The Beauty of Broken Things
by Victoria Connelly
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Pub Date 09 Jun 2020 | Archive Date 23 Jun 2020
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?
A Note From the Publisher
Ms Connelly 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.
“A wistful, hopeful treasure of a book. Like the photographs in the story, each scene is captured in all its beauty in this tale of two broken hearts, united by a shared grief and struggling to find a way to mend.” —Fiona Valpy, author of The Beekeeper’s Promise and The Dressmaker’s Gift
“What a joy this book is—Victoria Connelly captures the very essence of an idyllic English village. Beautifully written with such a light touch, the characters as delicately flawed as the cracked and chipped china that Orla collects.” —Imogen Clark, author of Where The Story Starts and The Thing About Clare
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 77 members
Struggled to engage with this book found it very slow but finished to the end. Maybe not the book I thought it would be but sont let this put you off
When Luke's wife is killed in a train accident, he is lost. After finding information of a gift she wanted to give to an online friend, he does a search and finds Orla, a recluse who suffers from her own demons. Overall, I found this one hard to put down. Both have issues and help each other find a new normal. I also liked that there was not an actual romance, but a friendship between them. Nice change. Would highly recommend this sweet and touching story. Another great hit by a wonderful author.
This is a powerful novel about feeling broken, and finding the beauty in our life challenges. The two main characters does experience brokenness in very different ways, and found different ways to overcome their losses. I found a story to be beautiful and inspiring, encouraging and hopeful! I even loved the dog, One Ear!
Thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
With grateful thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest review.
Having read a good number of Victoria's books I was delighted to have an early copy.
The first thing I loved about the book is the cover.
Stunning beautiful,and a true work of art is lurking behind it a mesmerising journey of beautiful souls lost at times not quite sure where they fitted in but a exceptionally captivating read that I can't praise enough.
This story really touched my heart! It's a bit different from the other books by Victoria Connelly but it's equally heartwarming and captivating. A beautiful story of friendship and healing in the idyllic setting of the Suffolk coast. As usual the author has a way of making you feel 'there' and I can't appreciate it enough! Great suspense and many twists and turns had me wondering until the very end what was going to happen and I must say that the ending did surprise me. Not predictable at all!
Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union - Amazon Publishing UK and the author for an early copy.
10 Gold Stars! I love this book so much. It's a truly beautiful story, beautifully written. It, and the characters, will stay with me for a long time and I'd like to see them all in a sequel.
The title of this book really intrigued me. After reading the story I felt it was the perfect title. Two strangers come together after the death of Luke's wife. Learning to trust is hard for Orla after a tragic accident sent her into hiding. Luke set out to find her to give her a gift from his deceased wife and together they are able to heal and love. This was such a beautiful story. I didn't want it to end. Thank you Victoria Connelly for this great story.
I received a ARC of this book from the publisher and netgallery and this is my honest opinion.
What a beautiful book ! 2 strangers meet due to a tragic loss. She is a recluse. The victim of a heinous crime. Somehow against all odds they form an amazing friendship. This beautiful book takes you on a journey of love, loss, friendship, trust and hope. I absolutely loved it.
Such a beautifully written story, that is ultimately heartwarming and uplifting, despite the incredibly sad and upsetting things that our two main characters have been through. But since meeting and spending time together, Orla and Luke are both perhaps just starting to heal and help each other.
Luke's world was turned upside when his wife suddenly denied incredibly unexpectedly. Orla lives in a castle 3 hours away from Luke, and hides herself away from the world - she is the ultimate definition of self isolation - and the only connection between Luke and Orla is a social media site.
For Luke's wife Helen loved the Galleria site (similar to instagram), and follows Orla's account and they have formed a friendship online without even knowing each others names. Helen sensed something about Orla and wanted to help, but then her life was tragically caught short.
Once Luke tracks down Orla, and they somehow slowly get to know each other, the story really does take on a life of its own.
Orla's account focuses on beautiful objects that have minor imperfections, she loves being able to find and highlight the beauty in broken things, and Helen (who although we only meet her briefly is a huge character in the book), also has started to love finding that same beauty in the imperfect.
What I found really moving, gripping and had real empathy for, was when Orla finally explains to Luke just what happened to make her the way she currently is. I won't tell you any details but its completely understandable that she would now live her life in the shadows as a result of what she went through.
Victoria Connelly's writing seems to go from strength to strength, and as much as I love her lighter hearted Austen Addicts and Booklovers series, this is probably her best book to date. Absolutely loved it!
Thank you to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily,.
The Beauty of Broken Things, by Victoria Connelly, is a wonderful novel.
This is a story of healing. Both characters are broken, But together, they can be whole.
It's an interesting story for sure. Luke and Orla are brought together through death. What follows is an amazing journey and transformation. Luke is able to slowly break down the walls Orla has thrown up around her. Her transformation is marvelous and inspirational.
The writing is wonderful, with extremely well developed characters and an accomplished story line, The emotions are heavy throughout and the character growth is fantastic. If you don't fall in love with Orla and Luke's journey, I will be shocked.
I definitely enjoyed every single second of this novel.
Beautifully written. And refreshing too, because the ending wasn't predictable, but even so, it felt like the right ending. I was a bit concerned that there would be a different sort of ending, which I didn't think would ring true, but Connelly veered away from it thank goodness. I can't say too much more for fear of spoilers. All of the characters were well-written. Orla's story was heartbreaking, as was Luke's. I must mention Bill and One Ear - lovely characters. I liked the use of a picture-led social media platform and the pictures Orla posted there, the fact she chose to photograph chipped and broken items, but still managed to show their beauty ... Connelly explored online friendships, which was interesting. The setting was well-described. All in all, a poignant read, which will stay with you even after you've reached the end. With thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
What a beautiful story! Orla Kendrick lives in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from a haunting past. I am there! The story just worked-the beautiful cover, the setting, the characters, beauty and art in broken-tragic lives.
Luke Hansard is grieiving the loss of his wife and he discovers Orla had an online relationship with his wife; she purchased her 'broken things.' Its a beautiful metaphor for finding beauty in broken-ness. These two tragic souls discover beauty in the broken aspects of their lives, and grow together through friendship.
Today, I posted a review of this wonderful book on my blog:
as well as Pinterest & Facebook page: Senior Book Lounge.
Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the opportunity to review this beautiful book!
This is a story of grief and joy- how sometimes we have to let go of things as they have been, and take a different path, as it may lead to places totally unexpected. in this book, it's not just one person, but two, and how they reach out and find each other, as they expose secrets and lies, is beautifully written. It's a book to delve into and stay until the final resolution. It's the book you'll be telling everyone about!
Victoria Connelly is one of my favourite authors, so I couldn't wait to read this latest novel.
Two people, thrown together by tragic events, become unlikely best friends. Helping each other through grief, they form a strong bond that changes both their lives.
Over the course of one summer, Orla's world begins to return to some normality as Luke learns to adjust to a world without the love of his life.
The Beauty of Broken Things is one beautiful novel. The story is so very relatable and all of us are really beautifully broken. The story shows how fear can disable us and lead us to miss out on life‘s simple joys and pleasures. The author’s gentle touch and sweetness of style take such a tragic occurrence and helps the reader see beyond it. This book really puts things into perspective and I highly recommend it.
I got this book from NetGalley for a fair and honest review
Trigger warnings for Depression, Anxiety and bereavement
This book tells the story of the after affects of the death of Helen on her husband Luke, after she dies in a train crash shortly after deciding to quit her job to become a photographer full time and make money from her social media platform. A few weeks later the while looking at her phone, Luke finds the posts of someone who Helen had connected with, who takes photos of broken pottery. Finding a broken vase that I his wife got for this person, he decides to take the vase to the photographer.
The photographer turns out to be Orla who lives in a castle on the coast, as a recluse with her dog called, One Ear, not going out or even signing for deliveries of broken pots that she buys of the internet.
The story tells how both Luke and Orla connect with each other as they deal with both the events in their life which have far reaching repercussions in changing the way they act to with the world. With the way this is done is so well done that when Orla and Luke are dealing with their issues, it seems like you are feeling what they are feeling, as they both try to deal with their past.
This is the first book that I have read, by Victoria Connelly, and with the standard of writing and story telling it will not be the last. The way she deals with difficult issues of of Anxaty, depression etc. with such sensitivity, that as a reader you not only feel sympathy for them. But it also allows you into their mind at the time, so what may seem irrational on the out side seems perfectly normal.
So if you want to read a story that deals with mental health with sensitivity and feeling while not letting it detract you from the story then you should read Victoria Connelly’s Latest Book, The Beauty of Broken Things.
3.5 rounded up. Some parts felt a little slow for me, others a little predictable, but still an enjoyable read.
I have enjoyed several books by Victoria Connelly. The Beauty of Broken Things is no exception. The book is a lovely journey to healing and redemption told through the lives of Luke who lost his beloved wife, and Orla who has survived her own tragedies. Luke’s wife followed Orla online on a site called Galleria, a site where people could upload images. Orla uses it to upload pictures of broken but beautiful items. Luke decides he must notify Orla directly of his wife’s death, after discovering his wife was enamored of Orla’s site. Orla has hidden from the world for a reason and is less than pleased with Luke’s showing up. However they find that maybe they have more in common than they thought and grief and healing does not have to be solitary.
I really enjoyed this novel, it was a gentle novel that was a joy to read during trying and stressful times. Sometimes one needs to escape ones own life and troubles. This book fit the bill. If you have never read a book from Victoria Connelly I highly recommend this one.
Thanks to Netgalley, Amazon publishing and Victoria Connelly for a free copy of this book to review.
Wow oh wow, how have I not read anything by this author before? I don't know how any review I write for this will do it justice. Connelly is a new author for me, this being my first read- definitely won't be the last. I will be eagerly adding more to my TBR.
This is a beautifully written story which is easy to relate to. I have found this to be both heart warming and uplifting. The author has captivated me from the very first page and I feel as though I've just watched a Netflix film rather than read a book. That's how clear a picture this author has created. This was hard to put down, I found myself completely immersed in this story.
This is definitely a five star book for me. The characters are fantastic, the plot flows at the appropriate pace. This is definitely one which I feel should be on everyone's TBR. It has definitely lifted my mood and I cannot wait to read more.
Public links to follow on blog tour.
What a delightful book! I devoured this in 2 days.
Luke, is getting over the tragic loss of his young wife Helen, he is trying to keep her memory alive and he tracks down an online friend of Helen's . She (Orla) too is getting over a horrific acid attack and is hiding out at a remote castle in Suffolk. Luke arrives there after tracking her down through photographs online, but she is somewhat of a recluse. She is an ex model, now into photography and she takes photos of broken things; china cups, vases.
They do become friends but it how they get there that is really nice and sensitive.
I rated it 5 stars and loved it!
The Beauty of Broken Things is a fascinating story about unimaginable suffering and heartbreaking grief.
Helen and Orla were cyber friends on an app called Galleria, an Instagram of sorts focused on artistic pictures.
Despite never having met in real life, the two women shared a genuine love for photography and became very close.
When Helen died in a train crash, her husband, Luke, found a gift Helen had bought for Orla and decided to deliver it in person. He did not expect to find out his wife's friend was a recluse living isolated in an old castle.
The story is very touching. Orla suffered significant trauma and retreated from the world. Luke's broken heart could reach her in ways that others could not.
What started as an awkward meeting evolved into a lovely friendship. Two people in their lowest low sticking together and helping each other.
The little coastal town of Lorford was a picturesque setting, and the side characters were adorable. My favorite was One Ear, the dog.
The heaviness of the theme was lightened by the sense of community and friendship. The book focuses on the characters' achievements, and the bonds created rather than their pain.
The Beauty of Broken things is an inspiring and captivating read.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
*This review will be posted on https://lureviewsbooks.com on 05/22/2020 as part of the book's blog tour*
Luke is devastated by the sudden loss of his wife in a tragic train accident. In retrospect he feels he never acknowledged Helen's intrinsic goodness, her needs and her desires and only on her death he discovers little at a time that she had interests which she did not share with him purely because he did not give any indication he was interested.
Orla lives alone and isolated by choice on a remote castle in Suffolk. She has been disfigured in a revenge attack and has since then hidden from society, surviving alone but fearful for her life.
When Luke decides to visit Orla he did not know what was in store for him, he was following one of Helen's last wishes to deliver a birthday present for Orla and to help Orla in her distress, even though she did not know what Orla's situation was.
The story takes off from that point when the two eventually meet and how Luke persuades Orla to step back into the real world and meet and interact with people. Both begin to heal only when they help each other to come to terms with their past.
The story is an emotional one, descriptive of the Suffolk region as well and a gentle and quiet read.
Oh Victoria Connolly, I cannot put into words how deeply I fell in love with Luke and Orla.
I read far into the night as I followed these two beautiful lost souls on a magical journey which transported me to a remote Suffolk castle and introduced me to some very memorable characters.
This is a gentle unfolding story of heartbreak, grief, friendship and ultimately hope which really pulled at my heart strings.
Grief affects people in different ways, and after the death of his wife, Helen, Luke wants to connect with one of her online friends, an artist who makes beautiful objects out of broken things. But Orla does not want to be found, she lives in a crumbling castle in Suffolk, safe from her own painful past. Luke wants to urge Orla back into the real world, just as Helen was trying to do before she died. But Orla loves her life and sees no reason to change it. I loved this story about the loss of a loved one and the different ways that people heal, it’s absolutely beautiful
A beautiful magical story which had me captivated the whole way through. I loved the characters and the setting and the whole story which I will remember for a long time.
Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
A heart wrenching, broken into a million pieces, book yet so beautifully heart warming, join those pieces back together. This was one of a kind. Author Victoria Connelly's words had emotions seeped into it where every broken thing had an alluring beauty. Damaged souls healed together in the plot by the strength of the tapestry that weaved them together by the author. The prose left me awed.
Luke lost his wife Helen in a train accident, and Orla had a secret haunted past. Both Helen and Orla followed each other on the photography app Galleria. Helen had bought a gift for Orla, and Luke brought it to the old castle that Orla resided in. This was their journey of healing and finding life's simple joys.
My first book by this author, and WOW!! My breath got caught in my chest when emotions choked me. The two characters, struck down by life and its sudden incidents, had me longing to hug them. There was pain in their voices, I hoped they would heal soon. Landscapes lyrically described, the other characters brought out the gentleness of the story. Each page added to the richness of the plot, an understanding to life.
The author's brilliant hand with the warmth in the story brought me nearly to tears while making me smile. Every moment spent in the book was a journey into the beauty of broken things.
I must confess to having only read one of Victoria Connelly's novels before: A Weekend with Mr Darcy, which I loved. The Beauty of Broken Things is really quite different though. I was drawn in by the synopsis, which tells us we have two characters who have had very different experiences of life but have caused them each to break in their own way.
Luke Hansard's whole world came tumbling down the day his wife didn't make it home from work. In his 30s and already a widower, he doesn't know how to move on with his life without his beloved wife Helen. His days are spent going over the 'what ifs' as he struggles to come to terms with his loss. In a bid to stay close to his lost wife, Luke seeks out an online friend of hers, someone he knows Helen was keen to help. By helping this person that Helen so clearly wanted to support, he hopes to stay close to his wife while providing assistance to someone who may need it.
Orla Kendrick is a recluse, living alone in her Suffolk castle, hidden from the world. Her physical and emotional scars cause her to live in constant fear, and so instead she lives her life online, through her beautiful photographs of broken and damaged china. She is desperate to remain closed off from the world, so when Luke finds her, a stranger who claims his wife knows her, she panics and attempts to withdraw once more.
Both Luke and Orla are damaged and hurt in their own ways, but they have a common link: Helen. Whilst Orla may not have physically met her, they had connected online in a way that Orla had not expected to do. So when Luke arrives to personally deliver the news of Helen's death, Orla is blindsided. Even within the protective walls of her castle, she is not immune to what happens in the outside world. Luke on the other hand is struggling with his grief, and is therefore looking for something to channel his time and energy into. What he finds in Orla is unexpected. He finds a woman who is fearful of everything, and whilst he understands her reasons why, he seeks to help her realise that life cannot be feared if you really want to live.
This is such a beautiful novel. It was unexpected and yet wonderful to read a novel that focussed on a friendship, however unlikely, between a man and a woman who both just needed someone to guide them through their own darkness. Luke and Orla should never have met, and yet their own tragic circumstances drew them together at a time when they both really needed someone.
I am very happy to recommend The Beauty of Broken Things. It highlights experiences that sadly do happen, (Orla's is an experience that no person should ever have to go through, but sadly it is something we are now hearing about more and more in the press) but it shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, particularly if you are willing to let someone in to help guide you there. Orla and Luke were both wonderful characters, with excellent character arcs. They were both believable and relatable. Victoria Connelly has done an excellent job of highlighting that the journey to peace is just as important as the destination.
I already knew Victoria Connelly wrote beautifully – but I really didn’t know she could write this beautifully. This book was stunning – not a romance, conventional or otherwise, but overflowing with love. The first chapter lulls you into a false sense of security, perhaps making you feel that you know what is to come – then something happens that turns the whole book into something entirely different.
It becomes a portrait of two damaged people – not just damaged, more like broken – and the extraordinary support they give to each other as they make their tentative steps towards recovery. As a portrait of Luke’s loss and grief, it makes you ache inside – I shed tears in the second chapter, and they most certainly weren’t the last. And then there’s Orla – isolated by choice in her castle home, seeing no-one, only venturing outside into her secluded garden or to the deserted nearby beach with her dog, collecting the damaged pieces of beautiful china that arrive in regularly delivered parcels, posting her wonderful photographs on the Galleria website.
And that’s how she “met’ Luke’s wife Helen – a shared love of photography and accompanying words that built into an on-line friendship and a mutual affection. Helen left her a gift, and Luke feels so driven by the need to fulfil her wishes and place it in her hands that he tracks Orla down through a series of small clues in her photographs. In very slow steps, they begin to find comfort in each other’s presence, as builder Luke carries out repairs to her home – but it’s a very long way to any possibility of “and they both lived happily ever after”, as the author tracks the way that Luke’s grief ebbs and flows, and Orla’s steady unfurling sometimes falters. I won’t explain Orla’s love for damaged and broken things – but when her story emerges, shared with Luke in a scene etched permanently in my memory, the parallels and symbolism become evident (and rather perfect).
Although the book deals very realistically with the extremes of grief, there’s nothing mawkish or depressing about it – it’s heartwarming, uplifting, sometimes positively joyous, full of hope, with a real lightness in many of their interactions, and some nice touches of humour. It’s a book of “moments”, all exquisitely drawn, as both Orla and Luke continue their healing process. It’s an unexpectedly compelling read too – particularly when the author introduces a very real threat, an edge of danger with the potential to reverse all the progress they’ve made.
The book’s primary focus is on its two main characters, and that’s as it should be – but there are a small few others, wonderfully drawn, part of the healing process, each growing increasingly nuanced and rounded as Orla begins to re-enter the world. And the vividness of the book’s setting is exceptional – the castle itself almost becomes a third main character, the Suffolk countryside and coastline and the surrounding communities beautifully drawn.
I adored this book – I read it in a single sitting, totally unable to tear myself away from the characters, emotionally engaged to the very last page. And the ending was beautiful, totally right for the story, and perfectly judged – it filled me with joy, and then I set the book aside and cried again. Don’t miss this one – a very special book indeed, and an exceptionally talented author.
(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)
I liked the sound of the title and hence picked it up to read. Once you get over the absurdity of letting a stranger in your life in such an abrupt manner, the story is interesting. There were many parts of the story which I found myself getting annoyed with Luke and thought I would react in aa different manner to Olga however the main outline of the story was quite beautiful.
Powerful and emotional. Victoria Connelly gave me all the feels with this spellbinding story. This was a beautiful story about grief and healing. Luke is devastated after his beloved wife Helen dies. When he runs across an item Helen had for an online friend Orla, he is determined to get it to her. Orla is living an isolated life in a remote castle. She has been scarred both inside and out and is content with her solitary existence. When Luke meets Orla he is determined to help her heal, and in doing so perhaps he will heal himself.
A touching story infused with a great deal of heart and hope. Both Luke and Orla were very sympathetic characters and I wanted them to heal themselves. Find the silver lining, if you will. I loved the strong friendship that grew between Luke and Orla. I was really hoping this book did not take a certain direction and so thrilled when it didn’t. This is a book that will make you feel, so be sure to have that box of Kleenex handy.
*** Big thank you to Lake Union for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
This was an amazing read full of emotion that was a mix of heartbreaking storylines but with a glimpse of something better in the future.
The main characters are Orla and Luke, they don’t know each other. It is only when Luke checks his wife’s phone that he discovers she was friends with someone called BB. Helen and BB had an online friendship and an interest in photography. It is through the photographs that Luke is able to track down BB and discover who BB is.
Orla is a recluse, she lives in a castle. She doesn’t speak to anyone, she won't answer the door and she only goes out to walk her dog on a close-by beach. He withdrawal from people is a sad story and it explains why her only presence is online with her photography.
The link between the Orla and Luke is Helen, a woman who had wanted to live life through her photography but settles for a job that pays the bills. It is when she decides that she and Luke are secure enough for her to finally take the chance and change her career. This is when tragedy strikes and her life is cut short.
The story is sad and there where many times I had tears and was just able to keep them at bay. There was a simple line in the story that broke me though and it was such a simple and yet poignant one “She left the world with a smile,” at the end of chapter 6. It summed up how Helen saw life.
The story that followed was about how Luke and Orla gradually become friends, one helping the other to overcome grief and pain. Challenging each other to take steps, but while one of them is taking steps forward the other is in denial and hides the grief. It is a story about things happening when it is time for them and when you are ready to face them. Grief and tragedy cannot be measured and categorised into simple stages with a time limit on each stage.
This is a stunning read and one that I read in one sitting. It is emotional as the author takes the reader into the lives of two people that have had two very different things happen to them. Even though these events are different they still have to go through similar processes of acceptance. While reading the story I was willing the two main characters forward, but I also knew that there would be setbacks.
A fabulous story that I thoroughly enjoyed, heartwarming and emotional as well as one of hope. The title is just perfect and it fits so wonderfully with the story. I would definitely recommend The Beauty of Broken Things.
<b><i>People need people. We’re not made to isolate ourselves.</i></b>
How fitting is that quote, right now!? A couple of my GoodReads friends read and enjoyed this book. It was actually their reviews that made me want to read it. I am so glad I took a chance. Thank you so much to both JEN A and Shalini for your wonderful, inspiring reviews. This is why I love GoodReads so much.
This story gave me a deep emotional connection. The journey through time and people weaves a complex path, but one that is ultimately unifying. It's an emotional meandering, much like life itself. The novel takes us through ups and downs, possibilities and disappointments, calling on us to reassess what we think we know about our own lives and how we engage with those we hold most dear.
Thought-evoking and expertly written, The Beauty of Broken Things is far more than a simple story. It invokes such feeling and emotion that, whilst hard to put down, causes the reader to pause and reflect for themselves. What an amazing, emotional, powerful book this is. Wonderfully written, it was simply a pleasure to read that will make you smile, laugh and cry.
This isn't the first novel I've read by Victoria Conelly, and I must say, I loved this book even more than the previous ones I have read. I enjoyed every book I have read by this author, so far, but this one took me to a different mind set, a thought provoking story really.
A beautiful story that follows Luke Hansard and Orla Kendrick, through a journey of connecting with other, going through grief, and finally getting some much needed healing done. Both characters were very realistic, and despite the fact that I have not went through the same tribulation as they did, I still found myself feeling empathy and understanding them.
There are so many details in this story that make it so special. From the characters' past, their struggles, their emotional state, their goals, their connection... From the descriptions, the narrative, the dialogues... From the images and the feelings behind the scenes... There was a lot that caught my attention, and that made it possible for me to get a big picture of the story.
Overall, I couldn't put it down, it was late night and I was still reading. I was captivated by the heartwarming story that made me emotional, as well as wondering about life. About Luke and Orla's lives. The hope and love in the pages. The friendship and the strength.
[I want to thank Rachel, at Rachel’s Random Resources, and Victoria Connelly for the eCopy of this book, via NetGalley, and for allowing me to join in the fun and being a part of the blog tour with my honest review of the book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.]
This story immerses the reader in the characters from the first page. Helen is likeable and about to pursue her dreams when fate intervenes. Helen is integral to the story and resonates throughout. Luke is lost and desperate to hold on to his wife's memory. Taking a present to her online friend is a positive way to do this, but it fraught with difficulties.
Reclusive Orla is hiding from herself and life, but with good reason. Luke visit draws her back into the world, painful though it is forcing her to confront her fears. I like Orla and enjoyed her courageous fight back to life rather than existence.
The community surrounding the cottage are positive and supportive of Orla. The analogy of seeing the beauty in broken things is the major theme of this story and shows the power of acceptance, understanding and life experience.
This is a lovely story of serendipitous friendship and overcoming fear. It shows that through acceptance and understanding, life can be beautiful, despite being less than perfect.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Thank you to the author and Rachel for my copy of The Beauty of Broken Things!
Even though I had signed up for the blog tour, I wasn’t sure about the book. However, my mind was made up by the time I had reached around 23% of the way–this is a beautiful novel about healing, having faith, and the power of companionship.
This should teach me not to have any preconceived notions about a book based on the blurb and the cover.
Through the pain of losing a loved one, Luke reaches out to a stranger (Orla) who gradually becomes a dear friend. Orla’s attempts to reintegrate into the normal world and her transformation from a recluse to a self-confident woman are realistically described.
It is clear to readers just how difficult some commonplace things like answering the door, meeting strangers, or stepping out to the grocery store can be for people who have faced traumatic experiences.
An empathetic, heartwarming story about two unlikely friends helping each other pick up the broken pieces of each other’s soul, work through the trauma, and emerge whole from the experience.
I read this book for a blog tour, so thank you to the blog tour organiser and the author for inviting me to take part in this tour and thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I don't usually read much contemporary fiction, but this book surprised me from page one. I was really enjoying the first chapters and then it veered off course and became something else entirely that I hadn't expected and I actually ended up having a lovely time reading it, it was really impactful and inspirational.
We follow Orla and Luke, both of them now lonely and having to come to terms with their lives, being on their own and not knowing how to be happy anymore. The story is mainly about Helen and how she brought these two together, but I really loved seeing their relationship evolve, especially as it was only a friendship, and I think that made a world of difference in me enjoying this book.
Helen and Orla met through Galleria, an online social media hub for photos a lot like Instagram, and they both shared a passion for photography, Helen on the more natural side, and Orla concentrating on items that are broken. This is a really important part of the book because I thought that it carried the message that even though something is broken, it is beautiful. You'll understand more how important this is if you decide to pick this book up.
I loved seeing these two characters get to know one another, but also how they both came together to help one another, how Luke helped Orla get out of her castle and get into the community, to trust herself and others and to find confidence in who she was and her passion. I loved the setting, it was lovely to have a book set in Suffolk as it's just a county over from where I was born, so I definitely felt like I knew the coastline and tiny village that these two spend their time in.
I really found this book to be pleasant and impactful and I really enjoyed reading it, the writing style was fluid and the author's voice was lovely, it was quite simplistic but I thought that it got the message across beautifully. I gave this book 4 stars and I would recommend to people who like contemporary fiction, but to be aware of topics of loss, death, grief, loneliness, illness, hospitals and an incident of an acid attack, if you are sensitive to these and feel like picking this one up.
When he loses his wife in a terrible accident, Luke tries to find closure, by helping Helen's mysterious online friend. Orla has done a good job of hiding herself away from the world; so good in fact, that she may never have to see another person again.
I received a free copy from the publisher and Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
After he loses his wife Helen in a train accident, Luke struggles to go on. He feels smothered by everyone's pity and good intentions; and plagued by the thought that Helen wasn't as happy as she made out.
After discovering that her passion for photography had grown from a hobby to a professional ambition, one that was sadly never achieved; Luke decides to reach out to the mysterious BB, Helen's online friend and fellow-photographer.
Orla is a hermit, hidden in a remote castle. Since she moved there two years ago, she's hid behind the walls and refused to see anyone. Scared of people in general after a vicious acid attack that left her scarred for life, she finds beauty in broken porcelain, and has quite the online following.
When Luke shows up on her doorstep, she begrudgingly starts to accept the outside world; and in return she can hopefully help heal Luke.
I loved the setting in this book - the castle and the Suffolk countryside are as important as any character in the story.
It really is beautifully written and easy to read, despite the dark parts of Orla and Luke's history being the factor that brings them together.
I liked Orla's passion for photography, and her interest in how damage gives a history to delicate and beautiful porcelain.
There is a real emphasis on the importance of friends. I thought it was refreshing that the story remained focussed on the pure friendship that existed between Orla and Luke, and the rest of the villagers.
Unfortunately, I wasn't a fan of Luke. As someone who is a complete introvert, and struggles to deal with social situations, I personally thought he was a bit of a dick in how he kept pushing Orla and not taking no for an answer.
Luke is using this jaunt away from home to hide from reality, so I thought he should have some empathy for Orla. He's constantly trying to push her to make huge leaps, because he knows best. I honestly wanted Orla to throw a teapot at him.
Overall, this was a 3.5 out of 5 for me. I liked the author's writing and would be interested in reading more of her work.
The beauty of Broken Things is a heartwarming story of two people who have both experienced bad things in their lifes but since meeting each other have started to heal.Orla and Luke live not more than 3 miles from each other and only have a connection on social media. Luke's wife has passed away unexpectedly and Orla is a recluse living in total isolation.
The connection is through Orla and Helen (Luke' wife). Helen followed Orla's account and they became friends without even knowing each others name. Luke decides to find Orla and we find that Orla loves beautiful things that have imperfections, the real beauty of broken things.
The story unfolds and eventually Orla retellls the origin of just why she is the isolated recluse she is. This book is uplifting and sad at the same time for me, this immersive story had me in tears. A gorgeous ending for a beautifully written book. With thanks to Rachels Random Resources for letting me be a part of this uplifting and heartwarming books Blog Tour and Net galley for the ARC
The Beauty of Broken Things is an emotional read that will bring tears to your eyes. It tackles the tough subjects of depression and grief, but it's written in a beautiful way. It's powerful. It's heartwarming. And readers will be rooting for Orla and Luke and their budding friendship along the way.
Luke is a man struggling to cope with the loss of his wife, Helen, who was working on becoming a full-time photographer. Orla is a recluse who uses broken ceramics to make beautiful photos. Both she and Helen were online friends, bonded through their love of photography. After Helen dies, Luke finds a gift Helen wanted to deliver to Orla, so he decides to track her down and deliver it himself. It's this decision that sets off the beginning of their friendship and sets the tone for the rest of the story.
I really enjoyed the characters and the writing. Everything sort of just hits you right in the feels while reading, but that's a good thing.
If you're looking for a well-written, emotional read, give The Beauty of Broken Things a chance.
Wow, what a beautifully written book. I was engrossed throughout, the characters were wonderful and so was the backdrop. It was such a heartbreaking read at times but nonetheless a wonderful journey to be on. I think it showed that life can still be worth it after losing someone and that that person will always be with you no matter what. I absolutely loved this book.
Another winning book from Victoria Connelly. Well written drawing you into the lives and feelings of Orla and Luke. Who both have to over come their own problems to learn how to live their lives and how to trust again. This book is beautifully written and with the addition of minor characters who help develop the main characters is inspiring. The passages with the granddaughter were well written and are very sensitive to the subject. At the beginning of the piece you were holding your breath as you would do when any child speaks, but by the end you just wanted to give the child a hug. This book played with your emotions from the start and you really didn't want the book to end. Huge Woofs to One Ear who help make the story. Like his mistress had his own hurdles to overcome. Another Victoria Connelly book that you didn't want to end.
Thank you ~Netgalley for letting me review this wonderful well book.
Heartbreaking, hopeful, and absorbing!
The Beauty of Broken Things is a moving, sensitive tale set in the idyllic Suffolk countryside that takes us into the lives of Orla Kendrick and Luke Hansard, two strangers whose budding friendship helps them learn how to support, heal, grow, take chances, start anew, and grieve the tragedies they’ve each endured.
The prose is emotive and smooth. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and compassionate. And the plot is a captivating tale full of love, loss, family, tragedy, courage, community, contentment, anxiety, and unconditional friendship.
Overall, The Beauty of Broken Things is a pensive, tender, evocative tale by Connelly that reminds us that life can be unpredictable and full of curveballs, but it’s how we approach, handle and survive all these messy, complicated, highs-and-lows that truly make all the difference.
What an emotionally riveting story this was! Luke lost his wife Helen in a train accident, and Orla had a secret haunted past. Both Helen and Orla followed each other on the photography app Galleria. Helen had bought a gift for Orla, and Luke brought it to the old castle that Orla resided in. This was their journey of healing and finding life's simple joys.
Thank you to NetGalley, Lake Union - Amazon Publishing UK and the author for an early copy.
The Beauty of Broken Things is a breath-taking story that grabbed me from the first page. Helen and Orla are online friends both interested in photography and are brought together by Helen’s fascination with Orla’s love of beautiful but broken antiques. They’ve never met and when Helen is killed in an accident her husband Luke discovers a damaged but beautiful vase that Helen had hoped to give to her friend.
Devastated by the loss of his wife, Luke takes time out from his business and tracks down the mysterious woman behind the photos. He discovers that not only does Orla live alone in a vast castle in the magnificent Sussex countryside with only her rescue dog for company, but that she has a tragic past of her own that she is trying to hide from. Luke decides to try and help the reclusive Orla find a way to move on with her life and in doing so is forced to face his own demons.
This is a beautifully written book of heartbreak, learning to trust others and finding strength when all seems lost. Both characters face the devastation of losing the future they had hoped for themselves but through each other discover that although their lives might have changed beyond all recognition that there is still hope for a new life that might be different to the one they imagined but which doesn’t necessarily have to be any less enjoyable than the one that was taken.
The Beauty of Broken Things is a heart-wrenching, hope-filled story and I loved it.
My thanks to Lake Union Publishers and NetGalley for an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
I LOVED this beautiful heartbreaking novel The Beauty of Broken Things, by Victoria Connelly. The beautiful setting in the Suffolk countryside brought the story to life for me as did the characters that were relatable and that I enjoyed reading about. The story is about the harrowing loss of someone we love and how we go on as survivors after a painful and tragic loss. The story is also about hope and moving on, about new friendships and moving towards healing after a painful past and tragic traumatic events.
I found the writing beautifully expressed and I really enjoyed the pacing and the introduction of the characters as they go through moving forward and the hope for healing. As someone who has experienced loss, I was able to relate to the difficulties and how the painful events can either lead to a spiral downhill, or learn to navigate the new and hopeful tomorrow. This book did just that in a beautifully told story.
I recommend this book for an emotionally engaging read you will not be able to put down once you start.
I look forward to reading more from author Victoria Connelly.
This is such an emotive read, absolutely fabulous IMHO. It is a story of two people struggling to cope with very different life changing events who are brought together by tragedy and, despite adversity, move on with their lives. They are both emotionally scarred and their wounds are still healing. It is only after meeting each other that they can endeavour to help each other.
The untimely and tragic death of his wife, Helen, is devastating for Luke Hansard. It is only when he discovers a present she had purchased for BB, an online photographer friend, that he has a new purpose in life. He’s determined to deliver the present and to let BB know about Helen’s passing. Discovering just where BB lives is a detective story but even when he finds that out and endeavours to deliver the present he is shocked that BB is actually Orla Kendrick and that she is a recluse. He sets out to follow Helen’s dream of helping Orla get back out into the world little realising just why she has chosen to shut herself away or the danger he is putting her in….
This is a powerful, moving read with well developed characters, a delightful, supportive community and a superb story to escape into. It has elements of mystery, suspense, discover and danger in an enthralling story of supporting and healing. I didn’t want to put it down until I’d finished it! It is another brilliant story from this talented author and one that I have no hesitation in highly recommending.
I requested and was gifted a copy of this book and this is my honest review after choosing to read it and thoroughly enjoying doing so.
I adored this book! It shows the power of gaining strength from others which allows you to heal and move on from tragic events - ones you think you will never get over. And it's also made me want to start a collection of 'broken things'! Finding beauty in things that are imperfect - very difficult in this world we live in where 'perfection' is what is craved. And those imperfections are what keeps Orla hidden away after an appalling tragedy. Even her own mother thinks it's for the best that she is kept out of public view! So Orla just has the company of her dog, and her imperfect collection of china - forever fearful of the outside world. But through her photography she reaches out to many others, one of those being Helen who admires her work and dreams of setting up as a photographer herself. The women build up a friendship through internet messages - until one day the messages stop coming.
Luke is married to Helen and is devastated by her sudden and tragic loss. He feels rudderless without her and finds out so much about her that he didn't know about through her journal. So through photos, he tracks down Orla to pass on a gift that Helen bought for her and that starts an amazing bond between them both that starts the healing process. Isn't it amazing how some are quick to want to help heal others before even beginning to heal themselves? Sometimes the ones doing the saving are the ones that need saving themselves!
As Orla opens up about her past, you totally understand why she is so reluctant to trust others but as she starts seeing the goodness in people she gains more confidence and starts thinking about rebuilding her life once more. And through helping Orla, Luke is made to face up to life after Helen and it was emotional at times watching them both go through the healing process. It's a beautifully written book and the characters are so well crafted that you can't help but not take them to your hearts.
It's a lovely touching novel and inspiring to watch the progress they both make in helping one another through the tougher times of grief and fear.
This review will be published on the below-mentioned book blog and other social media on 29 June 2020.
Book Title: The Beauty of Broken Things
Author: Victoria Connelly
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publishing Date: 06 June 2020
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. will these two broken souls be able to heal?
After reading fellow book blogger's reviews on this book I had very high expectations for it. Let’s say its worth every hype! I love this book! The plot is a simple, tragic yet uplifting linear story. The characters are deep and felt connected with the reader. The narration is lucid,slow-paced, and emotional! often times I cried at the mourning lines !! I can’t decide is it fully because of the narration or me being very emotional! But the words definitely had a strong impact on me ! Especially the grief caught me so much than the fear and anxiety of other character! The brilliant story of two broken hearts get solace on one another and find a beautiful way to mend. Though I felt very sad in the initial chapters, it shows the way to come out of it in the end! Such a heartwarming, compelling story! There is no romance at least not in a contemporary way but we could feel the moving love throughout the story! Emotionally engaged, a deep story that I enjoyed so much!
Thoughts while reading :
The narration is one of the great things in this story! The way the beauty of photography pictures described in the beginning is lovely. I won’t get surprised if someone pickup photography after reading this book! I fell in love with those beautiful pictures descriptions!
Often times I felt a lump in my throat or tears in my eyes when I read about Luke’s grief! Somehow the story made me emotionally engaged and so the words are powerful enough to make me cry!
The dog character!!! It made me yearn to have one! The way it’s part represented in the entire story, is awesome! Very subtle but definitely made the dog owners related a lot!
The land and village description are also blissful! It made me imagine how it would be to live in a castle with a sea outside your doorsteps and a warm beautiful village surrounded by it! Oh !! I wish I could visit this place!
The climax breaking episode is remarkable! I seriously consider doing this in the near future!
After finished the story, I felt quite calm and happy which I think the very sole purpose of the story! The beauty of broken things, make us realize the beauty of our broken life!
Thanks to #netgalley and the publisher#amazonpublishinguk for this ARC. This review is straight from my heart, not biased in any way.
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 of prose. 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 also finished the book feeling positive and grateful for the things I have. It's a must-read!
An insightful, sensitive and heart-wrenching exploration of love, loss and grief, The Beauty of Broken Things is a tale imbued with hope and heart readers will not easily forget.
Luke Hansard feels as if his life ended on the same day that his beloved wife Helen passed away. Others may say that time is a great healer, but each day is agony for Luke. He feels Helen’s loss keenly and acutely and he simply does not know how he is ever going to function without the woman he loves by his side for the rest of his life. Desperate to keep her memory alive and to ensure that Helen is never forgotten, Luke reaches out to a woman his wife often mentioned; a reclusive photographer with an unusual interest in beautiful but broken things: an online friend called Orla Kendrick, who prefers to keep the world at bay and simply does not want to found…
Orla has always felt an affinity with the broken treasures she collects and which she keeps in her fortress in the ruins of a Suffolk castle which she calls home. Hiding from the world has become second nature to Orla. Alone in Suffolk, nobody can see the physical and mental scars that have certainly left their toll on her. Her haunting past had almost destroyed her and Orla does not plan on ever leaving her sanctuary. She is perfectly happy to spend the rest of her life in the shadow of the ruins – until Luke tracks her down and slowly begins to beckon her into the light…
Luke wants to help Orla out and to aid her in shaking off the shackles of the past that are keeping her imprisoned in her castle. Orla cannot continue to live in isolation and she must step out of the shadows and embrace life in all of its glory and splendour. But when the past rears its head again, will dangerous secrets and life-threatening jeopardy end up breaking the two of them…forever?
Will Luke and Orla remain trapped in a cycle of grief, fear and despair for the rest of their lives? Or will they manage to find the courage to take a chance on happiness and a new beginning?
Victoria Connelly’s The Beauty of Broken Things is such a beautiful book. Exquisitely written and superbly told, The Beauty of Broken Things is a heart-warming, poignant and emotional tale about courage, loneliness, heartbreak, hope and second chances that will have readers reaching for their tissues, yet it is not a sad book.
The Beauty of Broken Things is a novel about healing, facing up to the past and finding the inner strength to keep taking chances that is uplifting, inspirational and incredibly moving.
An immensely gifted and versatile writer, Victoria Connelly has outdone herself with her latest novel The Beauty of Broken Things.
Enjoyable story with interesting complex characters.
The premise of the story was intriguing and unique. The story has so much going on....overcoming loss, prevailing through tragedies, finding friendships, learning to trust others and conquering life’s obstacles.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read and review this book for my honest opinion.
This story reminded me of a Japanese tradition, Kintsugi, the art of repairing broken pottery with powdered gold, because for them being broken it’s only part of the story of the piece, not to be thrown away.
Luke Hansard has just lost his wife, he doesn’t know how to return to his routine or what to do with his life. When he discovers that her wife loved photography, he tries to reach Orla Kendrick, a friend of her who doesn’t want to be found.
This is the story of Luke and Orla, how they start healing each other with photography, not takes photos of landscapes or babies but of broken things, because we all should learn that something that is broken doesn’t mean that is irreparable, it has an special beauty on it, you only have to find it!
I really liked this story, I felt connected with Luke since the beginning, I know what it means losing someone and the disconnection with the surrounding, the unknown of what to do or how to cope with sadness. It’s special the connection between him and Orla, they are broken souls, they need someone/something to awake them to the new reality and help them to continue with their lives. The pain will never leave, but it will not be so devastating, the memories will not be so bitter, but much sweeter and in time they’ll have them with a smile.
I’ll have to say that this had been a lovely read, I loved the characters and the atmosphere of the story, it was like being inside the book and the characters my best friends. The Beauty of Broken Things is a story to heal and grow, make any reader remember that everything can be healed, you only need the “correct” tool. Ready?
I must say, it's wonderful to com across a book that is all about the relationships with none of the romance. Not that I hate romantic arcs, but it's just that there's more than one kind of relationship in this world and it's refreshing to see story about an honest adult friendship developing out of the ruins of tragedy. The Beauty of Broken Things offers a tender exploration of community, both in person and online, and the days in which is can bring us together as well as drive us apart. And above all else, it offers a sweet and gentle look at loss, grief, trauma, and recovery and the vastly different ways it can be experienced - obvious or otherwise.
On one hand we have Orla, a reclusive woman who was the victim of an acid attack, who has since locked herself away in a ruined castle as a means of shielding herself from the world. She is lonely, isolated, and lives under the weight of a debilitating fear. These circumstances are compounded further by a well-meaning mother who aggressively shields her daughter from any potential threat, engages in a touch of gaslighting and emotional manipulation, and might just want to keep Orla dependent on her for all her emotional needs.
I found Orla to be a challenging character to read because she was incredibly well written. The fear and anxiety that have come to define her bleeds off the page and into the reading experience, as does her reluctant desire to live a life that offers just a little bit more - even if it scares her to death. I found myself cheering every little step she made towards recovery, zipping through those sections when her fear was legitimized by real threats, and growing closer to her as a character with every tentative new relationship she added to her collection of broken things.
On the other hand we have Luke, who comes at Orla's carefully constructed walls with all the grace of a siege engine fuelled by the newly discovered desires of his deceased wife. Where Orla would have been happy to have never built another relationship again, Luke is determined to be the real-life friend that Helen never could have been online. He's stubborn, sweet, and is most definitely using his spur-of-the-moment adventure to East Anglia as a means of avoidance when it comes to dealing with his own trauma. Now add in a castle that need a little (or a lot) work, and Luke thinks that he has the perfect opportunity to repair the owner as well as the landmark. The only problem is that he doesn't expect Orla and the community of Lorford to start carrying out the same kind of emotional work on him.
I really appreciated that Luke's perspective was present and not just Orla's, as it provided a subtle balance between the emotional expectations and coping mechanisms experienced by men and women. It's clear from the start that Luke's stoic approach isn't working, and that he's denying himself a desperately needed emotional journey. And the camaraderie found between Luke and Orla allows for them both to break down their walls, and the stereotypical expectations placed on those in their respective situations.
The Beauty of Broken Things is written in exquisite prose that draws you in from the very first page. It will make you laugh, make you cry, and it will most definitely leave you rooting for our broken beauties as they take their first steps towards healing and recovery.
If you're craving real characters, genuinely human experiences, and the purest form of friendship I can't recommend this book highly enough.
The tone of this book was different to the Book Lovers series, but I loved it and it showcased Victoria Connelly's ability to write a more emotive, slightly darker novel delving deeper into the subject of grief and adapting to a different life after tragedy.
One thing this has in common with the series is her knack of bringing ideas, objects and hobbies alive with the descriptions inciting all the reader's senses. In the Book Lover's series it was reading, music and colour. The reader experiences the joy and pleasure along with the protagonist, and in this instance; it is photography and gardening. The beautiful prose allowed me to capture Helen and Orla's passion for photography and the smell of the garden and allotment. I became immersed in the plot immediately with the opening scenes with Helen. She may only have been in the opening chapter but the essence of her is the thread binding the two central characters and I would love to know more about her and experience life in her eyes for a while. Her viewpoint was uplifting.
Luke's grief and bewilderment leapt off the page as he makes the decision to find his wife's elusive friend. The setting of his destination is stunning and has given me another place to visit on my Bucket list. Along with Orla's fear of the outside world it gave an insight into mental health after trauma and life-changing experiences. It handles the raw pain of grief in a sensitive manner. I loved watching the blossoming friendship between Orla and Luke and the emotional journey they go through to heal.
All characters have depth, including those with smaller roles like Bill and his friends. The community spirit made me long to live in the village with him and his wife. It is the small details like her knitting that add to the depth of characters bringing them alive.
This novel is about true love, friendship, courage and learning to live your life appreciating every snapshot small and large.
It is set in a beautiful location and there are many memorable characters to cherish including One Eye, the dog who I would love to own. It is an emotional read which left me feeling warm, upbeat and full of hope and also longing for more.
I was immediately attracted to the description of this book. Two broken souls brought together by tragedy and together finding a deep connection that helped them to discover a sense of belonging again.
Orla lives alone in a remote castle, choosing to see no-one, not even Bill who tends her garden. She gets enjoyment from collecting damaged porcelain and photographing them to show off their exquisite beauty.
When a young man calls by she refuses to answer the door and asks him to leave. However, Luke needs to see Orla to explain why her friend Helen (his wife) hasn’t been in touch. He has sad news that her online friend has tragically died and needs to pass on a gift that Helen wanted Orla to receive.
I loved the descriptions of the ancient castle and the remote windswept beach where Orla walked her dog One Ear. The detailed imagery of the delicate china teacups and vases with a hairline crack or tiny chip made me think of the history behind the pieces. Orla saw that a minor imperfection didn’t alter the beauty of the piece. In fact, she cherished the items because they became truly unique. I loved the analogy between damaged porcelain and broken souls, which was exquisitely written.
The connection between Orla and Luke was extremely poignant. They gave each other comfort and helped to restore confidence. There is drama in the plot and relatable characters, especially Bill and his wife Margy who were warm and caring. This is a captivating read that steals your heart. A simple but stunning story, wonderfully crafted by a talented author.
Two fantastic characters who you love from the word go and can’t help but feel sorrow for after what they have been through.
A wonderful story that hits you right at your core if you’ve been affected in any small way by fear, isolation and anxiety.
And a lifetime missing out on so many small joys in the world because of being too terrified to face it.
I think it’s safe to say that every single one of us are broken beauties in one way or another.
An absolute must read!!!! ❤️ #blogtour
This is a gentle, sensitive story about tragedy, loss, healing and hope. It will warm your heart despite being incredibly sad and is a stark reminder that life is for the living.
Luke adores his young wife Helen, and when she is tragically taken from him in a freak accident, he has no idea how he can every pick up the pieces and carry on with his life. In the aftermath of Helen’s death, Luke takes comfort from the online site where she posted her beloved photographs and shared anecdotes with fellow photographers about their craft. He particularly focuses on one individual that he knows his wife had developed a friendship with and who had been a big inspiration to her in pursuing her work more positively. Known only as BB (Beautifully Broken), he discovers that Helen had recently purchased a gift that she intended to send to this person, but never got around to doing so. He decides that this is something he can do in his late wife’s memory.
But finding BB is no easy task, and eventually after some amateur sleuthing of his own, with the help of his architectural background and knowledge, Luke manages to narrow down the area that BB lives in – accurate to the actual village itself! And he sets off with Helen’s gift to do this one thing that his wife never got around to doing. He doesn’t factor in the possibility that maybe BB doesn’t actually want to be found, and maybe that’s why she hides behind her photographs.
Orla hides herself in Lorford Castle and has done so for two years now. She’s had her fair share of misfortune, and knows that she’s better off far away from people and the hurt they can cause. But when Luke shows up and tells her that her online friend (Trees and Friends – Helen’s online handle) is dead, she isn’t sure what to do. Should she let him into the castle and her life? Can two broken souls help each other to heal again?
Told with warmth and compassion, and accompanied by a truly wonderful cast of supporting characters (including a fabulous dog), The Beauty of Broken Things is about how it just might be possible to put ourselves back together once we’ve been broken beyond all recognition. And maybe a crack and a chip might still show here and there, but therein lies the beauty! Our scars are what make us who we are, and our perfect imperfections are what make us whole again.
This is a really gorgeous 5-star read, told with Victoria Connelly’s unique empathy and consideration for the human spirit and its ability to endure extreme hardship and return fighting, stronger than ever!
Thank you Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for my Advanced Reader’s Copy. I really hoped to like this one but was disappointed in the author’s writing style and couldn’t get past it. So much of the novel takes place inside the two main character’s heads and the author’s sentence structure is stale and overdone. I thought it would be sweet and easy, but instead I found I wasn’t picking it up to read.
The Beauty of Broken Things
By Victoria Connelly
“The only way to get through this is to get through this”
This novel was a heart-breaking book filled with hope, growth and healing. Luke and Orla are brought together, through their love and subsequent grief of Helen.
Helen Hansard, Luke’s wife, was killed in a tragic accident coming home on the train one night.
The Beauty of Broken Things was written in such a sensitive tone, that brings you to tears many times. A beautiful and poignant story filled with grief, fear and the memory of love.
Any details I give in this review would take away the captivating storytelling that pulls you into this book.
Victoria Connelly is a bestselling author of two series – Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, and her first published novel Flights of Angel, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany.
I want to thank NetGalley for the opportunity of reading an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
This is a touching story which shows two people who are both working through grief, loss, anger and desolation. They meet totally by chance and slowly, their lives begin to interweave. Some of the secondary characters ground the story in everyday life, especially the villagers who live near Orla. You can totally imagine the community spirit and their perplexed feelings as to why Orla is so reclusive.
The East Anglian setting is beautifully evoked and you can almost smell the salt in the air and feel the sand between your toes. There are one or two surprises that turn up as the story unfolds. In particular, you feel that Orla's mother has her own issues to work through and I am sure could feature in her own story! Seeing below the surface and noticing the beauty in the flawed and the damaged, Orla and Luke seem to have an understanding almost from the start. This is a story to savour.
Thanks to the author for a copy of the book.
What an incredibly touching and inspiring novel. When two strangers are brought together by a tragic death, their lives start to heal.
Luke has recently lost his wife, Helen, to a tragic train accident and his life is broken. As he tries to make sense of it, he discovers his wife’s true devotion to her craft of photography and the close friend she has made on a website called Galleria which showcases their photos. After discovering a gift Helen was planning to send to her friend only known as BB (Beautifully Broken), Luke discovers that BB doesn’t want to be found. When he tracks her down, she is living in a castle and wants nothing to do with him or anyone else for that matter. Will he be able to grant his dead wife’s wish and help this lonely woman who meant so much to her?
Orla is a recluse and afraid to let anyone in her life again after the disturbing incident a few years ago. She has lived in Lorford Castle for two years and no one has seen her or talked with her. But one day a stranger comes to her door to bring a message and a gift. Her wonderful and kind friend, Trees and Friends, or Helen, her husband calls her, is dead. The kindred spirit who understood her passion for photography is gone. Should she let Luke in to her life, or will it bring more fear?
I love the way the characters slowly develop to bring a thoughtful look at life after tragedy. My heart broke for both Luke and Orla. Luke’s amazing gesture to bring Helen’s gift to Orla in person is so heartwarming and his determination to encourage her to see the world again is truly remarkable considering what he was going through himself. Orla’s ordeal is awful and her anxiety and fear is understandable for all she has gone through. But when she finally takes steps to make her life better, she truly shines and gives back so much to Luke and the place she lives in. Speaking of which, the supporting characters such as Bill and Margy, Orla’s gardener and his wife, are extraordinary and so kind to help Luke acclimate Orla to her lovely neighbors and become part of the lovely community.
Overall, this a beautifully written story about loss and renewal and finding inner peace after devastating events in life. If you enjoy heartwarming stories about hope, give this book a try.
Thank you to Ms. Connelly for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
This is a beautiful story that is emotional, heartfelt and wonderfully touching. I so enjoyed this well crafted story by author Victoria Connelly. Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinions are my own opinion.
This is first a story of grieving and how to find solace in grief after loss of a spouse. Luke is devastated after his beloved wife Helen dies. He finds something she wanted to give to a online friend and decides he will take
it to her personally. He finds Helen living a isolated life that she prefers as solitary. She lives in a wonderful historic castle and Luke is right away determined to help her heal from her own inner pain and re introduce her to the outside world which she wants no part of. She does not want contact with anyone and is not interested in friendship. I so appreciate that the author did not go the usual format and instead they remained as friends as this reader hoped for as their friendship grew. It was this friendship that made this book so beautiful to read. The author respected both charcters and their strong fortitude by giving us a wonderful friendship and showing the reader how friends help us heal from grief. I highly recommend this wonderful book. Review cross posted.
Okay, so I started and stopped, typed and backspaced so many times when I started writing this review, I honestly wasn't sure what I was going to be left with. I couldn't seem to (and still can't to some degree) quite express the level of beauty that is captured within this work. It truly takes us through the landscape of the heart with all its pitfalls, and passions, letting us be guided by the characters themselves as they attempt to find a level of balance in their lives once again.
My heart broke for Helen, Luke, and Orla, equally in turn. The first for the lack of life she'd have, the second for the heartbreak he experienced along with the what ifs, and the third for her tenuous connection to life that was lost, but also the horrors she still needed to face in her own life. There was so much hurt, so much pain, so much brokenness that one didn't quite know where to look to find some semblance of joy, some light of hope in these very dark times. They say that people come into our lives at exactly the moment they were meant to...no sooner, no later. Well a definite case can be made for that here because for as much sadness as there was to go around, these two broken souls were able to pull each other through to the other side of their great losses, and while they both still have a ways to go, steps forward are still a win toward discovering happiness once again.
So take a chance on this beautiful novel full of broken "things"...and I think you'll discover just how truly human those experiences that made the cracks, and created the chips, really are.
I zipped through this book as discussed a lot of nothing. For sure loss and grief are debilitating but this book seemed to think gardens and beach walks were the remedy. Characters were all too lovely and book was so predictable.
When Helen is killed in a train crash Luke is devastated and lost without her but when he finds a gift for Orla an online photography friend of Helens he is determined to hunt her down and give her the gift, but Orla doesn't want to be found..... can he find her by clues in her photographs? Orla is a scarred recluse living in a remote Suffolk castle, where she will not even face her gardener, and spends her time searching auction sites for beautiful things, but with a difference.....they can't be perfect. Can these two broken people meet and help to mend each other.
A beautiful story of two damaged unhappy people who find hope again. I found Orla's story particularly moving with the courage it took her to move out of her comfort zone and the damage that had been done to her. Another great book by this author
The beautiful cover and a title that intrigued me, I picked this book from Netgalley.
I hadn't read any of Victoria connelly's books and have loved this story so much that I will definitely be reading more of her past titles soon.
The story is about two people, ina very difficult phase of life meeting under peculiar circumstances, through the memory of one person......
Helen, a young lady who works in a not so exciting day job creates excitement in her life through her photographs on a social media site. There she becomes friendly with the account tiltled 'Beauty of Broken Things. They foster a deep online friendship helping each other out in their passion. Tragedy strikes and Helen dies in a train accident. Luke, Helen's husband has this idea of searching her online friend and conveying about Helen and here begins the story of these two broken souls trying to help each other through their grief
A well written emotional contemporary fiction. The story moves along at an even pace with not a single boring moment. As a reader I was completely involved in tbe story. Loved the growth of the characters and thir relationship.
If you love to read heart touching stories about dealing with grief and trauma then this is for you.
I thank the author, publisher and Netgalley for approving my Review request. The opinions expressed are entirely mine.
Stupidly I got given the chance to read this on NetGalley but didn’t realise I had to download it before the archive date so I purchased the book to read. It’s a truly lovely story that I really enjoyed. The first one I’ve read by Victoria Connelly and I’ll now be looking to read more
This is a beautiful story of loss, grief, and hope. There IS beauty in broken things and sometimes they can be made whole again.
Many thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author's descriptions of place are wonderful. Her characters are people one feels like one would like to know. The story is touching and heartwarming. What more could one ask?
Luke Hansard was devastated after losing his wife, Helen, in a tragic accident and he was desperate to keep her memory alive. He decides to reach out to an online friend whom Helen had mentioned numerous times, but locating this woman would prove to be more challenging than Luke imagined.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in an isolated Suffolk castle where she hides away from everyone and everything, including her past that left her with physical and emotional scars for life. When Luke finally found Orla, he wants to help her just as Helen wanted to. He does all he can to try and encourage her out of the life she’d been living and see that there was another world beyond the walls of her Suffolk castle. Just when Luke thought he was starting to make progress with Orla it seems to come to an abrupt end. In time would Luke and Orla be able to heal one another or would they remain two broken souls?
This was an amazing story of friendship, love and loss which I thoroughly enjoyed. A captivating, emotional and powerful story that I absolutely loved. Highly recommended.
With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for my digital copy to read and review.
Very enjoyable read by this author, who never disappoints. An easy read with a richly vivid world. If you love a strong sense of place and like to visit settings that aren't necessarily familiar to you, this will appeal.
What an enjoyable and heart-warming read. I relished getting to know the two main characters and found their story compelling.
This is a story about grief and how different people deal with their pain and loss. It was not a romance, but it did have the potential to be a love story.
The setting was magnificent. An atmospheric old castle in an idyllic setting. And that cover…. beautiful!
I also enjoyed the scenes that contained Orla’s overly large, one-eared dog. Aptly named ‘One Ear’, he added some canine joy to the narrative.
This lovely story was about finding the beauty where some think none exists. About embracing life, loss, friendship, and community.
Recommended to those readers who like character-rich novels with positive messages.
This was a beautifully written story based on grief and healing. And while this could have easily morphed into a sappy romance, the author does a wonderful job of developing a friendship between Luke and Orla. Make sure you grab a box of tissues as you journey through a tale of love, loss, community, and satisfaction.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.
This book was not what I expected. This story is about feeling broken in different ways and finding ways to overcome their losses. It is not a romance, but a beautiful friendship. Very encouraging and hopeful.
This book was a very easy read about broken people. It was emotional without being heartbreaking, and I am sure lots of people would enjoy reading this
This was a brilliant read and is being featured on my blog for my quick star reviews feature, which I have created on my blog so I can catch up with all the books I have read and therefore review.
The Beauty of Broken Things takes a tragedy and turns it into a beautiful friendship. The characters are relatable and one can easily see oneself replicated in their actions and feelings.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book.