The Fragility of Light

- A NOVEL

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Pub Date 02 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 31 Mar 2024

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Description

Introducing "The Fragility of Light," Heather S. Lonczak's debut novel—a poignant exploration of mental health, resilience, and the enduring power of familial bonds.

Sunny Zielinski is a beautiful and talented young woman with a promising future. A recent college graduate, Sunny has landed her dream job as a book editor and is soon to be married. Her close-knit family is her strength, particularly her fiercely loving grandparents—Holocaust survivors who helped to raise her.

Following two major losses, Sunny finds herself becoming unhinged. When she experiences her first psychotic break, she is plunged into a place of profound fear and confusion. As her delusions, hallucinations, and mood symptoms take over, Sunny traverses a harrowing journey into the depths of madness. Underlying her despair is the devastating delusion that she is being hunted by the Nazis.

As Sunny attempts to navigate her symptoms, she vacillates between understanding that she has a mental illness and being convinced that the doctors are conspiring against her. Adding to the narrative are Sunny’s relationships with her devoted family, her nebulous history with her mother, and the colorful and often tragic patients she meets along the way. Ultimately, love, determination, and hope emerge as salient aspects of Sunny’s recovery as she struggles to find her way out of the darkness.


About the Author

Heather S. Lonczak holds a PhD in educational psychology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She completed her MA practicum at Western Psychiatric Institute and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. She has extensive experience as a research scientist in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and social work, and is a certified DSM-5 clinical interviewer. She has published numerous peer-reviewed social science articles and ten children’s books aimed at promoting positive youth development and empathy for animals. Dr. Lonczak lives in Seattle with her beloved family and pets.

Introducing "The Fragility of Light," Heather S. Lonczak's debut novel—a poignant exploration of mental health, resilience, and the enduring power of familial bonds.

Sunny Zielinski is a beautiful...


A Note From the Publisher

The story navigates Sunny's struggles with grace, weaving together themes of love, determination, and the human spirit. As Sunny battles her inner demons, readers are drawn into a world where vulnerability is strength, and understanding is the key to healing. Lonczak's meticulous storytelling and expertise create a narrative that resonates deeply with the human experience.

"The Fragility of Light" is not just a book; it's a conversation starter on mental health, making it a valuable addition to your bookstore, magazine, blog, or book club. Engage your audience with a story that sparks empathy and fosters understanding. Showcase "The Fragility of Light" to offer readers a transformative journey through the complexities of the mind.

LCCN: 2023923304

Editions for general distribution (INGRAM ipage):
Digital Cloth w/ Dust Jacket: ISBN 979-8-9896481-0-8, 6”x9”, 450 pages, $36.00 USD (trade discount)
Perfect Bound: ISBN 978-1-7353625-9-5, 6”x9”, 392 pages, $20.00 USD (trade discount)
Ebook: ISBN 979-8-9896481-1-5, 450 pages, $14.00 USD

Barnes & Noble edition:
Hardcover w/ Dust Jacket: ISBN 9798989648139, 450 pages, $26.00
Paperback: ISBN 9798989648122, 392 pages, $16.00

Update 2/3/2024: Uploaded the final cover, and updated description and pages.

Update 1/28/2024: We uploaded the latest version of the book. Compared to the older version, we updated the copyright page, added a couple of pages of prologue that give a taste of what is to come, and made many minor edits across the entire book. Thank you for your feedback.

The story navigates Sunny's struggles with grace, weaving together themes of love, determination, and the human spirit. As Sunny battles her inner demons, readers are drawn into a world where...


Advance Praise

Jan 2024: Firebird Book Awards - Psychiatry/Psychology
Jan 2024: NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners for Fall 2023.

"The Fragility of Light is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of mental illness, grief, and the resilience of the human spirit. Its honest and sensitive portrayal of these complex issues makes it a valuable read for those seeking to understand the nuances of mental health and the power of human empathy in the face of adversity." -  5 Stars, Literary Titan


Kirkus Review 
A searing portrait of mental illness and a family trying to stay together.

In this novel, a young woman enjoys a perfect life—a wonderful husband, an intriguing job, a new home—but things threaten to fall apart after she starts to suffer psychotic episodes.

Everything’s looking up for Joshua Fitzpatrick and Sylvia “Sunny” Zielinski. The two, who hit it off in college, get married the summer after graduation. They’re absolutely smitten, whispering loving thoughts into each other’s ears on the day of their wedding, ready to build a new life together. But the lively wedding ends in disaster when, after a sudden flight of rage, Sunny throws cake at the crowd and flees the party. The next day, her new husband swiftly forgives her wedding-night tantrum, optimistically looking to the great things ahead: Sunny’s new job in publishing, a pet cat, and a home in San Diego. But when Sunny’s grandparents, both Holocaust survivors, succumb to a stroke and old age, she falls into a grief-stricken depression that ends in a sudden break with reality. Sunny believes that she’s being chased by the Gestapo and thinks her boss is a secret Nazi. Lonczak breaks the novel up into nonlinear chapters—narrated by Sunny, her father (Peter), and Joshua—in order to flesh out the protagonist’s backstory. Early on, Joshua lovingly describes Sunny: “She was like a vibrant sunrise peeking through a cloudy sky. She was warmth, light, comfort, and dazzling beauty.” The tale reveals a history of intergenerational family trauma, with both Sunny’s mom and maternal grandmother experiencing similar psychotic episodes. The book is not an easy read. At several points, Sunny makes perilous choices, starving herself and going on the run. She even seems to endanger her half siblings. But the story delivers a sharply written and startling account of a woman and a family put to the test by mental illness—and how they learn to cope and become resilient. The novel’s one flaw involves its pacing: Much of the first 50 pages deals with the rather mundane lead-up to Sunny and Joshua’s wedding, which could have been woven into the tale as flashbacks after the ominous wedding night. But once the harrowing book picks up speed, readers will find it impossible to put down.

Jan 2024: Firebird Book Awards - Psychiatry/Psychology
Jan 2024: NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winners for Fall 2023.

"The Fragility of Light is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of...


Marketing Plan

Preliminary plan, subject to change based on feedback.

Pre-Publishing
- Reviews from NetGalley members

Post-Publishing
- Google advertising campaign (2/23-4/30)
- Facebook advertising campaign (3/1-3/18)
- Amazon advertising campaign (2/23-12/31)



Preliminary plan, subject to change based on feedback.

Pre-Publishing
- Reviews from NetGalley members

Post-Publishing
- Google advertising campaign (2/23-4/30)
- Facebook advertising campaign (3/1-3/18)
-...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9798989648108
PRICE $36.00 (USD)
PAGES 450

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 44 members


Featured Reviews

Oh this was such a beautiful story about a young woman dealing with mental illness. The storytelling was amazing and made me tear up so many times. Autoread author from now on. I’d love a physical copy of this book❤️❤️

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Wow this story almost reads like non fiction. It is strikingly realistic. As someone who personally has had a family member with this illness, I must say the author displayed an amazing amount of knowledge about it. I felt like I was looking back into the past and what my mother went through.
Anyone struggling with mental illness or who has had or currently has a family member with mental illness will undoubtably see the parallels in this book.

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Wow. I don’t know if my words will do justice to the beauty of this book, but I’m going to try. From the second I opened this book I knew it was going to grab on tight and not let go.

This book explores what it is like to live with mental illness as well as what it is to love someone with mental illness. The pain and the stigma, but also the strength and resilience that it takes to overcome it all.

As a mother to a teen who suffers with mental illness this book tore me apart and then stitched me back together. I am so thankful to NetGalley, Ivy Lane Press, and Heather Lonczak for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. I look forward to reading more books from this author in the future.

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The Fragility of Light by Heather S Lonczak is a deep read. A tough read. But one that is done so intricately and so well it absorbs you.

At the heart is Sunny, a Jewish woman in her mid-20’s. She is very curious about everything her grandparents went thru during the Holocaust, and that becomes the background of her story. Sunny begins hearing voices and thinking everyone around her is SS and going to harm her.

Joshua is Sunny’s husband, and Peter is her father. You’ll also read from their POV about what they go thru when Sunny is triggered.

This book has 3 different POV’s, but the transitions are seamless, and you’ll have no difficulty keeping up. I honestly thought this was a true story it was written so well.

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It took me longer than normal to get through this book due to the length and heavy nature of it. Trigger warnings include discussion surrounding the Holocaust, genocide, abuse of humans, severe mental illness, and suicide.

We begin the book with Sunny, a 22 year old who is extremely smart with a desire to edit books professionally and whom is engaged to the love of her life, Josh. The book is told in alternating viewpoints from Sunny, Josh, and Peter (Sunny’s father). Soon after the book starts, Sunny experiences her first psychotic break, brought on by the death of her grandparent’s, who helped raise her and with whom she is especially close. Her grandparents are both Holocaust survivors and Sunny has spent years researching and learning all she can about the genocide of her people. As Sunny’s mental health deteriorates, she believes she is being hunted by the Nazi’s. Through Sunny, Josh and Peter’s different viewpoints, the reader learns about the pervasive and debilitating impact severe mental illness has on patients, family and friends alike. As a licensed clinical social worker, I found Sunny’s experiences realistic to what I have seen in a clinical setting.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Thank you for the Advanced Reading Copy from Ivy Lane Press

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WOW!!!
I don’t even know how to describe the book to do it justice!
It takes you on a journey thu a families journey thru mental illness.
The writing grabs you and is in so much detail you can actually imagine being there looking at the same things and actually feeling how the characters are feeling. Even the raw emotion. I couldn’t even stop the tears when Sunny lost her grandparents.
I will definitely recommend this to anyone who really wants a gripping story.
Maybe the story hit me a bit more since I have seen how one thing can trigger a schizophrenic episode and my grandparents were in the war. But I could not put this book down. I just wanted to get lost in it.
Thank you NetGalley for the advanced copy

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THE FRAGILITY OF LIGHT: a heartwrenching, gripping story of the burden of identity and illness.
Mental illness has become a topic of great sensitivity nowadays, and I believe wholeheartedly it should be talked about much more, and in a manner that is a hundred percent authentic.
Good thing there are books like Ms. Heather Lonczak's heartwrenching novel, THE FRAGILITY OF LIGHT, which, in my view, is an absolute masterpiece of psychological fiction.
Meet Sylvia "Sunny" Zielinski. A bright young woman, with a bright future, just married, looking to become a book editor. She is funny, brilliant, highly empathetic.. So, what could be in her way?
Well, as it turns out, mental illness. Mental illness that is portrayed in SUCH a memorable manner that I dare anyone to make it a character of a story as poignantly and powerfully as Ms. Lonczak has. You see, Sunny comes from a family of Holocaust survivors, and as soon as she discovers the fate of her grandparents, her psychotic episodes start making her believe she is actually being sought for extermination by Nazis.
I loved the way in which Ms. Lonczak chose to tell the story, from the POVs of Sunny, her husband Joshua, and her father, Peter. This is not a book for everyone, as the subject matter and the manner in which it is approached are really intense. However, for those looking for insight into mental illness, as well as one of the most inspiring and emotional family dramas I have ever read, this book is a must. Ten out of five. A gripping, heartfelt, authentic masterpiece!

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