Monday, April 30, 2012

The Home for Broken Hearts by Rowan Coleman

THE DOOR IS OPEN . . . For young widow Ellen Wood, her Victorian home is a refuge—a place to feel safe with her eleven-year-old son, Charlie. But when money grows so tight that Ellen could lose the house, her sister, Hannah, makes a radical suggestion . . . rent out some of the rooms. Soon Ellen has three lodgers: Sabine, a German coworker of Hannah’s, recently separated from her husband; Allegra, an eccentric but wise novelist; and Matt, an up-and-coming young journalist in search of his voice, who has just landed a plum job in London.

Ellen thinks three strangers are the last complication she needs, but they make her realize just how isolated she has become. Their presence exposes a secret she’s been keeping hidden, as well as a conflict with her sister that is both shocking and revealing. And while a love affair with a younger man seems like a fantasy powered by her imagination, Ellen can’t deny her deep connection to Matt, or the changes he inspires in her and her relationship with Charlie.

Outside her home’s sheltering walls lies a world of opportunity as well as danger. Now that she’s had the courage to open the door, does Ellen dare step through?

My take: 3 looks
This book reads a bit like a first novel. However, it is not Coleman's first. The fact that it was a fast read and fairly entertaining gives this one just a notch above 2 looks, and I round up (I would probably actually give this one 2.5, but I think 1/2 looks are cheating at bit, although I have been known to do it).

It was extremely predictable, especially (spoiler alert) with what I suspect was supposed to be a huge revelatory twist at the end in Hannah's affair with Nick. It consistently stuck with the novel-formula of older rude woman hard on the outside and sweet as a marshmallow on the inside; good-looking, single man who becomes the love-interest; tweenage kid struggling with growing up in the shadow of losing his father, yet still coming of age nicely in the end; female protagonist, in this case the sister, who is just irritating enough to want to slap but just pathetic enough to keep you from it. Sabine is the only character who defied the mix, and she was a bit of a milquetoast in that she was strong and weak at the same time. Hey, maybe that DOES fit the formulaic scenario.

While this was a fast read, I can't recommend it and probably won't read more by Coleman unless it is highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment