Title: The Home for Broken Hearts
Author: Rowan Coleman
Release Date: September 7, 2010
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
After her husband dies, Ellen Woods flounders. She does her best to take care of their son, Charlie, but she really just doesn’t know how to deal with life on her own. When she realizes that she and Charlie have almost no money to live on, Ellen makes a drastic decision: she rents out the extra rooms to her house to lodgers. Ellen doesn’t realize it at the time, but these lodgers will become a part of her family and will help her come to terms with her husband’s death.
I haven’t read anything by Rowan Coleman, but I know she’s huge in the UK. I love their women’s fiction and am sad we don’t get more of it published in the US; when I saw that Gallery Books was publishing a Rowan Coleman novel, I was thrilled and immediately decided I needed to read it.
After reading The Home for Broken Hearts, I can see what all the Rowan Coleman fuss is about. She is incredible at writing a diverse cast of characters. There are a lot of main characters in this novel, a lot of people that need careful developing. Coleman shows that she is up to the challenge; each person in this novel is sympathetic and easy for the reader to understand. The wonderful characters really make this book worth reading – they become like friends, rather than people in a novel.
The main relationship in this story didn’t appeal to me, unfortunately. While I really loved Ellie and the guy she chooses (I don’t want to ruin anything), I thought the entire storyline read like a romance novel. There was way too much unexpressed desire and fantasizing for it to really be palatable for me. While not a lot of space in the novel is reserved for this, and therefore it wasn’t that big of a deal, it just was much too “forbidden desires” for my taste.
I absolutely loved the character of Ellie and how strong she became as she faced her personal issues that stemmed from her husband and his death. I really wish more space had been devoted to her grappling with these, as well as her relationship with her sister Hannah. I loved watching Ellie become a stronger person as she accepted her problems and let go of her preconceptions.
All in all, while The Home for Broken Hearts wasn’t perfect, it was definitely a satisfying read. I wouldn’t exactly call it light women’s fiction, but at the same time, it’s not a heavy read. I really hope more of Coleman’s books release in the US going forward, as I’d love to read more of her work.