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The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman, #47

Publication date: 9 April 2019

Tom Hope doesn’t think he’s much of a farmer, but he’s doing his best. He can’t have been much of a husband to Trudy, either, judging by her sudden departure. It’s only when she returns, pregnant to someone else, that he discovers his surprising talent as a father. So when Trudy finds Jesus and takes little Peter away with her to join the holy rollers, Tom’s heart breaks all over again.

Enter Hannah Babel, quixotic smalltown bookseller: the second Jew—and the most vivid person—Tom has ever met. He dares to believe they could make each other happy.

But it is 1968: twenty-four years since Hannah and her own little boy arrived at Auschwitz. Tom Hope is taking on a batttle with heartbreak he can barely even begin to imagine.

Thank you to @times.reads for sending me a copy of this book. Actual rating: 2.5 stars

The book starts off with Tom and his wife, their marriage has failed and she ran away. Tom loved his wife a lot. Ever since she ran away, he made a list of things he would do with her to make her happy, he adds new agenda every day. One day, his wife came back, he took her back. Later, she confesses that she was pregnant with another man’s child. Like the kind-hearted fool he is, he forgave her and they had the child – Peter.

His wife, Trudy was quite a character! She was a child in an adult body. She often threw a fit, had tempers. In my opinion, she was not fit to be a mother. She left Peter with Tom, disappearing once more.

Years later, she returned to take Peter away, she claimed that she was healed under Jesus’s Love and is finally ready to be a mother. Peter and Tom were best friends, they were not father and son though. Peter called Tom, Tom. Tom called Peter, Petey. Tom reluctantly lets his beloved Petey to be taken away by his mother. He wanted to keep the child but the law forbids it since Peter was not his son or related by blood.

Sometime after, Hannah came to town to open her bookshop, she enlisted TOm’s help with the renovation. Hannah is a survivor of the Holocaust. She lost all her family, two husbands and a son. Hannah is a very free character, despite losing everything and everyone to war. She managed to find little pockets of sunlight in dark rooms of her heart. Her bookshop is one of the pockets.

My issue with the book is this – it felt draggy to me. There was some part I find redundant. Like the repeated arguments or bedroom mentions. Also, I do not fancy this style of writing, personally. Some of the dialogs are a tad confusing to me due to slang ( which I applaud for sticking true to Australian roots). I could not grasp the meaning of some of it and that was my problem Some readers might be able to understand it better.

I must praise this book for showing the readers the brutal comings and goings of the Holocaust. Hannah’s experience is written as flashbacks in certain chapters. I find her experience to be educating (?) to people who did not experience the Holocaust (thank God you didn’t). It was very insightful written as though it was straight from a diary of a survivor.

To cap it off, this was a fast read. This book reminds me of ‘The Little Shop of Happily Ever After’ by Jenny Colgan. You have to read this book if you like this one, or not. TLSOHER is a good book.

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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