Brief Synopsis: The lives of two individuals, Fiona and Soham, have been defined by heartbreak. As they mature, they seek meaning for their lives in a world that seems to be filled exclusively with pain. Each also longs for someone they can share their past, their burdens, and their continuing lives with. A chance encounter could grant them peace and support in one another-or it could bring just another opportunity for disappointment.
When a book is advertised as “a gripping inspirational emotional fiction” (Goodreads), you know it is going to be intense. As a seasoned reader, I should have realized from the beginning that what the phrase really means is that it “attempts to rip your heart out” and “creates a world where everything is sad, then tries to find a reason for hope”. Don’t go into this thinking it will be optimistic and comforting. Just don’t.
The Fragile Thread of Hope starts out with a tragedy, then shifts POV…and there’s another tragedy. Basically, the first three quarters of the book is tragedy after tragedy, heartbreak on top of betrayal and calamity. I barely had time to get attached to some of the characters before they were extinguished from the story.
However, this is a very well-written book. It reads beautifully, as if the author spent countless hours poring over nearly every sentence to ensure it is worded exactly right. The author’s voice is lyrical, and no matter how fatefully tragic Fiona and Soham’s lives became, I still found myself routing for them even as I chided myself with the realization that such a thought process was pointless.
In all honesty, “emotional” books are not really my cup of tea. I prefer adventure and action over drama. It should not be surprising, then, that I did not really enjoy this book. My enjoyment (or anyone else’s, for that matter) is not the sole factor in determining whether a book is good though. Ultimately, what I like to see most in a book is that it interacts with meaningful conversation regarding something that really matters in life. The Fragile Thread of Hope interweaves themes dealing with grief, spirituality, friendship, and the meaning of life into its characters and story. This is not done in a subtle manner, but it is also organic; the author does not break in to say that the answers his characters latch onto are necessarily correct or that there is one best way to deal with anything. Fiona and Soham do not find peace easily. Like anyone, they must struggle and search for longer than they would like to, and face cascading tragedies along the way. Their search is honest, and I believe that it will resonate with many readers.
There were times when I opened this book and said to myself “I wonder who is going to die in this chapter?” and a few pages later I would smirk, then feel bad for being callous about whatever disaster had inevitably occurred. I do think that the repeated blow after blow at the beginning of the book is a drawback. I did not want to read about one more horrible thing that *just happened to happen* to the protagonists. Looking back, the story might have been better served if there were more drops of positivity interspersed.
The only other issue that I have is that it is revealed at the very end (minor spoiler alert) that one of the protagonists has a blog. This is a key piece for the ending to work, and while it does work, it comes out of nowhere. Everything surrounding this portion feels like it was thrown together without the careful thought the rest of the book received.
The setting, various urban cities in India, made the story quite interesting to me. I appreciated the opportunity to read about a culture that is different from my own, especially in a book that deals with universal emotions and situations that could potentially apply to anyone. The author does a good job of including diversity, as well; the characters come from different castes, backgrounds, and religions, showing more than one side of life in India. Story or writing quality aside, this aspect is intriguing to me.
If you’re a fan of books that play on your emotions and deal with themes such as grief, family, friendship, and spirituality, then this is definitely an interesting read. I, for one, am glad that I read it…but I am also glad that I am finished reading it. The emotional pull is simply too strong and too negative for my taste. This is not a book that I am likely to go back to, but it definitely deserves its due in the literary canon.