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Heartbroken: A Novel Hardcover – June 26, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307465209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307465207
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #784,993 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Stellar. . . . Heartbroken should be on everyone’s summer to-read list.  For best results, read it alone on an island on a dark and stormy night.” USA Today (4 stars)
Heartbroken has all the makings of a high-wire thriller.  But it’s the twisted psyches of its main characters that really unsettle. . . . Unger expertly shows how quiet betrayals can rupture a life as deeply as an act of violence.” People (3 ½ stars)
“A can’t-put-down thriller interlaced with insightful family drama and echoes of Wuthering Heights.” —Family Circle
“Lisa Unger is one of the few women to first break into the genre of thrillers, then to dominate it.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Lisa Unger masterfully writes of the joys and frustrations of family life in her latest novel. . . . What makes [it] shine is the struggle of multidimensional characters with issues that all of us face but sometimes don’t want to acknowledge.” Associated Press
“Suspenseful. . . . An intense psychological thriller that explores a family with complex relationships, destructive secrets and uneasy legacies. . . . [Unger] keeps the tension high as she delves deep into each woman’s psyche, showing how the smallest decision can have far-reaching consequences.” South Florida Sun Sentinel
“[An] insidious psychological thriller. Set, quite appropriately, on a claustrophobic island.” Chicago Tribune
“A superb stylist. . . . [Unger] probes the psychological dimensions of her characters with tremendous empathy and acumen. . . . Readers will be haunted for a long time by this profound and heart-pounding thriller.” Florida Weekly

“[Lisa Unger is] a genuinely formidable voice in the world of dark thrillers, taking a back seat to no one.  When [she] hits the ground, she does so at a full out sprint and leaves the reader breathless trying to keep up.” Examiner
“Just in time to chill readers to the bone on some steamy summer night… Unger creates complex, believable family relationships, especially those between mothers and daughters, and uses those familiar scenes to anchor and contrast the creeping dread of her plot.” Tampa Bay Times

“This page-turner is multi-layered and intriguing, as master storyteller Lisa Unger weaves a compelling plotline.” Bookreporter.com

“Unger delivers compelling, fully drawn characters while at the same time putting the thrill in thriller. A first-class page-turner.” Booklist (starred review)
“[A] tense psychological thriller. . . . Unger skillfully builds the fissures of each of [her characters’] lives as she illustrates the power of the heart and the corrosive nature of lies.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Will captivate fans of mystery and psychological suspense. This is one of Unger’s best novels yet.” Library Journal (starred review)
“A triumvirate of strong women pitted against a shared past and dangerous future. . . . Unger knows how to write a taut thriller.” Kirkus

New York Daily News Pick: “Summer’s Top New Thriller Novels.”  

Publishers Weekly Editors Pick: “The Best New Books for Week of June 25th, 2012″

About the Author

Lisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times and internationally bestselling author. Her novels have sold more than 1.7 million copies and have been translated into twenty-six languages. She lives in Florida. Visit LisaUnger.com.

More About the Author

New York Times and international bestselling author LISA UNGER's accolades include selections as an International Thriller Writers "Best Novel" finalist, a Silver Medal winner in the Florida Book Awards, a Prix Polar International Award finalist, and a Target "Emerging Author." Her writing has been hailed as "stellar" (USA Today), "sophisticated" (New York Daily News) and "meaningful" (Washington Post) with "gripping narrative and evocative, muscular prose" (Associated Press). Her novels have been named Indie Next, Walmart Book Club, Today, Good Morning America, Harper's Bazaar, Washington Life, Family Circle, Good Housekeeping, Publishers Weekly Best Book, International Book of the Month, and Amazon Top Ten Thriller picks. More than 1.7 million copies of her books have been sold in twenty-six languages. She lives in Florida.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rachel L. Robinson on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I received my copy of this book on June 26th and finished reading it on June 27th. Have you ever had a book that although you are tired and you are going to sleep you have to turn the light back on and just read five more pages? Well that is how this book is, I read until I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore then I got up and after work I read the rest of it. Such a great book, this reminded me of Blackout, not the plot so much but that signature Unger style that draws you in and won't let you go. I cannot think of a better way to spend the afternoon/evening than reading this book and I highly recommend it to anyone. It's not her typical killer kind of novel, this one has more depth and character development than a lot of books I've read lately and I predict that it will be considered Ungers' best work to date.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Obsidian Blue VINE VOICE on July 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I bought this book I thought the novel would end up being one way but in the end was written entirely different from what I thought.

From the book: "Long after anyone expected Kate to do anything with her life, she did. Using the journals left behind by her aunt and grandmother, she wrote a novel based on a very real generation-old love story that ended in tragedy. On the other side of town, Emily is about to set fire to her life. She's in a dead-end job and is involved with the wrong man; she can feel herself being drawn into darkness, with horrific consequences. With nowhere to go, she finds herself on the run. Without knowing each other, and with lives that couldn't be more different, Kate and Emily head to the same point on the map: Heart Island, an idyllic place in the middle of a lake in the Adirondacks, owned for generations by Birdie Burke's family. The harsh and unyielding Birdie is at one with this island, which has a terrifying history all its own. She, too, has consequences to face."

As readers we don't even get into Kate and her novel until about half-way through the novel. Also the novel deals with more than just Kate, Emily, and Birdie. We also have Kate's daughter Chelsea, her husband Sean, etc. There were a myriad of characters in this novel which maybe why it was so hard to get a handle on the novel as I read it since we got constantly shifting points of views.

I don't know if this was supposed to be a ghost story, romance novel, women's fiction, chick-lit, etc. Also due to the dueling characters I found myself more invested in Emily's story out of all of the women.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Celestialsky29 VINE VOICE on June 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A book written by Lisa has never disappointed me, even if the description doesn't reel me in, which was the case with this book. I thought it sounded a bit lackluster, but I have loved her books in the past, so I ordered it. As usual, from page 1, I was sucked in. Each chapter creates the character's personalities, so that we feel we know them and each page left me wanting to read more and more.

Emily is a misguided, naive girl who really could use some good parenting as she has been delivered a rough hand in life. Every path she continued to take made me cringe, as I wanted to see her straighten her life out. However, she just keeps getting more mixed up and deeper into regrets.

Kate has the perfect family, with the exception of her emotionally withdrawn, harsh mother and her father who just bows out when he needs a break. Birdie, Kate's mother, is a force to be reckoned with who doesn't give anyone a chance, as her way is the only right way.

Heart Island is in the middle of the entire story, as it is the only thing that Birdie loves wholeheartedly, and where all of Kate's childhood memories reside. So, where does Emily fit into all this? That is the question I kept asking myself as the book alternates between Kate's life and Emily's life, as neither of these women know each other. Ah, but we find out just how these two lives intertwine in an explosive ending that left me glued to the book. And, what book wouldn't be complete without Jones Cooper stepping into it for an appearance.

This book was better than I expected, as I thought the description sounded more like a chick-lit than a suspense novel. However, it is very much a mystery, thrilling and full of suspense. Lisa Unger has become one of my favorite authors, and I look forward to reading her again.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Laraine Brokaw on July 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Once in a while an author comes along who writes a few terrific books and you cannot wait for the next one. So it was for me with LIsa Unger.

Unfortunately, I wonder if she has any more "terrific reads" in her. The book was boring, predictable, with characters I cared little about and a weak story line. I forced myself to finish it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Xina143 VINE VOICE on May 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a beach read, a rainy day book, something for fun-you won't get anything new here, but you won't necessarily be bored either.

Birdie Burke rules her family and their island-Heart Island-with an iron fist. A cold, unforgiving woman she also possesses a remarkable strength, that I couldn't help but admire, even though author, Lisa Unger, seems to want the reader to dislike her. Birdie has gumption, as my dad would say. She has a spark. Her daughter Kate, is a happily married mom that just published her first book. Birdie summons Kate to the island for the annual visit, and through a series of events Kate ends up heading up with her daughter Chelsea and Lulu, Chelsea's best friend, leaving husband, Sean and their son to follow the next day. On the other side of town, is Emily. A tired, young woman that has all but given up on her own dreams.

Unger gives away the link between the three women about 200 pages into the book, and as soon as she does you can pretty much read the writing on the wall. You know what's going to happen, and though there are a few twists and turns, the book is pretty predictable.

That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, but I wouldn't necessarily call this a thriller, nor was it shattering in any way. (as the back of the book implies) It was a tangled family drama-a hard matriarch, her strong, but silent daughter, and the young woman that barrels into their lives on the back of a nightmare. Though there is some violence, it takes second place to the drama that unfolds within Birdie and Kate.

You won't get anything new here, but Unger does a find job with the characters. The isolation of Heart Island gives the book a rather ominous undertone, but not enough that I would classify this as a thriller.

If you have some time this summer, pick this up, but I wouldn't move it to the top of my list.
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