The Happy Home for Broken Hearts was my first Rowan Coleman novel and it did not disappoint. A great chick lit read, this novel is funny, yet has heavier moments as well as a cast of great characters and a unique premise that makes it stand out.
The overall tone wasn't too depressing even with the story tackling the topic of grief, but that was probably helped because we meet Ellen a year later. Watching her stumble as she rediscovered life had me cringing at times, but others laughing out loud and I cared enough for her character to root for her to figure her life out. And I wasn't just cheering for her, but for all the other characters too. Each had complex issues that felt realistic and I loved them all.
This novel had a unique thread that I hadn't read before in any form of chick lit as well as a few surprises which I loved. I also found that although certain things were shown to the reader before Ellen figured them out herself, it didn't come over as entirely predictable which I find can sometimes be the case when this is done.
Not being a fan of romance novels myself, my attention was diverted whenever the story paused as we entered the fictional world of Ellen's romance novels. These departures were infrequent, but still jolted me out of the story, and I probably could have done without them. But that just might be me.
I can see why Rowan Coleman fans love her novels so much. The Happy Home for Broken Hearts has a lot of heart, fantastic characters to root for, some unique plot threads and isn't entirely predictable. I'd definitely read another!
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Worth the readNov. 12 2011
- Published on Amazon.com
I really enjoyed reading The Happy Home for Broken Hearts, and wanted it to go on for much longer than it actually did, but at the same time felt that it ended quite well and gave us the closure we needed as readers. Rowan Coleman was able to merge devastation, loss, grief, romance, love, humour and wit all into one book.
I kind of knew what was going to happen from the very beginning, and had it all figured out, so yes, it was predictable in that sense. However, Coleman managed to write it all in a way that shocked, and exhilarated us and it made me laugh out loud a few times.
The only loose end that I felt wasn't covered was the fact that Matt had to write an article about his landlady, and yet there was never a confrontation with Ellen about it (even though there kind of was one with Charlie). Then again, my interpretation was that he was going to leave the business he's currently in anyway and do something more worthwhile with his writing skill.
My favorite scenes were those of the Sword Erect, where I felt like Coleman created a parody of historical romance novels. It was hilarious, especially that I am actually a fan of those novels and have read so many of them and own so many of them that I understood exactly what she was referring to every time.
I also found it very interesting to see how the writing process goes for a well-established author. In fact, all the secondary characters were interesting and enjoyable to read about. Even Hannah, although I kind of hated her the same way Ellie did - which is to say, you hate her but love her at the same time. One of the most shocking scenes in the book involved Hannah, and I'm not talking about the obvious, predictable one - but I don't want to add any spoilers, so will leave it to you to find out which one I'm referring to.
All in all, a very solid book. Not sure if this was the author's first (as I've not heard of Rowan Coleman before), but it felt like it could have been. There were many mistakes throughout that it almost felt like it wasn't edited properly before it was published. That did get annoying at one point, as it gets a little distracting. However, it wasn't so bad that I wouldn't recommend this book.
This may look like a typical British chick-lit, but it isn't in the least. It is a book about loss and self-discovery, and the strength it takes to move on afterwards. It is a book worth reading.