Thursday, March 2, 2017

How To Mend A Broken Heart by Anna Mansell

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A compelling, heartbreaking tale that will make you laugh, cry and believe in the kindness of strangers. Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes, Lucy Dillon and Miranda Dickinson.

Life is good for nurse Kat. That is until the man she intended to marry legs it, she’s unexpectedly promoted to a position with too much responsibility, and a patient arrives on her ward under strange circumstances.

Susan is a mystery. She refuses to speak or interact with anyone, she’s obsessed with a book of fairy tales, and the only name in her diary is that of Rhys – a plumber she barely knows.

Down-to-earth Rhys is trying to get his life back on track after the death of his beloved brother. His mum is his priority, and she needs him as much as he needs her. Or at least she did, until she starts disappearing, leaving him to find comfort in the form of his brother’s girlfriend.

Complicated is an understatement.

As the lives of these three lost strangers intertwine, will they find a way to lay ghosts past, present and future to rest? And when the chance comes to mend their broken hearts, will they be brave enough to take it?

Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review

How To Mend A Broken Heart is the story of three unrelated people - Kat, Susan and Rhys - who are brought together by an accident. The result is life-changing for all three of them. 

Kat, a nurse returns from vacation hoping that the time spent away from her ex would help ease her heartbreak over their horrible breakup. It's not easy to erase several years invested in a relationship that eventually turned to dust. Coming back to work to a promotion is the distraction she needs. One of her cases is Susan, who was brought in earlier after surviving a scary accident. This is her toughest case yet as Susan has not uttered a word since she's been at the hospital. Racking her brain to figure out how to help her, Kat comes across Rhys' phone number amongst Susan's possessions and calls him. Rhys who's drowning in his own drama after his brother's suicide, barely knows Susan. He and his brother used to do some repair work at her house but when he sees Susan at the hospital, he recognizes something in her. That sense of deep loss and closing in on oneself. Rather than walk away, he sticks around hoping that in helping her, he can gain some insight into why his brother gave up on life. None of these three individuals is ready for the impact of what's to come. 

Grief for some people can be debilitating and this story explores how Kat, Susan and Rhys grapple with theirs. It's the way each of them is handling it that's fascinating. What makes some fight while others simply want to give up? What kind of heartbreak can be so devastating that there's no recovering from it?  When and how does that moment of clarity amid the chaos come? As heart-wrenching of a read as this was, it was also an illuminating look into our own natures. 

This is a lovely debut from Mansell that features plenty of heart. While I didn't get the ending that I was expecting, I love how she developed these characters that eventually learn to embrace their past and look forward to the future. Sometimes you have to look hard at the ugly parts to get to the beautiful.

~ Bel

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