Book Reviews

The Fragments by Toni Jordan


Publisher: Text Publishing
Released: October 2018, released in the US and other markets September 2019
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5


From the publisher: 

Inga Karlson died in a fire in New York in the 1930s, leaving behind three things: a phenomenally successful first novel, the scorched fragments of a second book, and a literary mystery that has captivated generations of readers.

Nearly fifty years later, Brisbane bookseller Caddie Walker is waiting in line to see a Karlson exhibition featuring the famous fragments. A charismatic older woman quotes a phrase from the Karlson fragments that Caddie knows does not exist. Caddie is jolted from her sleepy life in 1980s Brisbane and driven to uncover the truth about this fascinating literary mystery.


After its emotional ending, I needed to let The Fragments sit for a couple days before I could pen a review when I initially read it earlier in the year. After I gave it some thought I had a couple of questions, the main one being “Why isn’t EVERYONE talking about this book?!” Several months later I’m still wondering why. It was a beautiful, atmospheric, and unique literary mystery that was thoroughly engaging.  I don’t really understand why this isn’t a massive hit across all the best-seller lists or being optioned for a movie/series.

Our shy bookseller, Cadence, visits a travelling exhibition in her hometown of Brisbane that centers on the tragic death of her favourite author, Inga Karlson. Inga, a one book wonder who died in a fire in 1930’s NYC that also consumed the only copies of her much anticipated second novel, is an enigmatic legend shrouded in mystery. After a chance encounter with an older woman at the exhibition, Caddie suddenly finds herself close to solving the dark mysteries about Inga that have plagued academics and fans for decades.

Even though I more or less realised where this was going about halfway through, it didn’t make the big reveal any less intense. I became so invested in Inga and and another character’s backstory that I couldn’t tear myself away from the book. It didn’t take long to realise why the world was so enamoured with the eccentric author- I was enamoured too.

Caddie wasn’t as engaging, but I still enjoyed reading from her point of view. She was a little wishy washy at times and went off on really odd trains of thought, but the flashbacks to a storyline from the 1930’s more than made up for this.

I only wish that the ending hadn’t been so abrupt. Everything came to a pretty sharp conclusion and I feel like after all the reader had invested by that point we really deserved a little more. Yes, it’s easy enough to piece together after that short final chapter, but I would have liked a few plot points further expanded on. Hence the other questions I have about this book.

Despite all that though, this novel utterly moved me and I’m so glad I was given a chance to read this. What a shame that Inga’s books aren’t real! They were described so powerfully that I’m desperate for them to be real publications.


I originally read The Fragments at the beginning of the year, not long after it had been published in the UK and Australia. It was re-released in the United States and other countries in September of this year so I’m hoping exposure to different markets will help boost this book up. Even though I read it several months ago, the story has still stuck with me and moves me as much now as it did when I first read it. My heart still aches for Inga as I type up this review.

If you’re looking for a tale that not only celebrates the written word but will completely enthrall you with its sweeping mysteries and historical settings, I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Fragments by Toni Jordan. And be sure to let me know what you think of it!

  Buy on

Buy on


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7 thoughts on “The Fragments by Toni Jordan”

  1. This sounds like a great read – I’ll add it to my list! I can’t resist books about books. And I know how frustrating it can be when you discover an absolute gem that nobody seems to be reading, so thank you for sharing this one!
    📕MP📚 X

    Liked by 1 person

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