Discussion Guide for Fragile

Use this discussion guide at your next book club meeting as a starter for conversation.


At home in the quiet village of The Hollows, psychiatrist Maggie Cooper and her policeman husband are all too familiar with the private lives of their neighbors. But when their son’s girlfriend goes missing, Maggie’s dangerous quest for truth reveals long buried secrets that threaten everything she holds dear. Thrilling and provocative, Fragile is the perfect blend of suspense and human drama.



  1. What makes Jones and Maggie a good couple? How would you have reacted to his revelations if you had been Maggie? What life lessons—for better or worse—do they impart to Rick?
  2. How did your opinion of Marshall shift throughout the novel, from his session with Maggie in chapter three to the powerful closing scenes? What does it take to defeat the emotional grip of an abuser?
  3. How does Elizabeth cope with the responsibility she accumulated after shepherding students for most of her lifetime? What does she teach Maggie about motherhood?
  4. In chapter nine, Lisa Unger describes the way Maggie, Melody, and Denise behaved in high school. Did they change very much over the years? Did high school predict your life accurately?
  5. Facebook plays a role in the race to rescue Charlene, but was it a healthy resource for her friends? Does it enhance or distort reality?
  6. In his pivotal phone call to Maggie, Marshall asks, “How do you know if you’re a good person?” How would you have answered this question?
  7. Do you think of your family, or your community, as being open and candid, or do they have a lot to hide? Discuss a time when you discovered something potentially damaging about a loved one’s past. How did you handle it? Has your own past ever haunted you?