What’s it all about?:
You love your best friend. You trust her with your life. But could you give her the most precious gift of all?
Alex’s life is a mess. She’s barely holding down a job, only just affording her apartment, and can’t remember when she was last in a relationship. An unexpected pregnancy is the last thing she needs.
Martha’s life is on track. She’s got the highflying career, the gorgeous home and the loving husband. But one big thing is missing. Five rounds of IVF and still no baby.
The solution seems simple. Alex knows that Martha can give her child everything that she can’t provide. But Martha’s world may not be as perfect as it seems, and letting go isn’t as easy as Alex expected it to be. Now they face a decision that could shatter their friendship forever.
What did I think?:
I spotted this book a while ago on Net Galley and was intrigued by the synopsis, having read something similar fairly recently, Dear Thing by Julie Cohen which I loved. This was also a bit of a gamble for me as I was unsure whether the book could compare to Cohen’s story but I was delighted to discover that I thoroughly enjoyed This Fragile Thing too! Many thanks to Carina (Harlequin UK) and Net Galley for approving my request and letting me experience this emotional and surprising novel.
The story is told by alternating points of view from two best friends, Alex and Martha who couldn’t be more different if they tried. Alex is a quirky character, easy-going and fun with an apartment she can barely afford and a relaxed attitude to love and life. Martha on the other hand is happily married to Rob with a beautiful house, dream job and is quite a perfectionist who likes her life just so without any messy deviations. Martha seems to have it all in one sense, but under that controlled exterior she is nursing a secret heartbreak. She has been trying to have a family for years and as the novel begins she has just found out that her fifth round of IVF has failed. This is not really great timing for her friend Alex to fall pregnant entirely by accident, especially when Alex is determined that she would make an awful mother and doesn’t have the resources to raise a child yet doesn’t want to have an abortion.
However, Martha sees a silver lining in this mess. If Alex kept the child and acted as a surrogate, Martha and Rob could then adopt the baby and everyone lives happily ever after, right? When Martha springs this amazing solution onto Alex she is surprised but at the same time relieved and after all, she would be doing this beautiful thing that would give her best friend everything she had ever wanted. It seems to have come along with perfect timing in Martha’s eyes as she and Rob had decided that if the last IVF failed, they wouldn’t try again. Nine months is a long time though…and when Alex finds out some shocking news, the fragility of their friendship is pushed to breaking point, something which may be impossible to recover.
This book was a really fantastic read. I mentioned before that I wasn’t sure how it would compare to a similar book I have read but I needn’t have had any worries at all, it stood in its own right as a magnificent tear-jerker of a novel. I found myself continually questioning how strong the bonds of friendship have to be when they are challenged, the beauty of motherly love and how to accept the fact that you may never have a child, despite how ready or super-qualified you may feel you are to do the job. I loved all three characters as individuals although I had issues with all of them throughout the novel. It took me quite a while to warm to Martha as her exterior seemed so cold and controlling while at the same time my heart absolutely broke for her and what she was suffering. Her husband Rob was so patient and loving although he does some questionable things through the novel and I loved Alex for her free spirit and how she grew as a person as the story continued. All of them have flaws, and no-one is perfect but that’s what made the book feel so authentic and I believed in every one of them.
I’ve decided not to reveal the twist in the novel because it made the book so much more special for me not knowing what to expect and added an extra “oomph” to the story. I’ve seen a few other reviews on Good Reads that have done so read these with caution if you haven’t read this book before! When this twist appeared it was honestly like a sucker punch to the stomach – I was so shocked and so surprised. This Fragile Life is an emotional story already without this added twist and when it comes it takes the book onto a whole new level of heart-break and suffering. I haven’t actually read anything by Kate Hewitt before and this story has really inspired me to pick up some of her other work. So, prepare to be moved, shocked, saddened but ultimately uplifted by something with real depth and emotion that has to be read to be believed.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):