BookBrowse Reviews Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos

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Broken For You

by Stephanie Kallos

Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos X
Broken For You by Stephanie Kallos
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 368 pages

    Paperback:
    Sep 2005, 400 pages

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Reminiscent of early Atwood, peopled by lovably imperfect and eccentric characters. 1st Novel

From the book jacket: When we meet septuagenarian Margaret Hughes, she is living alone in a mansion in Seattle with only a massive collection of valuable antiques for company. Enter Wanda Schultz, a 20 something woman with a broken heart who has come west to search for her wayward boyfriend. Both women are guarding dark secrets and have spent many years building up protective armor against the outside world. But as the two begin their tentative dance of friendship, the armor begins to fall away and Margaret opens her house to the younger woman. This launches a series of remarkable and unanticipated events, leading Margaret to discover a way to redeem her cursed past, and Wanda to learn the true purpose of her cross-country journey. 

Comment: Kallos' debut novel received 'starred reviews' from 3 of the 4 leading pre-publication review sources (Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal).  Publishers Weekly writes that 'though it takes a while to get started, this haunting and memorable debut is reminiscent of early Atwood, peopled by lovably imperfect and eccentric characters'; and Susan Coll, writing for the Washington Post concludes that 'so lovely is the world Kallos has created that it seems more reparative to curl up on the couch with this book and suspend belief than to deconstruct the plot.' 

I tend to agree with Susan Coll - I found Broken For You a marvelous, heart-warming read with a well-crafted plot and an undercurrent of very funny, but gentle, wit.  Reviewers have drawn comparisons between Kallos and a wide range of writers including John Irving, Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Tennessee Williams and Margaret Atwood, however, the book that kept coming back to my mind was Fannie Flagg's 'Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle-Stop Cafe'.

This review first ran in the August 3, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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