THE UNBREAKABLES snuck into my reading life quite by accident. I was rifling through my stacks of review copies of upcoming books. This one caught my attention. France, new beginnings. art, steamy sex. Great for summer, right!!!
I was just going to read a bit to get a sense of the story. One chapter turned into two, and then the pages began turning themselves. So, what got me hooked on this book? First, I’m actively seeking out lighter books that are suited for summer. Books that are not poorly written. Well-written is the first and most important code. I like the cover. I love that most of the story takes place in France. I love that it’s not World War Two. So many are this year because of the anniversary.
The story begins in the burbs of Chicago. Sophie is a woman about to celebrate her 42nd birthday by going to dinner with her husband and their best friends. The celebration takes a turn for the worse when one of the husbands decides to regale their group with the latest gossip. Ashley Madison is a secret online dating site for married and committed couples who wish to cheat. Well, it’s been hacked and all the names of all the cheaters are up for grabs. But when it comes out that Sophie’s husband Gabe is the biggest cheater of all…. You can only imagine the horror.
Sophie is humiliated and totally wrecked and flies off to Paris to be with her teenage daughter who is experiencing cheating issues of her own. Ava has been in Paris studying art for the summer and has gotten involved with a married man.
Sophie feels as though she’s lost her life. She’s obviously lost her husband the only life she knows. She lost her ability to be an artist years ago when she began suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome while working as a very promising sculptor. She’s lost her two best friends through betrayal. What’s left? She needs to find herself.
So Sophie leaves Paris and drives to the South of France to an artist enclave called Saint-Paul-de-Vence one of the oldest medieval towns. She’s starting from scratch. This is where I begin to smile. Yes, I love that she is doing this. But how lucky is she to have the money to do it. The time, the money. This is pure fantasy for most people. But it makes for good reading. The hotel she stays in is five stars. Sophie’s driving a vintage white Alfa Romeo convertible that she chose from the exotic car rental place in Nice. She’s shedding her worn-out persona and we get the first glimpse of what’s to come.
Barr brings the intricate world of art and the lusciousness of France to the forefront of this lovely novel. It’s beautifully written. I found myself being captured and smuggled into the French countryside more and more with each page. I loved learning about the art of sculpture. In fact, I think I can honestly say I have gained a new interest. Wow.
THE UNBREAKABLES is a very moving novel about a woman rediscovering her joie de vivre, but it’s about so much more than that. I loved it.
Publisher’s Weekly says, ” This exquisitely wrought novel will appeal to readers who believe in the redemption of new beginnings and the necessity of facing the past while making a deliberate effort to move forward.”
Pam Jenoff says, “Readers will delight in this effervescent cocktail of second chances, female strength, mother-daughter bonding and the truths that set us free. Smart, sure and sexy. The UNBREAKABLES is unforgettable.”
Steamy sex scenes and light drug use. Beware. If that will offend you then I am forewarning you right now. For the rest of us, a delightful and moving read that will transport you to another world for the duration of your reading experience and maybe even down the road. Enjoy!
Lisa Barr is the author of one other novel called FUGITIVE COLORS. She’s also quite an accomplished editor and writer and lives in the Chicago area with her husband and three daughters.
My copy of THE UNBREAKABLES came from Harper Collins. We will have copies of this book later this week at Copperfish Books. . Come on in to see us. And more good news. This book is available in a trade paperback edition. Perfect for summer!