The Beauty of Broken Things by Victoria Connelly is a wonderful book about not letting fear or grief control you or prevent you from doing what you love.
Thank you to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for sending me an Advanced Review Copy of The Beauty of Broken Things in return for an honest review.
The book begins with Helen travelling home from her dull admin role in London. She talks about her love of the photography social media platform Galleria, where users share square images with thoughtful captions and quotes. She has finally decided to take the leap and go self-employed, selling her photographs. Unfortunately, the photo she takes of an oak tree from the train window is the last she’ll ever take. The train crashes shortly after. A few weeks later, her widowed husband Luke remembers a gift that Helen had bought for a friend she met through Galleria, Orla. Luke finds Orla’s address and goes to visit her, to give her the gift and tell her the sad news.
The Beauty of Broken Things focuses on dealing with tragedy, whether that is the loss of a loved one or an assault by a stranger. Luke and Orla become friends and support each other through their personal difficulties. Orla is terrified of the outside world after surviving a horrific attack, and Luke supports her to find her life again.
It also emphasises the power of friendship. Helen and Orla only knew each other as usernames — yet their friendship was as life-changing and powerful as those with people they knew face-to-face. I really liked this element of the book. I have many friends that I only know through the internet, yet I still consider them to be ‘real’ friends. Despite the internet being such a big part of our lives, this isn’t an area usually mentioned in books, film or TV.
The Beauty of Broken Things is beautifully written and I enjoyed every page. I loved Victoria’s descriptions of Orla’s fear of going outside — whether the rising panic as she attempts to walk to Luke’s van to go for a drive or the stress of the doorbell ringing. Luke’s grief is also described in a sensitive but heartbreaking way. Her writing brought me to tears a few times as I could feel his pain! I loved how Orla and Luke both begin to help each other through their own difficult situations — and begin to live again.
I see myself a lot in Helen. I felt like I knew her so well from the first chapter (written from her POV) and through Luke and Orla’s memories of her. I loved the section at the start where she is thinking about going self-employed. “If she didn’t do it now then when? Nobody was going to come up to her and offer her a more fulfilling life, were they? She had to go out and find it herself.”
Ultimately this is a story of hope. The Beauty of Broken Things is a wonderful book about not letting fear or grief control you, or prevent you from doing what you love. While there were sections in which I cried my eyes out, I finished the book feeling positive and grateful for the things I have. It’s a must-read!
The blurb for The Beauty of Broken Things
United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?
After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.
When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.
As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?
About the author, Victoria Connelly
Victoria Connelly studied English Literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.
Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.
Blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources
I reviewed The Beauty of Broken Things as part of a book tour organised by Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. Check out the other bloggers taking part in this book tour for more reviews, extracts and guest posts!