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Breakdown: A Love Story Paperback – August 28, 2012
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About the Author
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Katherine Amt Hanna studied costuming and creative writing at Lynchburg College in Virginia, spent thirteen years working for Kodak, and operates a home-based business selling medieval, Roman, biblical, and other historical costumes. She presently lives in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with her husband and two sons. Breakdown is her first novel.
- Publisher : 47North; Reprint edition (August 28, 2012)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 424 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1612184111
- ISBN-13 : 978-1612184111
- Reading age : 16 years and up
- Item Weight : 14.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #4,901,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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This book made me ache for the characters. It made me shiver. It made me tense. It made me route for them. It pulled me along on their journey, and when they wept, so did I.
The review system asked me to pick a word that best described the mood of this book. Hopeful, Dark, Nostalgic, Light-hearted, Suspenseful and Thoughtful. For the first time, I didn't know what to pick, because this book is all of those things, in almost equal measure. The story is about a dark topic, and hits the post-apocalyptic genre, but unlike many of those books it manages to focus on the reality of it while still providing hope. It manages to touch the grief and the horror that would follow such an event, but still be light-hearted. The people that are surviving this disaster are often good, sometimes evil, strong, sufficient and amazing. I literally cannot find the words to describe all of the good things about this story. As others have noted, if you enjoyed One Second After by Forstchen, you will probably enjoy this book too. This is as real, and as poignant, and as horrible and as happy and as lovely a story as they come.
Miss Hanna touched me deeply with this book, and I dearly hope she has more to come soon, because I am desperate for more of her work.
This period of redemption doesn't make this a cheap romance novel. There is the underlying story - a devastated world that is slowly healing, but unlikely to return to the pre-plague levels that it had enjoyed just six years earlier. Pauline, living in her rural compound, had never seen the massive loss of life that occurred in London, America and elsewhere on the planet. Chris, who had lost his wife and daughter, had traveled from America to England and saw a much harder world. Still, the danger wasn't gone - occasional outbreaks of the plague still occurred, always a threat to healing and the return of life-as-it-was before.
This story is about two people, and their characters have been very well developed. Certainly, other characters could have been developed more, but I didn't think that it was really necessary. We learned enough about them to form our opinions, and they contributed enough to the story to bring a depth to it that wouldn't have been there otherwise. What I found very refreshing was how well written this book was - I didn't spot a single typo or misspelling.
I like thrillers, mysteries, action books and post-apocalyptic fiction. This book really didn't fit into any of those categories. Instead, I'd put it under the genre of literary fiction. Even though it certainly wasn't my typical read, I found the story fascinating and engaging - well-deserving of five stars. I would recommend this book to others and would definitely read another book by this author.
1) The book is fairly well edited, which we all know is saying something these days. While I credit digital media with allowing us access to many more books and writers, seeing obvious misspellings and missing punctuation does get a little old. This book does a better than average job.
2) While using a flu pandemic as its central crisis, the book does not go on with endless descriptions of post-apocalyptic shocks, depravity, equipment, scenarios, etc. This is not a "how to survive the apocalypse" book (read "The Jakarta Pandemic" or the 299 days series if that is what you are looking for).
3) This book does focus on its central character and feels more like an exploration of post traumatic stress than apocalyptic fiction, which I found to be a nice change of pace. I can see how some would think this is a bit too "romance novel" for them, since you could replace the pandemic with WWII and get a typical lost-love-in-war novel. However, as other reviews stated, the emotions of the characters are usually missing, superficial, and/or one dimensional in typical SHTF novels, so I found this a nice change.
Overall, an excellent first novel. I would not be surprised to see the author follow-up outside of the TEOTWAWKI genre.
Top reviews from other countries
The characters are understable, likeable and believable. The plot does not depend upon creaky devices or unlikely coincidences (apart, I admit, from one towards the end - read the book and I'm sure you'll spot it).
I suppose my main niggle is that the little family and community groups appear quite utopian: there might be no electricity or running water, and you only eat what you can grow or barter, but hey, everybody is healthy and happy (until the plague revisits, of course) and they recycle wrapping paper and plastic bottles, there's good local beer, and coffee and tea are proper treats.
Not a genre I would usually read, but this is a book I'm delighted to have picked up.
This is an intelligent book which looks at a small part of society, focussing mainly on a couple of family groups who are learning to survive in a different world.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are complex, interesting, and while no one is perfect, their frailties and problems are beautifully described in a style that flows easily. The writing is of good quality without being too wordy. An easy read with hidden depths. Very good indeed for a first novel. And a damn sight better than a lot of the rubbish available already from previously published authors.
A refreshing and enjoyable read.