REVIEW: The Broken Hearts Book Club

cover74615-mediumBOOK: The Broken Hearts Book Club
AUTHOR: Lynsey James
PAGES: 242
PUBLISHER: Carina
MY RATING: ★ ★ (2/5)

Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…

Luna Bay hasn’t changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!

Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’, Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can’t wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.

One way or another, Lucy must finally face the past she left behind – or spend the rest of her life on the run…

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

“There are worse things you an do than spontaneously burst into song at your nana’s funeral.”

Right from the first line of this book, the humor had me convinced that this might be right up my alley. I wanted to like it, but as I got about a third of the way through, it became hard for me to want to pick it back up again.

Our main character Lucy is not really the train wreck she’d have us believe. In fact, she’s mostly just a coward. “The incident” that happened in her small European village caused her to run away to London, and she hasn’t been back in 8 years. Her nana’s funeral brings her back home to Luna Bay. Her parents are elated, as is the old friend she bumps into, and the only one who doesn’t really want her there is Maggie.

Maggie was a part of “the incident”.

Let’s talk about “the incident”. It was referred to constantly throughout the entire book. At least 8 times in the first 30 pages. We had no idea what it was. It started to annoy me. I feel like the author was just trying to build suspense for her big reveal of what happened, but it didn’t work. It just annoyed me. I started to not even care about what it could be, I was just so damn tired of hearing about it.

Anyways, Lucy soon finds out she’s entitled to an inheritance – on one condition. She must become the chairwoman of her nana’s ‘Broken Hearts Book Club’ for at least 3 months. Now she has a decision to make. Eager to rush back to the safety of London, she struggles with the idea of staying and fulfilling her nana’s last wishes.

When she decides to take on the challenge, the executor of the will tells her that he will check on her periodically, and if she fails to meet the requirements, she won’t receive her inheritance. Then we never hear from the executor again. I feel like there was a missed opportunity there. At the reading of the will he seemed like he wanted her to fail. We had this opportunity for another sneaky character and to add some tension to the story, but then his character is just tossed aside and that’s that.

So Lucy goes ahead and meets the book club, and she decides to take on the task. Everyone seems friendly enough and she goes along and tries to help these stubborn readers with their broken hearts.

She also meets a man.

“My sweet smile widened into a huge grin. ‘By hiring a kickass events planner! Don’t happen to know any, do you?’
‘Only one, but she’s a bit of a clown: bursts into song all the time and has a habit of falling over in funny ways.'”

The flirty banter between Jake and Lucy put a smile on my face from time to time. And although I loved Jake’s character, their overall relationship just wasn’t doing it for me. Maybe it was that I just couldn’t seem to care about Lucy’s character, or that everything between them felt so overly dramatic.

“I sulked on the couch in my pajamas, watching Disney movies and trying to perfect my impression of Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.” 

I appreciated that she was a very believable character for her age (at least mostly, at times I felt myself questioning the age-level of the language she was using). She was funny, and she had some moments that I enjoyed. But mostly she was just cowardly and clumsy. I wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up.

I didn’t feel like Lucy had any growth. I know people will argue with me that Lucy’s growth was the whole point of the story, but I just didn’t see it. Right until the very end she was a coward with Jake and would not tell her feelings, always running away. Even when she admitted she wasn’t sure she wanted to go back to London, she still didn’t say it was because she wanted to be with Jake. I was happy to see her overcome some of the obstacles, but I didn’t feel like that made her character any stronger.

It seems that this genre is really hit or miss for me. Unfortunately, I think The Broken Hearts Book Club was a miss. Maybe I will check out James’ other novel, I’ve heard good things.

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