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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Review: How to Mend a Broken Heart

How to Mend a Broken Heart
Author: Rachael Johns

Publisher: 5th May 2021 by Harlequin Australia, HQ & MIRA

Pages: 448 pages

How I Read It: ARC book

Genre: women’s fiction romance, contemporary

My Rating: 4 crowns


Summer in New Orleans means hot days, long nights, spooky stories and surprising new beginnings.

Felicity Bell has struggled to move on after her marriage broke down. Her ex has found love again, her children have their own lives, and it’s beginning to feel like her only comfort comes from her dog and her job as a taxidermist. So when Flick gets an offer to work in New Orleans for a few months, she’s drawn to the chance to make a fresh start.

Zoe is ready to start a family with her husband, but when he betrays her, she’s left shattered and desperate for a change of scenery. Joining her mother on the other side of the world to drown her sorrows seems the perfect solution.

Although both mother and daughter are wary of risking their hearts to love again, Theo, a jazz bar owner, and Jack, a local ghost hunter, offer fun, friendship and distraction. But all is not as it seems in New Orleans…

A chance meeting with Aurelia, a reclusive artist who surprises them with lessons from her life, prompts Flick and Zoe to reassess what they want too. Can all three women learn from the past in order to embrace their future?

An uplifting novel about three women joyously learning to move on after heartbreak by the bestselling author of The Patterson Girls and Flying The Nest.

My Thoughts

‘She’s spent her whole life being bitter about her past, never allowing herself to open up to the possibility of a future. I know you’re scared of getting hurt again, but do you really want to end up like that?’

Rachael’s latest offering, How to Mend a Broken Heart is a heartfelt stand-alone novel which follows recently divorced taxidermist Felicity Bell (Flick), a character who readers will be familiar with from a previous novel, The Art of Keeping Secrets. This is a poignant  mother-daughter story of self-discovery and finding love and friendship in the most unlikely of places, which just happens to be New Orleans!

Readers will sincerely empathise with Flick who is still coming to terms with life after her husband transitioned into a woman named Sofia four years ago. They may still be friends but Flick is finding it hard to move on. An opportunity to escape to the other side of the world and fill in for a fellow taxidermist (an interesting insight into that profession) is exactly what she needed. I was not, however, a fan of Zoe (Flick’s daughter) especially when she turned up unannounced. Her behaviour was just so selfish and although she had some redeeming qualities towards the end, I still struggled with her role. The character of Miss H truly takes the story to another level and adds real depth and contrast to this convincing tale. Also, New Orleans is a character within itself in this read. Rachael has done a super job of vividly capturing the life and soul of this iconic location - the good, the bad and the ugly! It provided some wonderful armchair travel. 

‘Ever since you broke up with Sofia, you’ve kinda checked out of life. Neve and Emma keep trying to get you to see other people, but even after all these years you’re intent on staying in your own little bubble, feeling all depressed and sorry for yourself. Well, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to waste my life pining for what was clearly never meant to be.’

All up Rachael has delivered another realistic and relatable tale with everything from spooky old mansions with ghosts, to cultural culinary delights, to life lessons and the opportunities to start anew all in the iconic New Orleans.

‘Life is full of maybes,’ Theo said softly as he stroked her hair off her face. ‘But sometimes things work out just the way they’re supposed to.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.