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…
I love a good psychological thriller, and Sarah Hilary’s Fragile absolutely nails it.
Nell and Joe, foster kids. Best friends and more. Runaways, living on the streets of London. Joe goes missing after a night at Starling Villas with a mysterious woman, and Nell just has to find out why. She manages to finagle a job there as housekeeper, determined to find out what happened. But there’s more to Starling Villas and its enigmatic, controlling owner Robin Wilder than meets the eye…
Sarah Hilary gradually ratchets up the tension slowly, drawing you into this tale of deceit. Who exactly is Robin Wilder? What happened to the previous housekeeper? What are in all the boxes that Wilder spends his days going through?
The story is told partly in flashback to Nell’s childhood, growing up in a foster home with Joe under the not-so-caring eye of Meagan Flack. And of the terrible events one fateful day which led Nell and Joe to run. But you can never run away from your past, and it has a way of catching up with you.
The writing is sublime, the characters sharply drawn, living long in your mind after you turn the final page. Hilary carefully measures out the story much like Nell takes care of the housekeeping money for Robin Wilder. You’re given exactly enough, at exactly the right time. It’s superb storytelling, perfectly plotted, demanding that you read just one more chapter.
It’s the first of Sarah Hilary’s books that I’ve read, but on the strength of this book, I’ll definitely be reading more.
Fragile by Sarah Hilary is published by Macmillan and is out now. Many thanks to Macmillan and Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for the advance copy of the book to review.