The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted Summary and Reviews

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

by Robert Hillman

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman X
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2019
    304 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

A gorgeously written, tender, and wise novel about love and forgiveness in 1960s Australia, in which a lonely farmer finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a vibrant librarian.

Can one unlikely bookshop heal two broken souls?

It is 1968 in rural Australia and lonely Tom Hope can't make heads or tails of Hannah Babel. Newly arrived from Hungary, Hannah is unlike anyone he's ever met - she's passionate, brilliant, and fiercely determined to open sleepy Hometown's first bookshop.

Despite the fact that Tom has only read one book in his life, when Hannah hires him to install shelving for the shop, the two discover an astonishing spark. Recently abandoned by an unfaithful wife - and still missing her sweet son, Peter - Tom dares to believe that he might make Hannah happy. But Hannah is a haunted woman. Twenty-four years earlier, she had been marched to the gates of Auschwitz.

Perfect for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Light Between Oceans, The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted cherishes the power of love, literature, and forgiveness to transform our lives, and - if we dare allow them - to mend our broken hearts.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A complex exploration of grief, faith, and restoration ... in poignant, meditative, and stirring prose Hillman tells a heartrending and heartwarming tale of love and sacrifice." - Booklist

"An uplifting exploration of how people rise above tragedy to find joy... An impressive, riveting tale of how two disparate and well- drawn people recover from soul-wrenching grief and allow themselves to truly love again." - Publishers Weekly

"A heart-wrenching tale of love enduring all things in the face of evil." - Kirkus

"A beautifully written, nuanced tale of three lost souls who find in one another the comfort and solace they each need. I loved this disarmingly affecting novel. Read it and let it touch your soul as it has touched mine." - Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain and A Sudden Light

"Gentle, emotive, and written with great affection for its beautifully rendered characters, The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted reminds us of the redemptive power of sharing our stories. I will remember this novel for a long time to come." - Steven Rowley, author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor

"The compassion and grace that suffuse this novel are rarely captured in such beautiful language... I was enthralled." - Patti Callahan Henry, author of The Bookshop at Water's End

"What a brave and beautiful book this is, about all the human ways to heal a broken heart —through unexpected love, resilient family, and, of course, timeless books." - Liam Callanan, author of Paris By the Book

"Hillman is a storyteller of such spell-binding skill that readers will desire nothing more than to curl up in a quiet corner and devour this wise, warm, and transporting novel in one sitting." - Meg Donohue, author of Dog Crazy and Every Wild Heart

"Every character in this story stole my heart, even the minor ones, including the sheep! There is wonderful, laugh-out-loud humor in these pages, there is anguish, there is frustration. But most of all there is hope and humanity. When I finished reading the book, I wept, not because I was sad, but because the story was so uplifting and so true, in the deepest sense of that word." - Elizabeth Berg, author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

"Reminds us how the reverberations of war can reach people in the unlikeliest of places... A poignant journey of unthinkable loss, love, and the healing capacity of the written word." - Ellen Keith, author of The Dutch Wife

"Beautifully rendered, captivating and tender. I want to visit this bookshop." - Jean E. Pendziwol, author of The Lightkeeper's Daughters

"I couldn't put this book down." - Wendy Welch, author The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

"A gorgeous, heartfelt gem of a novel." - Jillian Cantor, author of In Another Time

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Reader Reviews

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Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

Eccentric characters
THE BOOKSHOP OF THE BROKENHEARTED moved along slowly but was an interesting read. We learned about Auzchwitz and the life Hannah lived after she was free, how it all affected Hannah and her moods, and how her intensity about love, Tom, and her life was based on those experiences.

We learned about farm life and how lonely Tom's life was and how Hannah brought new things into his life such as books. We learned how Hannah made Tom happy because she gave him compliments about everything he did and filled his lonely days even though Hannah had her dark days that made Tom's days difficult.

I enjoyed the eccentric characters and the different story lines going on at once even though a few of the story lines were a bit intense. The characters had some quirky, and at times dangerous habits, but the characters were easy to like except for a few.

The author's writing style was fluid, easy, and pulled me in. I do have to say the book was a bit odd at times and difficult to follow.

THE BOOKSHOP OF THE BROKENHEARTED had many feelings going on...heartbreak, tragedy, loving someone even when they weren't lovable, and being hopeful for happiness in it all.

ENJOY if you read this book. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sandi W.

from warm to razor wire
My expectation was way off for this book. I was expecting a light romance kindled in a bookstore. So far from the actuality of this novel.

I felt that the book started out well, I really liked the main character Tom and also liked Peter, the son of Tom's wife. I also enjoyed the farm setting. I was still okay with the story when Tom met Hannah and helped her with the book store. But not long after that, I started to struggle. I usually like the alternating chapters that almost all authors have gone to recently. However, in this book, I felt that using that method made the story feel choppy and disconnected.

Other than Tom and Peter I did not like any of the characters in the story. Maybe that was because I expected a light romance and this novel is not that. I wanted and expected a nice light love affair, inspired in a book shop. This novel is definitely not light. And I don't feel that the bookshop played that big a part - at least not as I had imagined it would. Hannah's plight also did not seem to fit into the rest of the story. I felt it was too big of a contrast. Instead of going from warm to cuddly, this story went from warm to razor wire.

I can see where people may like this story, however, for me, it just did not work.

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Author Information

Robert Hillman

Robert Hillman is the author of The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted and the coauthor of The Honey Thief. He won Australia's National Biography Award in 2005 for his memoir The Boy in the Green Suit. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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