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The Broken Heart Refuge 1 - Betrayal Kindle Edition
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But let's proceed in an orderly fashion. The narrated events revolve around some sort of association for mutual assistance among women (and men) with the most diverse love problems, founded by Nonna Pina, an Italian old woman living in London, and called "The Broken Heart Refuge". The series has got an episodic development, i.e. within each instalment two "cases" are followed that are solved before its end. At the same time there are some subplots that I suspect will be developed over the next few episodes. In addition, towards the end you see a new character, who anticipates the next episode. The format is undoubtedly perfect. The two stories go on in parallel, with a fairly sustained pace, forcing the reader, thanks to the light and compelling style of Munzittu, to turn one page after another, until they come to the conclusion. The whole thing is peppered with humorous elements, which manage to get more than a laugh, and others that lead to more serious reflection. In the background the present-day London, glimpses of daily life and well-known locations.
The result fully meets the good premises. In this particular episode, titled "Betrayal", you deal with this very common theme in the sentimental sphere from two very different perspectives, even opposite, but always in a measured and convincing way, thanks to the sensitivity of the author who manages once again to entertain us and even get us a bit angry together with her characters.
The brevity, on the one hand penalizes the deepening of the stories and the characters, but at the same time allows the reader not to have to wait too long to see their curiosity fulfilled about how it will end, and leaves them with the desire to read more stories like this.
Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
I loved, Nonna Pina, an old Italian lady living in London who leads a support center for heartbroken people. She had been there herself and wanted to help others deal with their feelings. This is a story that anyone who loves romance or loss of romance and a bit of mystery have to read.
I don't like to give away anything when I do a review so just trust me when I say you will love this story. It keeps you wanting to find out what Nonna will do or say next. I loved her saying: “A cup of tea and a few kind words can work miracles.”
It did make me stop and think about how so many people in the world go through broken hearts, loss and grief of or from loved ones everyday. Whether it is from someone walking out on you or passing away and leaving you feeling alone and lost. This book was wonderful and such a sweet story. A must read!!
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. It is more like a 4 and a half start read but it would not let me leave the half star. I loved it and will be reading more of this authors books.
First Paragraph: '"We need to update out mission statement." Lara was sitting with her legs crossed and scribbling on her notepad.'
In a house in Hampstead lives Nonna Pina. 'A caring, gentle and warm Italian granny' who is always cooking, and who opens her home to those in need of healing. This is the Broken Heart Refuge. A place where people can come to relieve some of the pain in their hearts, and hopefully a place where they can recover.
This year marks the 10th anniversary, and things are still going strong. The focus of this book is on three people- Nonna Pina (who is the main character, but acts like a background character. Reacting rather than doing); Mary (a recent widow who thinks her late husband was hiding a secret); and Lisa (a 20-something who is in love with her best friend's boyfriend).
The writing style of this book reads much like that of a cozy mystery, minus the murder. Almost slice-of-life mixed with home comfort. In fact, comfort food is a big part of this book- with all the baking and cooking that goes on. I don't think I can recall a single scene with Nonna Pina in it where she is NOT cooking something. This story is a big helping of home comfort.
Lisa is the character given the most focus. It's unclear whether this is her first time in 'love', but I questioned whether she really was in love with him, or whether she thought she was because he noticed her. She is the shy, wallflower common in many stories, and she is struggling to gain confidence, figure out her feelings and to not hurt her friend. Perhaps it evolves into love (maybe?), but it certainly seems like a school-girl crush at the beginning. Especially considering she's never really spent much time with the man she's supposedly in love with. Either way it's largely irrelevant. What matters is that she's hurting, and this is what draws her to the Broken Heart Refuge.
Almost every character in this book is a broken heart. Essentially, a community of close-knit people has been built out of the foundation founded by Nonna Pina, and they are more of a family than mere acquaintances. I mention this because it's important to any new characters, and to introducing the Refuge to the reader. Its focus is on comfort and support. On creating an atmosphere where any newcomer can feel welcome and safe, and through the community it achieves that. Considering that the Refuge is the epicentre of the book, and the conglomeration of many characters this is a key necessity, and the writing achieves this well.
Each character's story is based on one theme- betrayal. Sometimes the betrayals are childish and superficial, other times mature and cutting deep. I'm guessing each book will have its own theme, so I'm interested to see the range of stories, individual situations and characters that could come from that. Despite the large array of characters in this story, each individual's arc is coherent and the book blends them all together well.
However, every story can be quite dramatic. The reactions of certain characters can be a little over the top at times, which occasionally renders serious scenes funny for all the wrong reasons. Some of the dialogue is corny, and at times reads like a costume drama. For some that may be a pro, but certain exchanges come across a little (dare I say?) 'fanfictiony', but this is only in specific small segments.
Clearly the author has an interest in London, as we get lovely 'picture postcards' descriptions here and there of certain parts of it. This adds to the slice-of-life feeling, and to the home comfort the book focuses on, with its descriptions of lazy afternoon picnics and watching time pass.
Essentially this is a feel-good story. Happy endings all round, and a brief set-up for the next book. It's a book you don't have to put much effort into. Some of the dialogue may be corny, but the book deals with some pretty depressing situations- albeit in a pretty light manner. You recognise the wounds, but they have long since stopped bleeding. The aim is closure. Healing and moving on. It focuses on the impact complete strangers can have in aiding that, and the desire for personal connections everyone craves.
Perfect for fans of light romance, cozy stories and anyone with a love of pasta.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book from the author. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.
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