Review first published on my blog: http://memoriesfrombooks.blogspot.com/2012/01/heartbroken.html
Heartbroken is part thriller and mostly a family story, particularly focusing on the relationships between mothers and daughters. There is Birdie - the family matriarch - who is still dealing with the childhood memories of her mother and who is driving her family away with her own actions. There is Kate - the "good" daughter and mother - who attempts to understand her own mother based on the journals of her aunt and her grandmother and then writes a book based on those journals. There is Emily - a daughter seeking to find her place in the world.
The place is Heart Island - what should be a beautiful sanctuary in the Adirondacks. It's been owned by the family for generations. To some, it represents a safe harbor and home. To some, it is a harsh place to be escaped.
The intrigue in the book comes from two places. First is a long ago love affair and the brooding main character of that love. A love that continues to impact people now long after the lovers are gone. Second is the men brought low by drugs and crime who are seeking money and jewels and who will use anyone and any means to get it. It all comes to a dramatic conclusion one night on Heart Island.
The mix of family story and thriller was an interesting one to read. The relationships between mothers and daughters were developed as the book progressed. Details emerged allowing the reader greater understanding of each of the characters. The "bad guys" stayed the bad guys and moved through the book bringing with them drama and a climax.
This is the first book I have read by Lisa Unger. I am not sure what her readers expect. More thriller and suspense or more character and family? Overall, I found it an enjoyable book.
***Honestly reviewed based on an advance uncorrected proof received from the publisher ***
Let's get down to what you want in a book--I don't want pages and pages of descriptions and this one is full of that--the main story is so broken up throughout because Unger has inserted a backstory for each and every character, that in my opinion doesn't matter, just get on with this story! So by half way I was skipping and skimming to find the main story pages so I could move on and even that didn't help me to like this book. As for the family part?--another run of the mill family torn apart by snobbishness, enough said!