Jude has learned a lot from her older sisters, but the most important thing is this: The Vargas brothers are notorious heartbreakers. She’s seen the tears and disasters that dating a Vargas boy can cause, and she swore an oath—with candles and a contract and everything—to never have anything to do with one. Now Jude is the only sister still living at home, and she’s spending the summer helping her ailing father restore his vintage motorcycle—which means hiring a mechanic to help out. Is it Jude’s fault he happens to be cute? And surprisingly sweet? And a Vargas? Jude tells herself it’s strictly bike business with Emilio. Her sisters will never find out, and Jude can spot those flirty little Vargas tricks a mile away—no way would she fall for them. But Jude’s defenses are crumbling, and if history is destined to repeat itself, she’s speeding toward some serious heartbreak…unless her sisters were wrong? Jude may have taken an oath, but she’s beginning to think that when it comes to love, some promises might be worth breaking.I love a good, sweet contemporary and The Book of Broken Hearts was in many ways the perfect fit. What I wasn’t expecting was its depth. Along with a cute romance, Ockler delves into difficult family issues with a heartbreaking exploration of a loved one’s slow descent into dementia. My only other experience with Alzheimer’s in fiction is Lisa Genova’s Still Alice. While that focused much more of the disease and its horrific toll, I felt many similarities with The Book of Broken Hearts. Ockler’s portrayal of the disease felt authentic and was incredibly touching to read.
Putting myself in Jude’s position, I felt so much pain and sadness for her family. Family was my favourite element of The Book of Broken Hearts and I would have loved to see even more through extra flashbacks to Jude’s childhood with her sisters. Throughout the book, I felt a little sense of each of her sisters, but would have loved to know them a little more. While I’m not usually a fan of romance, I did enjoy Jude and Emilio’s blossoming relationship and the history which was revealed with his family.
I was disappointed to see some ableist language used repeatedly throughout the book. This is something which has only come to my attention lately, so I realise not everyone considers the impacts of words like ‘spastic’, but to see it used so casually was jarring for me.
The Book of Broken Hearts was a sweet contemporary read with a heartbreaking family loss at its centre. Rather than being swallowed up in grief, this book is all about living and enjoying each moment you have with the ones you love. The perfect weekend read.