Cover Image: The House of Broken Bricks

The House of Broken Bricks

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Member Reviews

Grief can do terrible things to a family.

This is exactly what you see happening with Tess and Richard.

Part of their deep dark secret is easy to figure out part way through the story, but it is closer to 3/4 of the way in that you learn the truth. Then you see how broken the survivors are and how they need to lean into each other if the family is going to survive. You can also see how someone's upbringing can influence how they handle life after a loved one's death.

I appreciated that they had a different narrator for each family member (Tess, Richard, Sonny, and Max.)

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I loved The House of Broken Bricks. I loved the family story and the exploration of race. The writing was excellent.

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A beautiful mix of pretty and fiction. Story of family, community, and identity and how it all shifts with life changes, while further impacted by personal and local history and traditions good and outgrown.
It's a novel which might need a second read or listen to delve into the nuances.

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I received this audiobook ARC from NetGalley and Dreamscape Media in exchange for a free and honest review.

This was a very thought provoking book follows a family of 4 that is healing from a traumatic event. This book tackled so many topics such as; belonging, loneliness, coping mechanisms and casual racism. In addition, the audiobook version has three narrators that do a great job in immersing you into the story. It was very well done. I LOVED this book and would highly recommend it.

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Fiona Williams' "The House of Broken Bricks" intricately weaves together the narratives of Tess, Richard, Max, and Sunny, providing readers with a poignant exploration of race, family dynamics, loss, and resilience. Set against the backdrop of a blended family, Williams delves deep into the complexities of identity and belonging.

At the heart of the novel is the discourse surrounding race within the family unit. Tess, a black woman, grapples with raising her twin children, Max and Sunny, who navigate their mixed heritage in contrasting ways. Through their alternating perspectives, Williams skillfully unravels the intricacies of racial identity, shedding light on the challenges and nuances faced by each family member.

The beauty of Williams' prose lies in its ability to evoke powerful imagery and capture raw emotions. Scenes are painted with vivid detail, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the crumbling yet resilient landscape of the family home. Williams masterfully incorporates poignant quotes and authentic feelings, eliciting both empathy and introspection from her audience.

Despite the weighty themes of racism and loss, "The House of Broken Bricks" is ultimately a story of hope and healing. As the seasons change and cracks in the family's facade begin to let in light, there is a palpable sense of renewal and growth. Through acceptance and vulnerability, the characters embark on a journey towards reconciliation and self-discovery.

In conclusion, "The House of Broken Bricks" is a beautifully written and heart-wrenching novel that leaves a lasting impact on its readers. Fiona Williams' adept storytelling and profound exploration of family dynamics make this a compelling read. I eagerly anticipate delving into more of Williams' works in the future.

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Engaging, immersive, and expertly narrated. A recommended purchase for collections where multicultural litfic is popular.

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The House of Broken Bricks by Fiona Williams

Thank you so much Henry Holt and Co., Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for the free ARC and audiobook.

Blurb:
This is the story of a broken family, what they see, and what they cannot say, laid bare in their overlapping perspectives.

โœจMy thoughts:
Do you want to cry? This is the one you want to read or listen to. I read part of it and listened to the other part, and enjoyed them equally because both were fantastic. The audiobook narrators did an amazing job with this story. The novel was beautifully, will tug at your heart strings, and make you feel all the things. This is my first Fiona Williams book and Iโ€™ll definitely be reading more. Plus that cover really is something! The House of Broken Bricks is out now!

Happy reading ๐Ÿ“–

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Itโ€™s a beautiful book. I can identify with Tess, the longing, the sadness and nostalgia of times past and a wishful time that never happened. The boys, realizing life injustices, belonging nowhere because of facts that are nobodyโ€™s fault.
As someone else said in their review, nothing really happens, itโ€™s a telling of life, of time passing, of everyday and routine. However, this is what makes it beautiful.
I would have enjoyed it much more if I had read the physical version, rather than the audio, so I could savor the words.

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I enjoyed some of this book..it was fine.,
I was expecting way more from it. I had moments where I kept zoning out and not as interested. Loved the settings and narration but I struggled to connect.

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๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—›๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—•๐—ฟ๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐˜€ by ๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข ๐˜ž๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ด sets the standard high for 2024 reads. If you're looking for some literary fiction that stirs your emotions and touches your heart deeply, this is the one. Fiona's words make you feel like you're right there with the characters, experiencing everything alongside them.

Tess and Richard move to Richard's family farm in the Somerset, leaving behind the busy life of London. As Tess, a young architecture student, navigates life in this rural community, being the only black person around adds another layer of complexity. When she becomes pregnant with twins who present their race differently, the spotlight shines even brighter on her. When tragedy strikes, the stage for a journey through the toughest seasons a family can face ensues.

The novel beautifully weaves the natural world with fiction, with the house itself becoming a character as it weathers the changing seasons. From floods to scorching summers, nature is an integral part of every page. The boys' love for wildlife and exploration adds depth to the story, making you want to look up birds and plants just to experience their world more fully.

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I'm having a hard time deciding how I feel about this book. It had the potential to be really great, but it just never got there for me. The writing was all over the place and distracted from the heart of the story. One of the things that bugged me early on was that there's a really old-time feel to the setting, so I had to keep reminding myself it was a contemporary setting. While I enjoyed the narration of the four perspectives, it bothered me that three of characters were written in first-person while the father's chapters were written in third-person. I found the writing style was too wordy and overly descriptive. The most frustrating thing for me, though, was that the author kept throwing in more and more topics for the characters to grapple with, but none of them was ever resolved or thoroughly explored. This book just felt incomplete to me; even the ending felt like it wasn't finished.
I'm giving this one 2.75 stars.

Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for allowing me early access to the ARC audiobook edition of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I enjoyed this book, although it wasnโ€™t as groundbreaking as I was hoping it would be. The setting is splendid, but I had a hard time connecting to the characters and the storytelling was a bit all over the place. Nevertheless, Iโ€™d give it three stars and recommend it to people who are into contemporary novels that deal with grief and conflict in a quiet, well-written way.

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Good lord this book is beautiful!
Love and grief, hope and fear, race and family, all intertwine in this multi-perspective story. The writing is the very definition of lyrical prose, carrying the reader along in a stream of vivid imagery, palpable emotion, and poignant narrative.

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The House of Broken Bricks" by Fiona Williams offers a poignant exploration of grief, identity, and family dynamics through the lens of a mixed-race family grappling with loss. Set against the backdrop of seasons, the narrative follows Richard, a farmer from Southwest England, Tess, his wife South London, and their twin sons, Sonny and Max.

From the outset, the family is depicted as fragmented, with the lingering presence of Sonny, who has passed away in previous seasons, casting a shadow over their lives. Max's continued attachment to his deceased twin, manifested in speaking, playing, and dressing identically, underscores the family's struggle to come to terms with their loss. Tess, in particular, is depicted as unable to let go, maintaining Sonny's side of their room as if he were still present. The community's questioning of Max's relationship to Tess further exacerbates their sense of displacement and isolation.

Fiona Williams' skillfully portrays the toll of grief on each family member. Tess's sleepless nights and futile attempts to find solace in baking reflect her inability to move forward. Richard's increasing isolation and reliance on alcohol as his business falters in the winter season speak to his sense of helplessness. Max's internal conflict over his black identity and white appearance, exacerbated by teasing and questioning by those around the family.

The motif of the house of broken bricks serves as a metaphor for the family's fractured existence, with no straight lines mirroring their tumultuous emotional landscape. Tess's desire to return to her family home in London symbolises her longing for a sense of belonging and acceptance, away from the prying eyes of their small village.

Fiona's storytelling is lauded for its magical quality, drawing readers into the heart of the family's struggles with empathy and nuance. The novel's exploration of race, grief, and identity resonates deeply, offering a poignant reflection on the complexities of modern family life.

In conclusion, "The House of Broken Bricks" is a captivating debut novel that navigates themes of loss, identity, and belonging with sensitivity and grace. Fiona Williams's masterful storytelling and evocative prose make this a compelling read that lingers in the mind long after the final page. Highly recommended for those seeking a poignant and thought-provoking exploration of family dynamics and the human experience.

I would like to thank Dreamscape Media and #NetGalley for sending me an advanced copy #TheHouseofBrokenBricks in exchange for my own honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

This was a very engrossing read, full of lots of symbolism. This was a good read that shows how all familyโ€™s have cracks in them and how we all live between the cracks and learn to overcome.

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The House of Broken Bricks takes us through four changing seasons for the four members of the Hembry family. Itโ€™s a devastatingly sad yet beautifully written tale, a quiet character study filled with grief and love.

Ben Allen, Lee Braithwaite, and Jessica Hayles did an excellent job inhabiting the characters narrating the audiobook.

Thank you Fiona Williams, Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for providing this ARC for review consideration. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Wow... honestly, this one surprised me. Going into it I wasn't expecting much and in the beginning of the book, I was also not blown away. I was definitly enjoying myself right from the start, but I just didn't have any great expectations for the book. Ans then the story swept me away. I loved the autor's choice of letting us see the projection of the story from all four family members vantage point. I loved how diverse the writing felt and different the POV's felt to each other.
I loved the theme, the writing style in general and the way the author played around with the language. And the twist... uf. I couldn't help but smile. It was awesome. A really great book that I'd highly recommend to others. I will definitly keep my eye on this author in the future.

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I absolutely loved this one! I was a little concerned about the four POVs when I first started but they played out brilliantly. I truly can't imagine it being written differently. This one really had me in my feels by the end. I wasn't expecting this to elicit such a response; but isn't that how these character driven stories usually go haha I can't even begin to list all of the deep themes this one touched on. Just prepare to go in and feel all the feels.

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This was both beautiful and heartbreaking! I loved the narration. LOVED it so much. This is a wonderful book about family and loss.

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The story deals with a broken family living together, dealing with the cracks of their own relationships and the lemons that society throws at them in silence. The story is narrated from multiple PoV capturing each person's perspective to navigate through the events of their lives. The book did address the disparities of colour discrimination in a prominent way.

The lack of communication amongst the two adults in the book however was making me clench my fists tight. Unfortunately, the multiple PoV was also not working for me as most of the conversations were happening inside their head. I am all in for in-depth conversations but, the severity of the situation just did not reflect the same actions of many members of the house.

I felt the narrative cast did their best with what they were given and tried to puncture emotions into a very numb storyline. The book did turn out very different from my expectations.

Thank you @netgalley @dreamscape_media for the Audio ARC
Genre: #literaryfiction #multicultural
Rating: 3/5 โญ๏ธ

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