Fragile by Sarah Hilary @RandomTTours

Fragile is absolutely STUNNING’ Marian Keyes

‘Sarah Hilary has always known how to chill her readers – Fragile dials the chill factor up to 11′ Val McDermid

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 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 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 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

Having enjoyed previous books by Sarah Hilary, I was so looking forward to her first standalone book. And what a beautifully written novel it is! It’s an atmospheric gothic chiller of the highest quality, slowly revealing all of its secrets with an intelligently crafted plot.

Nell overhears a conversation in a cafe that is about to change her life and give her an entry into Starling Villas-a dark and creepy house owned by Robin Wilder. She becomes his housekeeper living by his very exacting rules until her past finally manages to catch up with her…

Not a word is wasted here as this carefully constructed house of cards starts to fall around the enigmatic Robin and the fragile girl he has taken into his home. We know that something terrible has happened to Nell previously and that it all revolves around her friendship with Joe. Nell and Joe had been fostered by the same foster mother, Meagan-a conniving and vicious tongued woman who had no place looking after vulnerable children! The slow burning pace means that the tension becomes wound tighter than a spring as the inevitable fallout approaches.

This is an unsettling book but utterly brilliant from start to finish. An edgy, taut idea, perfectly crafted, that reminded me a little of Barbara Vine with its dark, chilling plot line and exquisitely embellished characters. A stand-alone worth waiting for!

Sarah Hilary’s new novel FRAGILE will be published on 10 June 2021 by Pan Macmillan. Mick Herron called it ‘a dark river of a book’ while Erin Kelly said, ‘Timeless, tense and tender, Fragile will worm its way deep into your heart.’

Sarah’s debut SOMEONE ELSE’S SKIN won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015. It was a World Book Night selection and Richard & Judy Book Club pick. The latest in her D.I. Marnie Rome series NEVER BE BROKEN was published by Headline in 2019.

Visit for news, updates and reviews

Published by


I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

4 thoughts on “Fragile by Sarah Hilary @RandomTTours”

Comments are closed.