Alissa Reviews: Bookshop of the Broken Hearted – Robert Hillman

Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

This beautiful, heartbreaking story takes place in a small Australian town in 1968. Tom Hope, a farmer, is a dependable, solid man who suffers many painful losses. Tom’s wife, Trudy,  leaves him, and then shows up a year later pregnant with another man’s child. Tom loves the child, named Peter, and raises him when it becomes clear that Trudy is not at all maternal. Trudy leaves both Tom and Peter when Peter is a toddler, only to return two years later and devastate both Tom and Peter when Trudy takes Peter and moves away to live in a fundamental Christian community.

While Tom works his farm and lives quietly, waiting for his broken heart to heal, he meets Hannah. Hannah survived a concentration camp in Germany, but lost her entire family including her siblings, parents, husband, and young son. Hannah is opening a bookstore and hires Tom to help get the store ready. Hannah is vivacious, feisty and educated and nothing like Tom nor his neighbors. Hannah and Tom, both recovering from heartache, fall in love and find happiness with each other until Peter reappears in Tom’s life, and Hannah is confronted with her fears of loving – and losing – another young child.

This book is stunning and deeply sad. The author weaves together hope, love, forgiveness, bravery, and literature to heal and uplift the characters. It is not always an easy read, but you will find yourself engrossed in the story and suffering for the characters right away. This is not a book to be missed!