The bookshop of the broken hearted

Robert Hillman, 1948-

Book - 2019

A gorgeously written, tender, and wise novel about love and forgiveness in 1960s Australia, in which a lonely farmer finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a vibrant librarian.

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FICTION/Hillman Robert
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Romance fiction
Love stories
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons [2019]
Physical Description
293 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
Robert Hillman, 1948- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* When Tom Hope's wife, Trudy, returns to their remote farm after several mysterious weeks away, she's pregnant with another man's child. Generous soul that he is, Tom comes to love Peter as if he were his own, which makes Trudy's next and final departure to a religious commune with Peter in tow unbearable. Tom is just making his peace with his abandonment when along comes Hannah Babel, a colorful, charismatic woman several years Tom's senior, who opens a bookshop in their quaint little town and hires Tom to refurbish the shop. Their attraction is mutual and physical and astonishing to those who have witnessed Tom's pain. What the unassuming but often skeptical citizens of this backwater Australian town in the mid-1960s don't realize about Hannah, however, is that she carries scars of her own as a Holocaust survivor who lost her husband and son to the horrors of Auschwitz. Tom and Hannah's marriage brings the solace both were seeking, until eight-year-old Peter escapes from the commune bearing the physical and emotional consequences of the cult leader's torturous punishment. The openness of the Australian countryside is an apt setting for a complex exploration of grief, faith, and restoration, and in poignant, meditative, and stirring prose Hillman tells a heartrending and heartwarming tale of love and sacrifice. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Hillman (The Boy in the Green Suit) offers an uplifting exploration of how people rise above tragedy to find joy. It's 1968 in an Australian backwater town, and Tom Hope's wife, Trudy, has disappeared, only to return a year later, pregnant with another man's child. Tom grows to love the boy, Peter, but then Trudy abandons both when Peter is almost three, returning two years later to take her son from Tom and, shortly thereafter, send him divorce papers. After Hannah Babel—who survived Auschwitz but lost her entire family, including her husband and young son, to the concentration camps—comes to town, she hires Tom to fix up the bookstore she's set on running, and the two of them—he, a calm workman, she an older, feisty intellectual—each with their separate anguish, find common ground and marry. Then Peter, still a child, reappears in Tom's life, forcing Hannah to question whether she could allow herself to love another child, and Tom to potentially have to choose between his marriage and his love for the boy he considers a son. Hillman's novel is an impressive, riveting tale of how two disparate and well-drawn people recover from soul-wrenching grief and allow themselves to truly love again. Agent: David Forrer, InkWell Management. (Apr.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In 1960s Australia, a lonely farmer finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a vibrant librarian. By the author of The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In 1960s rural Australia, lonely farmer Tom Hope, recently abandoned by his unfaithful wife, finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of Hannah Babel, a vibrant woman with a haunted past.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A gorgeously written, tender, and wise novel about love and forgiveness in 1960s Australia, in which a lonely farmer finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a vibrant librarian.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Can one unlikely bookshop heal two broken souls?"Beautifully written . . . Full of insight into the nature of tragedy, love, and redemption."--Garth Stein"A poignant journey of unthinkable loss, love, and the healing capacity of the written word."--Ellen KeithIt is 1968 in rural Australia and lonely Tom Hope can't make heads or tails of Hannah Babel. Newly arrived from Hungary, Hannah is unlike anyone he's ever met--she's passionate, artistic, and fiercely determined to open sleepy Hometown's first bookshop. Despite the fact that Tom has only read only one book in his life, the two soon discover an astonishing spark. Recently abandoned by an unfaithful wife--and still missing her sweet son, Peter--Tom dares to believe that he might make Hannah happy. But Hannah is a haunted woman. Twenty-four years earlier, she had been marched to the gates of Auschwitz.Perfect for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted cherishes the power of love, literature, and forgiveness to transform our lives, and--if we dare allow them--to mend our broken hearts.