It’s not often that a reader regrets coming to the end of a novel. But such is the case with bestselling author Rowan Coleman’s The Home for Broken Hearts (published by Gallery Books).
Coleman weaves an engaging tale, set in England, whose characters readers will be sorry to leave behind. It’s like saying goodbye to a group of friends.
The novel opens nearly a year after 38-year-old Ellen Wood’s husband was killed in a car accident. Since then, she’s been struggling to come to terms with her grief while coping with a fear of leaving her home. Add to this the responsibility of raising her adolescent son Charlie and the fact that she has to face a mounting pile of bills and we see that Ellen has a complicated life.
Her younger sister Hannah, who has major secrets and problems of her own, suggests that Ellen take in lodgers to help with her financial woes. Reluctantly, Ellen agrees to take on this task to supplement her job copyediting romance novels from home.
One by one the lodgers arrive. There’s Sabine, a German businesswoman who has left her husband; Allegra, the eccentric romance novelist Ellen works for, whose home is undergoing repairs; and Matt, a handsome and promising journalist in his late 20s.
Soon this group forms an unlikely “family”, helping one another face grief, marital problems, career challenges, shocking personal secrets, and a budding older woman/younger man romance. This modern tale makes for touching yet sometimes quite humorous reading.
It is the ease with which Coleman weaves the various stories that makes the novel so enticing. It is also what makes it hard to leave behind. It can only be hoped that as one reader departs, another comes along to care for this heartwarming group of characters.
$15.00; 343 pages