Best Book Editors

Fragments of Tess by Marlene F. Cheng

Book Blurb

She’s clinging to a tenuous hope. But her endless river of despair could drown her last chance at freedom.

Tess Elliot lives in fear. Growing up on the Canadian prairie, the intelligent girl survived a traumatic near-death experience and a childhood rapist by leaving her body in times of pain and terror. And though she’s now a skilled doctor, the private loner constantly worries that her mind will fracture completely… giving away her secrets and ruining her life.

Gifted a holiday cruise to Alaska, an overjoyed Tess starts to truly relax for the first time in years as she finds acceptance and happiness with new friends. But her tentative feelings of control may still prove fragile enough to shatter…

Can her strong will save her from a world fading in and out of reality?

Striking a delicate balance between gut-wrenchingly sad and profoundly joyful moments, Marlene F. Cheng’s poetic prose reveals the emotional whirlpools created by multiple-personality disorder. And as you develop a deep bond with her characters, the intense realism of this tale will inspire you to cross invisible barriers and reach a more complete sense of self.

Fragments of Tess is a heartrending women’s literary fiction novel. If you like deeply flawed protagonists, honest depictions of mental illness, and hopeful silver linings, then you’ll love Marlene F. Cheng’s unraveling of truth.

Buy Fragments of Tess to fight for survival today!

Best Book Editors Review

What a surprise this book was. It’s easily in my top three reads of this year, and I can’t recommend it enough. This isn’t an easy review to write because almost everything I want to say would be a massive spoiler. So, I’m going to keep it general.

From the opening story about the little girl living with the Indians on the prairie, I was hooked. Each vignette of the main character’s life as she interacts with the other people in the book is fractured—like Tess.  We are fed them in piecemeal, short chapters, a slice here and one there to keep you riveted.

We never really get to know anybody, but are given enough to make us keep turning those pages and wanting more. The book doesn’t drag you into the big reveals, it leaves crumbs for you to make your own way there. And when it starts to make brilliant, blinding sense, it’s all the more brutal for it. Clever, clever, beautiful writing.

The craft of this author is phenomenal, the writing is lyrical and full of whimsy. The description is sublime. And the pace doesn’t for one-second feel hurried or rushed, and yet I zipped through this book and couldn’t read it fast enough. I loved every word of it. I was disappointed when it ended and can’t wait to read more from this lady.

I couldn’t imagine anybody reading this book finishing it and coming away disappointed. I can read a book and forget it by the time I start the next one. Not this. Ask me about this book on my deathbed, and I’ll give you the gist of it. Brilliant.

About Marlene F. Cheng

Marlene Cheng is a Wall Street Journal, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon bestseller author. She has also won Maincrest Media and Book Excellence awards in women’s fiction.

Her fiction books are about the relationships that define women’s lives–romance, friendship, and family. Marlene is a keen observer of how people think and feel, and she writes lyrical, uplifting, and emotionally rich stories.

What is being said:

“Today’s best up-and-coming fiction writer.”–Publishers Daily Reviews.

“Marlene writes with great facility. Her writing is intelligent: her prose is poetic.”–Dr. David Yeung MBBS FRCPC (certified psychiatrist).

“A fantastic journey that takes readers to the innermost corners of the human heart.”–Reader’s Favorites.

Marlene was prairie-born, farm-raised, and now lives among the old-growth pine and cedar, overlooking the Pacific Ocean,

on the West Coast of Canada–a haven that stimulates creativity.

“As with any worthy story,” Marlene says, “my biography has its own inner destiny independent of its author. I sense this and strive to have the poise, integrity, and courage to go with the flow.”


Visit her at https://




Evocative and Moving

I was drawn to Fragments of Tess by the image of the woman on the cover, but it is not what I was expecting. The book tells the story of a woman affected by multiple personality disorder in short slice of life chapters and childhood memories that read in some ways like a memoir.

The writing is beautiful and evocative, the structure works well, and the stories are very interesting, depicting experiences from another place and time. There is so much about the narrator that is unclear, although the reader already knows from the blurb that she has multiple personalities. This becomes more evident as the book progresses, but the extent is still a surprise when it comes to the very emotional climax and the closing chapters.

This book feels like a deeply personal story and it makes me intrigued to check out more of the author’s work.



What a thought-provoking and intriguing novel this is. The name of the book could not have been better chosen, for the book consists of fragmented stories of childhood memories, traumatic events, and happy occasions as the reader struggles to understand what is going on. Yet, the book draws the reader in from page one and keeps their interest to the end when it all begins to make sense. This is a wonderful story of an intelligent, successful and sensitive woman who struggles to cope with her Multiple Personality Disorder. I feel I have a better understanding of mental illness since reading this book. Well worth reading.

This is a real treasure trove of a book. Vivid, lyrical, yet unfussy prose tells the story of Tess, who grows up in rural, mid-20th Century Canada, and then becomes a pathologist upon finishing school. This is no straightforward tale, however, and Tess is certainly no straightforward protagonist. Her psychological difficulties are brilliantly and poetically captured, and the reader is left in the same kind of bewildering uncertainty as Tess herself until some way into the book. In one sense, this is an extremely cleverly-plotted detective story, and we must try to unravel the truth – to find the firm ground of reality – right alongside the book’s heroine.

There’s so much more I could say about this wonderful novel, but I know my review wouldn’t do it justice. It is powerfully intimate, viscerally upsetting, and rapturously profound. Completely unforgettable – and also the kind of book that you want to start again as soon as you’ve finished it!




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