Cover Image: The Fragments

The Fragments

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Toni Jordan fabricates an absorbing account around the existence of seven fragments that are all that remains of author Inga Karlson’s legendary second novel.

Caddie Walker, named for the primary character in Karlson’s Pulitzer winning first novel, All Has an End, visits an exhibit of the author’s life and work where she encounters Rachel Lehrer who quotes a line that does not appear on any of the fragments. There is no one alive, supposedly, who has read The Days, The Minutes, the second novel that was completely destroyed in a warehouse fire in 1938 that also took the lives of Karlson and her publisher, Charles Cleborn. Now, Caddie is curious, so she begins to investigate the possibility that someone else read the novel.

The narrative in The Fragments moves back and forth between Rachel and Inga’s story in the 1930’s and Caddie’s in 1986. Caddie researched and wrote her thesis on All Has an End only to have it stolen and published as a successful paper by Professor Philip Carmichael, her adviser at the time. With this new clue, Caddie reaches out to two professors, Jamie Ganivet and Philip Carmichael, seeking information that might reveal who else might have had access to the novel in 1939.

Ms. Jordan spins a fascinating yarn with believable characters and sets a compelling pace. An impressive read.

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I just could not get into this one. I felt wholly disconnected from and not immersed in the characters and setting. I don’t know if it was me or if it was the book, so I will be generous with my stars.

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I wanted so much to love this. I wanted to love this so much. Everyone who reads must have wanted to love this.
Instead it was OK. It was another of those stories that forced two stories together. I have noticed others who thought is was redeemed by the "twist" ending. Unfortunately, the twist was apparent from the first chapter. I wish I could have liked this more. I didn't hate it. I just wanted so much more. There was some romances that I didn't particularly care about because I didn't think they added to the story. Instead, there were a lot of details that added nothing but surprisingly little real depth.

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I was really intrigued by the premise of this book, and initially it had me hooked: the fragments of a novel lost to a 1939 fire which also killed the author, and now displayed in the State Gallery in Brisbane, Australia, in the mid-1980s. These fragments captivate our protagonist, Caddie, and a chance discussion with an elderly lady propels her onto a journey in which she searches for answers regarding the novel, the fire, and the author.

This is an intriguing book. It follows dual timelines, one running up to the fateful fire, and the other following Caddie’s search. It has elements of historical fiction, mystery, and thriller, with a sprinkle of romance. The author has a lovely, lyrical way of writing and there are some lovely sentences in this book. However, I found that I had to suspend my disbelief at various points and struggled with this a bit — for instance, would you really risk your career, your relationships, etc, on a hunch after a chance encounter with a stranger? I also found some of the concidences to be a little too neatly wrapped up. The twist felt flimsy and the ending abrupt — but I did like Caddie’s journey as she discovered herself along the way.

I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Text Publishing, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Fragments is a literary thriller which alternates between the mid-1980's in Brisbane, Australia and NYC in the 1930's. It is a very interesting blend of mystery, historical fiction and romance. Highly recommended for fans of any of these genres and especially for bookworms!

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I'm a sucker for a good thriller novel and this one lived up to my hopes! The world, characters, and story were so creative, so enjoyable, and so intriguing. It was such a fun and exciting read! I did not guess any of the twists

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*Thank you to Toni Jordan, Text Publishing, and NetGalley for this ARC!

This book was absolutely fantastic! Being a book lover myself, I immediately connected with the main character Caddie and loved seeing her grow throughout the book. The idea that a historical mystery could be solved after 50 years because the right person looks into the right things in fascinating to say the least. If you're looking for a quick read that's a bit mystery, a bit history, and all bookish love then this is the book for you!

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3.5 stars (rounded down)

A Fire in New York, in the 1930’s took the life of author Inga Karlson, along with all the copies of her soon-to-be published second novel, “The Days, The Minutes.”

All that remained were the damaged remains of just a few pages. in order, they were 46, 53, 108, 117, 187, 200 and 238. Page 108 has suffered only charting down the right hand side, and a small oblong hole. Page 200 has one whole corner burnt away, and other parts are crumbling.

The fragments are on display at the new State Gallery , in Brisbane, Queensland in 1986, and bookseller, and fan, Caddie Walker is taking her time with the exhibit. While there she meets an elderly woman, who asks her what words from the author she likes best....
“And in the end, all we have are the hours and the days, the minutes and the way we bear them” answers Caddie without hesitation.

The woman says it’s her favorite as well, and she finishes the partial sentence that remains with ”the seconds spent on this earth and the number of them that truly mattered.”

Caddie becomes convinced that despite all that has been written about this tragedy, that this unknown woman somehow KNEW what had been written and that the words she spoke were the actual words once written and not words that she just made up.

So begins a mystery, fifty years in the making that will have Caddie Walker looking into that long ago fire and the woman who may just have answers, the World has been waiting for, told from two alternating timelines ...1938 and 1986.

I thought this would be a book for bibliophiles, and I loved the concept!

But, both narratives got a bit sidetracked as the women in each narrative got sidetracked by romance, and by poor decisions! 🤦🏻‍♀️

Fortunately, the book redeems itself in the end, just as I was giving up hope!!

I would like to thank NetGalley, Text Publishing and Toni Jordan for the digital ARC which I received in exchange for a candid review! This book has a U.S. release date of September 10, 2019!

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Inga Karlson's debut novel published in 1935, 'All Has an End' was a major literary success loved and read by all. Four years later her much anticipated second book, 'The Days, the Minutes' was on the verge of being released in New York, when Inga, her publisher and all copies of the book were engulfed in a fire in the warehouse where the books were stored. All that remains are a few scorched fragments, with snippets of beautiful prose hinting at the lost promise of the novel.

In 1986, Caddie Walker, a young woman working in a Brisbane bookstore, queues to see an exhibition on Inga Karlson and in particular the fragments of that second book. At the exhibition she meets an older woman called Rachel who, just as she's leaving in a taxi, quotes a passage from the fragments to her, but Caddie realises it's an extended version of the passage. Has she discovered someone who has read 'The Days, the Minutes'? Together with Jamie Ganivet, an ex-graduate student and expert on Inga Karlson, Caddie delves back into the history of Inga's life and the cause of the fire to find out if it's possible that someone other than Inga and her publisher read a copy the book before it was destroyed.

Written in two time lines, the Fragments tells the story of the writing of 'The Days, the Minutes' and the events leading up to the catastrophic fire in 1939 and Caddie's search for answers in 1986. The novel is beautifully written with gorgeous prose and snippets of wry humour and the plot is well paced with a rising tension as Rachel's and Caddie's stories unfold. Rachel's life in her tiny apartment in New York in the 1930s, with the world on the brink of war feels authentic, as does Caddies life in 1980s Queensland, in a time before internet made research so much easier. A little twist at the end makes for a surprising and very satisfying ending.

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I enjoyed this book. I love a mystery and The Fragments delivered.
Sometimes I thought that the main character of the book was Brisbane weather, rather Brisbane heat. It played such an important role in the events and in the interaction between characters. The heat impacted on the choices made by the characters. I think, if the novel would have been set in colder climate, we would have gotten a completely different story.
The story of Inga and Rachel, Caddie and Jamie and Caddie and Phillip are all intervene for the purpose of finding the truth. But the truth here is many things for different people.
It all depends on how much you want the truth, the reward, the recognition. It all depends on how much you want other people to be happy... or do you even care.
Toni Jordan created characters that done the mystery its dues. The good has prevail, the mystery uncovered so many other secrets even more important than the first mystery itself. The knights (Caddie and Jamie) of the literary world protected the 'damsel in distress' and the monster did not get the treasure.
All ended well, even though with more questions than answers.
Sometimes all you need are the fragments to start you on the journey of finding answers and finding yourself.

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A brilliant narrative distortion at the beginning goes up in smoke (no pun intended) at the end with a very ridiculous (illogical) trope. But thanks to the publisher for the ARC.

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A novel about an author and a book, "the fragments" references the few fragments of famed author Inga Karlsson's never published book that remain after a fire. Caddie is a young woman, slightly aimless, who is obsessed with Karlsson's famous book and with the fragments and soon discovers that she might be able to get to the truth about what happened to Karlsson and to her unpublished book.

I'd say this book is about 90% there. If you go along for the ride and suspend disbelief a couple of times, it's very engaging. Set in Brisbane and New York, with separate timelines for Karlsson in the 30s and Caddie in the 80s, the book is filled with wonderful descriptions that establish place and time beautifully. The ending just fell flat for me and I'm not sure I can put it into words why I feel that way. In fact, I actually picked the book back up a few days later thinking I hadn't finished it and was disappointed to realize I had and was just unsatisfied with the abrupt finish.

Overall the book is engaging, the hunt for the truth is pretty well developed and the mystery is mostly well resolved. Definitely worth the read.


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I’m prefacing this review by saying that I like Toni Jordan’s writing (and in particular, Addition was a terrific book).

The Fragments is a literary mystery (in every sense of the word). The story alternates between 1930s New York and Brisbane in the 1980s. In New York, celebrated author Inga Karlson dies in a fire and her highly anticipated second book is also burnt, leaving just a few scorched fragments of the manuscript.

Fifty years later, Brisbane bookseller Caddie Walker is at a Karlson exhibition featuring the famous fragments when she meets a charismatic older woman. The woman quotes a phrase from the Karlson fragments that Caddie knows does not exist, and yet to Caddie, it feels genuine. Caddie decides to investigate.

It’s really, really difficult to give yourself over to a book when the premise isn’t plausible, and that’s why I ran into strife with The Fragments. Is it possible to have just one book that is universally adored? That is meaningful to so many people? That creates a cult-like following decades after it was published? And if this book existed, how likely is it that there would be multiple academics sitting in the English Department of a university in Queensland studying it?

I wondered if this story was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman – it was the closest real-life example I could think of to bolster Inga Karlson’s plausibility. And yet, even Harper Lee falls short – would people queue at a museum for hours to see bits of her manuscripts? Are there still multiple (funded) academics making Lee’s writing their fulltime work?

There was more to struggle with – as the mystery-solving is gathering momentum, Caddie becomes involved with a person from her past, essentially trading a blossoming relationship for an old, unhappy one. It didn’t ring true, although I liked Jordan’s writing around Caddie meeting with ex again –

Philip was good at silences, she remembers. Manufacturing holes for you to step in.

And another struggle – Jordan’s fine writing gets lost in the melodrama. There are some lovely phrases – ‘The joints in Rachel’s wrists click and sigh’ and ‘Every breath is the scraping of a thin shale across river sand’ – but the action out-paces them. Overall, disappointing.

2.5/5 It’s me, not the book.

I received my copy of The Fragments from the publisher, Text Publishing, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

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"Books are time travel and space travel and mind-altering drugs. They are mind-melds and telepathy and past-life regression. How people can stand here and not sense the magic in them--it's inconceivable to her."

Anybody who understands this about books immediately has my attention. Toni Jordan not only understands it, but delivers it up for us to enjoy.

I hated to see The Fragments end.

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I loved this story and read it in one sitting. I especially enjoyed the plot twist which I did not see coming.

My thanks to Netgalley for an EARC in exchange for my honest feedback.

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A little slow and boring for me. There was a big twist at the end, but since the rest of the story was so meh and I wasn't attached to the characters, the twist didn't mean much.

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The Fragments by Toni Jordan is a literary mystery that alternates between 1930s New York City and 1980s Brisbane, Australia. The back and forth succeeds in retaining the interest and attention of the reader. In the 1930s, Inga Karlson wrote a much-loved bestselling book. The public was enthralled and anxiously awaited the next novel. However, tragedy struck which led to the partial destruction of all copies of the new book, leaving only scorched fragments. In 1980s Brisbane, Caddie Walker, a bookstore clerk, attends an exhibition of the Inga Karlson book fragments. Something that happens there causes Caddie to investigate the occurences of the 1930s to get to the bottom of what led to the loss of such an important book. What follows will not disappoint. This is a quiet thriller that surprises and entertains the reader. Highly recommended. Thank you to Text Publishing Company and NetGalley for the e- ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Fragments by Toni Jordan tells the story of Inga Karlson in the 1930s and Caddie Walker in '80s. Caddie, a huge fan of Karlson's, begins to look into Inga's mysterious death and the fragments of her Inga's second book.

I quite liked Jordan's writing style, both easy to follow and interesting enough to not feel like "first someone did this, then they did this." I liked the characters and the mystery at the heart of the book.

Inga and Caddie are both interesting characters to follow. I loved the glimpses we got of New York in the '30s and Brisbane in the '80s. There is one thing that still confounds me: the motive. But on the whole, I quite liked this book and enjoyed the twists and turns.

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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, and the publisher Text Publishing Company. Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review on my own.

Ms. Jordan's newest work is a love story on all levels. Love of people, books, ambition, attention, and being loved in return. The dual timelines flow seamlessly into each other, with richly developed characters and a heartbreaking twist of events.

5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

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Really interesting book, I loved the premise and the characters. My only quibble is that I guessed the twist but that could be a product of reading too many thrillers! Fascinating subject though and recommended

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