Friday, January 30, 2015
REVIEW: House Broken by Sonja Yoerg
Author: Sonja Yoerg
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: January, 2015
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Description: In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…
For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.
Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.
Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.
My Thoughts: With House Broken, new to me author Sonja Yoerg writes a heartfelt story about a woman’s journey to connect with her mother, siblings, children and husband. Geneva Novak is a typical woman trying to find balance between career and family. Her world is thrown a major curveball when her mother, Helen, is injured in a car accident while driving intoxicated. Geneva’s relationship with Helen has never been ideal and she is reluctant to invite her to move in to recover, but Geneva is Helen’s only option. Geneva doesn’t count on the impact Helen’s presence will have on the rest of the household and before long, Geneva finds herself facing long buried secrets about her family that she never expected and new problems involving her own children.
I admired Geneva and her courage to persevere with so many obstacles in her path. Her determination to uncover the truth behind the reasons behind her mother’s drinking, her oldest sister, Paris’s 30 year estrangement with their mother made me feel a lot of empathy for her. Geneva starts looking at the parallels between the relationship she has with her mother and the one she has with her sixteen year old daughter, Ella, and realizes she doesn’t want the same patterns to repeat themselves.
The plot switches smoothly between the past and the present and gives the viewpoints of Geneva, Helen and Ella. As more is revealed about Geneva’s parents and the secrets that have been long buried, Geneva’s belief system is shaken. I had a hard time warming up to Helen but the more I learned about her, I felt sorry for her but didn’t agree with the choices she made. I really liked Geneva and her brother, Dublin. Geneva’s sisters, Paris and Florence, don’t make much of an appearance in the story’s present timeline and the glimpses I did get of them, I didn’t care for them. I liked Geneva’s husband, Tom and their children, Ella and Charlie and thought they were flawed just enough to make them interesting.
When I first saw the cover of this book, I initially thought this would be a woman’s hilarious journey to potty train her puppy. This book covers a lot of painful and sensitive topics that took me by surprise. Kudos to the author for writing a book that addresses these topics with grace and class that drew a lot of emotions out of me.
My Final Verdict: If you are a reader that chooses their books based on the cover, then you will be in for a big shock as the adorable dog on the cover is only a minor character in the story. I recommend this story for the strong familial relationships and one woman’s determination to shine the light of truth on the dark corners of her family’s past.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of House Broken from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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