12% (68)
1 6% (30)
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