Category Archives: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

Review: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

Title: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Historical (60s & 70s), Fiction
Length: 303 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


In this tender and wise novel about love and forgiveness in 1960s Australia, a lonely farmer finds his life turned upside down by the arrival of a vibrant bookseller.

Can one unlikely bookshop heal two broken souls?

It is 1968 in rural Australia and lonely Tom Hope can’t make heads or tails of Hannah Babel. Newly arrived from Hungary, Hannah is unlike anyone he’s ever met–she’s passionate, brilliant, and fiercely determined to open sleepy Hometown’s first bookshop.

Despite the fact that Tom has only read only one book in his life, when Hannah hires him to install shelving for the shop, the two discover an astonishing spark. Recently abandoned by an unfaithful wife–and still missing her sweet son, Peter–Tom dares to believe that he might make Hannah happy. But Hannah is a haunted woman. Twenty-four years earlier, she had been marched to the gates of Auschwitz.

Perfect for fans of The Little Paris Bookshop and The Light Between OceansThe Bookshop of the Broken Hearted cherishes the power of love, literature, and forgiveness to transform our lives, and–if we dare allow them–to mend our broken hearts.


The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman is a bittersweet novel of healing and love. Interspersed with flashbacks to World II, this riveting story is set in rural Australia during the 1960s and 1970s.

Tom Hope is a sheep farmer and orchard grower whose wife Trudy has just left him after less than two years of marriage. When she returns as abruptly as she left, he welcomes her back despite her pregnancy by another man. Following the birth of her son, Peter, she is a disinterested mother whereas Tom is a delighted father. Deciding to join her mother and sister at a religious cult, Trudy once again leaves Tom  and abandons Peter. Life on a farm with a young boy is difficult, but Tom handily manages to make the situation work. He adores Peter but after a few years, Trudy claims her son leaving Tom heartsick and lonely.  He finds unexpected solace with Hannah Babel, an Auschwitz survivor who is opening a bookstore.  Despite having nothing in common, Tom and Hannah set the town on its ear when they decide to marry. Tom’s patience and compassion are just what his new bride needs as she continues to struggle with the pain of her wartime losses.  Hannah’s bookstore is an unexpected success  but what will she do when Trudy again upends Tom’s life with her decision to grant him custody of Peter?

Tom is a gentle and dependable man who fell into farming. He is well-respected but he does not much care what people think about the decisions he makes. He makes the best of any situation he finds himself in, but Tom has a difficult time coping when Trudy takes Peter away from him. Despite the differences between him and Hannah, Tom would not imagine living without her.

Strong-willed with a forceful personality, Hannah’s past is full of sorrow and heartache. Having endured unimaginable losses and unthinkable hardship, she has forged a new life for herself in Australia. Although most of the time,  Hannah is able to keep her heartbreaking memories at bay, there are times when she is emotionally distant and inaccessible. She is grateful for Tom’s unending patience and while she would do anything for him, Hannah does not plan on having children in her life.  Will her love for Tom allow her to accept Peter into their lives?

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is a marvelous novel that is emotional and uplifting. The characters are beautifully developed with heartrending back stories. The storyline is absolutely compelling and the flashbacks to Hannah’s experiences in World War II are deeply affecting. Tom’s farm is a serene setting that will charm readers. This riveting story by Robert Hillman is captivating, touching and ultimately, quite heartening.

Comments Off on Review: The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman

Filed under Fiction, GP Putnams Sons, Historical, Historical (60s), Historical (70s), Rated B+, Review, Robert Hillman, The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted