Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for the wonderful THE BEAUTY OF BROKEN THINGS by VICTORIA CONNELLY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Rachel of Rachel's Random Resources for the copy of the book, putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!
The Beauty of Broken Things
United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?
After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.
Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.
When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.
As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?
Victoria Connelly studied English Literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.
Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.
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I adored this book! It shows the power of gaining strength from others which allows you to heal and move on from tragic events - ones you think you will never get over. And it's also made me want to start a collection of 'broken things'! Finding beauty in things that are imperfect - very difficult in this world we live in where 'perfection' is what is craved. And those imperfections are what keeps Orla hidden away after an appalling tragedy. Even her own mother thinks it's for the best that she is kept out of public view! So Orla just has the company of her dog, and her imperfect collection of china - forever fearful of the outside world. But through her photography she reaches out to many others, one of those being Helen who admires her work and dreams of setting up as a photographer herself. The women build up a friendship through internet messages - until one day the messages stop coming.
Luke is married to Helen and is devastated by her sudden and tragic loss. He feels rudderless without her and finds out so much about her that he didn't know about through her journal. So through photos, he tracks down Orla to pass on a gift that Helen bought for her and that starts an amazing bond between them both that starts the healing process. Isn't it amazing how some are quick to want to help heal others before even beginning to heal themselves? Sometimes the ones doing the saving are the ones that need saving themselves!
As Orla opens up about her past, you totally understand why she is so reluctant to trust others but as she starts seeing the goodness in people she gains more confidence and starts thinking about rebuilding her life once more. And through helping Orla, Luke is made to face up to life after Helen and it was emotional at times watching them both go through the healing process. It's a beautifully written book and the characters are so well crafted that you can't help but not take them to your hearts.
It's a lovely touching novel and inspiring to watch the progress they both make in helping one another through the tougher times of grief and fear.