I have loved everything I’ve ever read by Katie Marsh so when Emma Knight at Hodder sent me a copy of Unbreak Your Heart I was thrilled. I chose Unbreak Your Heart as a ‘hot book’ at a recent online discussion with fellow bloggers Tracy Fenton, Jo Robertson and Anne Cater and have been saving it up to read as a treat. Having recently been away with no phone signal or wi-fi, affording me some extra reading time, finally I have my review to share.
It is far too long since I’ve featured Katie here on Linda’s Book Bag. Last time I was reviewing The Rest of Me in a post you’ll find here. I reviewed My Everything here when I first began blogging (and how the blog has changed since then!). I have a review of A Life Without You here and of This Beautiful Life here which was also one of my books of the year in 2017.
In addition, I was thrilled to host a guest post here by Katie all about the playlists of her life when This Beautiful Life was published and honoured to attend the book’s launch.
Unbreak Your Heart was published by Hodder on 27th May 2021 and is available for purchase through these links.
Unbreak Your Heart
Seven-year-old Jake’s heart is failing and he doesn’t want to leave his dad, Simon, alone. So he makes a decision: to find Simon someone to love before he goes.
Beth is determined to forget the past. But even when she leaves New York to start afresh in a Lake District village, she can’t shake the secrets that haunt her.
Single dad Simon still holds a candle for the woman who left him years ago. Every day is a struggle to earn a living while caring for his beloved son. He has no time for finding someone new.
But Jake is determined his plan will succeed – and what unfolds will change all three of them forever.
My Review of Unbreak Your Heart
Beth needs a new start.
It’s going to be tricky to convey just how much I loved Unbreak Your Heart. I know Katie Marsh is a fantastic author but here she has surpassed herself, creating a wonderful narrative that I not only adored, but feel privileged to have read.
Let me be honest. Generally I do not like children and I’m not remotely interested in them. Consequently, it is indicative of Katie Marsh’s glorious, mesmerising, writing that I could not have cared more about Jake, finding him endearing, moving and captivating. I desperately wanted him to thrive, to have his physical heart unbroken and to be successful in finding his Dad, Simon, a new girlfriend. Jake felt so real to me that I might even have to alter my anti-children attitude!
The relatively small cast of characters creates a real intimacy in this narrative, making Unbreak Your Heart all the more intense and emotional. Beth’s story is gradually uncovered so that the reader gets to know it at the same time as others in the narrative. She needs her emotional heart, and indeed her spirit, unbreaking. This careful unfolding had the effect of making me feel part of the action and I loved the book all the more for it. I wanted Beth to be the woman Jake is so hoping for for Simon, but you’ll need to read Unbreak Your Heart to see if she is. I also loved the development of Simon in the text. What Katie Marsh does so skilfully is to illustrate how initial impressions may not always give us the real person, and their behaviours might be masking underlying pain.
Such a theme of inner reality is just one of the aspects of Unbreak Your Heart that makes it so wonderful. Certainly Katie Marsh writes about love and relationships, friendship and family, but this book is predicated on a life-threatening medical condition that is so well researched that I found it almost unbearably convincing and authentic. Jake’s story broke my heart every bit as much as it did the others in the book. That said, there’s real humour here as well as exquisite pain so that Unbreak Your Heart is perfectly balanced and entertaining, as well as captivating and moving. What is so brilliant is that this could actually be the story of any one of us. Much of the plot is based in fairly ordinary, everyday events, so that any reader can identify with what happens to the characters, making for a truly immersive read.
I adored Unbreak Your Heart. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I had had high hopes of Unbreak Your Heart and Katie Marsh fulfilled and surpassed every single one. This is a book I won’t forget in a hurry. I absolutely loved it.
About Katie Marsh
Katie Marsh had a ten-year NHS career before leaving to write full-time. She lives in the countryside with her family, and is the author of four novels, including the 2018 World Book Night pick My Everything and the e-book bestseller A Life Without You. She loves strong coffee, the promise of a blank page and stealing her husband’s toast.