Saturday, 4 March 2017
Published by Bookouture
Purchase from Amazon here
What is the book about?
Hello? Rhys Woods? I have a patient here I think you know. Yours is the only number in her diary…
When Rhys is called to the hospital to meet Susan, a woman he barely knows, he is compelled to help her. Still grieving the loss of his brother months earlier, Rhys knows all too well the feeling of loneliness.
There are years between them, but Rhys is the only person Susan will respond to, and when she asks him to bring her her most treasured possession, a book of fairytales, he is intrigued.
Hidden in the book is a clue to Susan’s past, and the painful regrets she carries with her. And as Rhys starts to unearth Susan’s secrets, he finds that his own grief begins to heal too…
Together, Susan and Rhys must learn to live again. Can they help each other to find happiness and finally mend their broken hearts?
How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heart-wrenching and absorbing story about second chances, forgiveness, and making every second count, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.
What did I think?
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the cover of this book. It is beautiful, and as I came to find out, sometimes you can judge a book by its cover, because the story told in the pages were also beautiful.
I must admit that I didn’t fully take in the synopsis before starting to read. I was expecting a light story of someone who has had a break up and has to get back on her feet. But what I found was far more than that. It was deeper, more heartfelt and compelling.
The blurb tells you what you need to know about the book without giving too much away, and that is part of what I found powerful, not knowing the characters stories, and having them revealed to me as I read. Yes, ok, it isn’t too long before you put the pieces of the jigsaw together, but for me it didn’t take away from the book as this is a work that as described on the cover is an emotional, uplifting page turner about love, loss and hope. I felt all those emotions during the course of the story, and as I write this review, just hours after finishing it, I find myself feeling that I have taken a message away that will stay with me.
Susan is a complex and troubled character and like Rapunzel, trapped in a tower of her troubled and sad life, she needs rescuing. When an event happens Rhys is the only contact number they can find on her and so Rhys gets a call which leads to him racing to the hospital thinking his Mum has been injured. Whilst relieved that his family is ok, he is compelled by Susan, and having lost his brother he has an urge to see if by helping Susan he can bring some closure and answers to his grief.
One character not mentioned in the blurb is Kat who is a nurse working at the hospital. She is also key to the story and I loved her. She has her own past that she is battling, but she is strong, caring and compassionate. A little bit of a lost and damaged soul I could relate to her.
I wasn’t initially sure how I felt about Susan and Rhys. Whilst I was reading the words and could understand them it took me time to get inside their heads and emotions, but for me it was worth the wait. Their stories are moving and absorbing, as is Kats. I loved the way that the author has made each of their situations and feelings compliment eachother.
Each chapter is narrated by a different character which gave it an added dimension for me as I was able to look at the how the story evolved from each of their perspectives, in particular Kat and Rhys. Susan is definitely far more closed and surrounded by more mystery which by the end really left me wondering how things would pan for her. I would love to hear her story with her as narrator.
I have just seen that this the debut novel from Anna Mansell which didn’t even occur to me whilst reading. Full of character, depth and emotional writing this book is fantastic, and I can’t wait to read more of her work.
About Anna Mansell
Anna spent almost twenty years trying to shoehorn writing in to her career as a marketing manager for dance and theatre companies. Eventually, she did what you are not remotely supposed to do and walked away from an excellent job in order to try and become a published author. Three years, lots of tears and some slightly hairy bank balances later, she met Kirsty Greenwood and the rest, as they say, is history. Anna lives in Cornwall with her husband and two kids. She feels very fortunate!