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Rowan Coleman is an Author who I had not come across before. I was surprised when I googled the author to find that she has had many books published which I have not seen or heard of before. The front cover is your typical chick-lit style book which is what grabs us chick-lit lovers straight to it on the shelf.
Ellie has hit rock bottom. After losing her husband in a car crash she finds herself unable to leave the house, and in a serious amount of debt. Ellen needs to find a way to bring in the money to keep a roof over her and her son Charlie's head. Ellen's sister comes up with the idea of renting out the spare rooms of the house. A real mix of people came to rent the house an old lady Allegra who is an author, sexy Sabine who works with Ellen's sister and Matt a writer for a lad's magazine. Each of the new tenants bring with them the problems with their lives. With many secrets and twists and turns in the book will they all be able to help each other with the terrible mess they have made of their lives?
Ellen- Ellen is our main character in the book and from the first chapter I warmed to her. She is heavily grieving but at the same time she is trying to sort financial things out for her and her son. Through out the book we see Ellen's character grow and we as the reader hopes that she will be able to take steps to making her way back to happiness and more importantly to be able to leave the house giving her her life back.
Charlie- how can you not feel for this little boy. The poor lad has lost his father and now it feels like all to soon he is loosing his mother too. Charlie seems to be very wise and clued up for his age and he really cares about his mum and tries to help her to realise she has a problem. He has hit that point in a childs life where he has more questions but with his father not around he must be finding it very hard.
Hannah- This is the one character which I couldn't take to from the minute she appeared in the book. Hannah is Ellen's sister and I found that each time she cropped up I was wary of her
Matt- This guy is like an onion when you start to peel back the layers you find different parts to him. I have to say I loved his character. It was great to read the changes in his character.
I have to say this now I really enjoyed this book. After reading this book I can not wait to get to the shops and hunt out another one of Rowan Coleman's books! This book had you gripped from the first chapter it was so hard to put down. I read the book in two days and when I finished I felt a little lost!!
The storyline stays on an even keel all the way through the book so at no time was there a part of the book which was low enough to make you feel like skipping a few paragraphs.
With a lot of the story being about grieving and broken hearts the story could have been quite depressing and challenging to read but Rowan Coleman cleverly put a light bit of banter here and there which helped to keep the book light hearted and enjoyable.
This book had everything you could want in a book, a touch of humour with a lot of emotion and a spoonful of romance!
I think I also found the book an enjoyable read as for a chick-lit book it was not farfetched which meant that you actually believed a lot of what you was reading was really going on which made you feel closer to the characters and hoping for the best for them.
I love the fact that the ending of this book was perfect. It did not feel rushed and it did not give too much away but gave us enough to answer all of the reader's questions there for not leaving us on a cliff hanger!
I would defiantly recommend this book and I would also say judging from this book Rowan Coleman is an author to look out for. I can only hope that her other books are just as good as The Happy Home for Broken Hearts. If you are looking for a well written chick-lit book this is defiantly one to give a go. Keep a look out in your shops over the next few months as I have heard there is also to be a new release from Rowan Coleman ;-)
ISBN 978 0 09 952522 6
also check out http://www.rowancoleman.co.uk/books-adult#book1review this will give you a snippet from the book.
Look out for her other Adult books
Growing up Twice
After Ever After
Woman Walks Into a Bar
The Accidental Mother
The Baby Group
The Accidental Wife
The Accidental Family.
My review is also found on Ciao and on my book review blog http://reabookreviewcorner.webs.com
Ellen Woods spends her days immersed in the escapist pages of the romantic novels she lovingly edits. But her reality is somewhat less rose-tinted. Once upon a time, Ellen had her 'happily ever after' moment when she married her beloved Nick, but fifteen years later her husband's tragic death leaves her alone with their soon-to-become-a-teenager son, faced with a mountain of debt, and on the verge of losing the family home. On the brink of bankruptcy, Ellen finally succumbs to her sister's well-meant bullying and decides to rent out some rooms. And all too soon the indomitable Allegra with her love for all things lavender, Sabine on secondment from Berlin and estranged from her two-timing husband, and unreconstructed lads' mag aficionado Matt enter her ordered but fragile existence - each with their own messy life in tow. And Ellen finds herself forced to step out of the pages of the romantic novels she hides behind, and learn to live - and love - again. Maybe a new chapter is about to begin for them all...
A couple of years ago I read a fantastic novel called The Accidental Mother, by Rowan Coleman. I thought the book was hilarious, and rushed out to get the sequel enjoying that just as much. It cemented Rowan into an author I would definitely be keeping an eye on for all future releases and as soon as I heard about her new one The Happy Home For Broken Hearts, I couldn't wait to read it. It sounded right up my street and although it's taken me a couple of months since it's release to actually get a copy, as soon as I did it shot to the top of my to be read pile and I absolutely loved it.
The Happy Home For Broken Hearts seems to be a bit different to her The Accidental Mother/The Accidental Family double, but I could probably still tell it was the same writer, as the book is filled with the same warmth, realness and laughter of Rowan's previous novels. The book begins at a sad point in Ellen's life as she's burying her husband after he died in a car crash, we then skip forward to almost a year later and Ellen finds out that herself and her son Charlie, have got no money left. Her sister, Hannah, suggests she rents out the three spare rooms she has in her luxurious Hammersmith house. Cue romance novelist Allegra, German Sabine fleeing from her cheating husband, and lads mags aficionado Matt entering her house as her new lodgers. And as the weeks and months pass, she finds herself enjoying having the new lodgers in her house, and it seems she could be finally turning a new corner in her life.
I really enjoyed the plot of the novel, the lodgers moving in happens really quickly and I found that they really added to the book. They force Ellen to realise that, actually, ever since her husband died - maybe even before that - she was living the life of a hermit, not going out, not doing anything remotely sociable, and just essentially wasting away her life. Her only reason for living is her son Charlie, yet all Charlie is concerned about is the fact his mum isn't really the mum he knew before his dad died. I thought Coleman handled Ellen's situation really well, her grief, her lack of moving on, and the lodgers bring some added colour to the greyness of Ellen and Charlie's life. There are some twists and turns to the book, and Ellen's sister Hannah is a bit of a mystery, acting out and drinking a bit too much, and I guessed her secret fairly early on, which was mildly unfortunate but didn't make too much difference to the story to me.
I really liked Ellen, she's a very shy, very timid character but she has a lot of heart and it was clear that what happened to her husband hit her very hard, as once she and Nick got married he became her whole focus, until Charlie came along. I liked what the lodgers brought out in Ellen, and I couldn't help wishing she would overcome everything that was thrown her way. As for her son, Charlie, he's the most astute 11-year-old (nearly 12) I've ever come across in a novel. Honestly, you won't find a more clued-in child character anywhere. He was wise beyond his age, and I felt so sad that after his father died he had to grow up so quick. I found all three of the lodgers very enchanting, Allegra was just wonderful, an aging romance novelist who tells it like it is, and I loved her immediately. Sabine was more studious, but she had her great moments and I just fell in love with Matt. I didn't like what he did to girls at first, but eventually, he won me around, and was one of my favourite characters. The only character that I didn't know what to make of was Hannah. She's nice enough, but she has her darker moments where she just isn't likeable at all and her secret is horrible.
I thought The Happy Home For Broken Hearts was incredibly well written, Rowan Coleman has done a stunning job in the writing of this novel. I was truly very impressed with the issues covered through the novel, and I raced through the book finishing it as quickly as I humanly could. It's warm, uplifting, and it shows that strangers really can impact on your life, and make it change for the better. I can't wait to see what Rowan brings out next, I absolutely adore her novels and this is definitely Rowan Coleman at her tip-top best!
Nearly a year on from the death of her beloved husband Nick in a car crash, Ellie is still not coping very well. She is overwhelmed by debts and because the accident was a result of Nick's own dangerous driving, the insurance company won't pay up. How can she keep the London house she lives in with her son Charlie? Her bossy sister Hannah comes up with a solution - three very different lodgers.
One of the things I enjoy most about Rowan Coleman's novels is her ability to create interesting and appealing characters, and the premise of this novel gives her the opportunity to introduce three new people whose insights can help Ellie move forward with her life.
Ellie does some freelance work copy-editing romantic fiction, and the publisher she works for has a client who needs somewhere to live and work after her home has been wrecked in a flood, and also needs some help. Ellie finds herself as a landlady/PA to elderly historical novelist Allegra. I was a bit dubious about Allegra's bodice ripper books, with plots involving falling in love after sexual violence, but the author, a woman in her 70s, turns out to be a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the portrayal of friendship across the generations.
Young journalist Matt has just landed his dream job on lads' mag Bang It! At first he looks forward to the work and to the opportunities for no strings attached sex with attractive women, but he finds himself less comfortable as a Jack the Lad than he expected. His adventures and exploits in the new job, and some unexpected lessons to learn, provide one of the funnier strands of the novel. He is also an adult male for Charlie to relate to.
Sabine has come to London to get away from a cheating husband, to put some distance between them. I thought she was understated but intriguing.
I found the portrayal of Charlie, poised between childhood and adolescence, quite convincing, a touching mixture of vulnerability and bravado and my anxiety about him and the relationship between him and his mother was one of the things that made me turn the pages.
I was less convinced by Ellie's bossy little sister Hannah. Though she does come up with the initial idea of taking in lodgers, she often seems very insensitive - she wants to help but doesn't always do it in the right way, and I found her irritating. However, this is quite realistic, that where there are tensions in a relationship or problems with the way a character acts, that is likely to continue. Most writers in this genre would soften Hannah more than Rowan Coleman does.
Ellie starts off the novel as a woman lacking in confidence, shattered by grief, and perhaps a bit naive. It is good to see her emerge as a more whole person with the help of her lodgers and she becomes more likeable, less wimpy.
Overall, this is an enjoyable read in which only some loose ends are sorted out by the end of the story, others are still to be resolved. I found the end satisfying without being too neat and tidy.
This is a revised version of a review which originally appeared at www.thebookbag.co.uk
Format: Paperback 391 pages
Publisher: Arrow, August 2010
ISBN: 9780 09 95222 6
RRP £6.99, currently available at £4.69 from Amazon