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The Beauty of Broken Things by Victoria Connelly

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United by tragedy, can two broken souls make each other whole?

After the tragic loss of his wife, Helen, Luke Hansard is desperate to keep her memory alive. In an effort to stay close to her, he reaches out to an online friend Helen often mentioned: a reclusive photographer with a curious interest in beautiful but broken objects. But first he must find her—and she doesn’t want to be found.

Orla Kendrick lives alone in the ruins of a remote Suffolk castle, hiding from the haunting past that has left her physically and emotionally scarred. In her fortress, she can keep a safe distance from prying eyes, surrounded by her broken treasures and insulated from the world outside.

When Luke tracks Orla down, he is determined to help her in the way Helen wanted to: by encouraging her out of her isolation and back into the world. But Orla has never seen her refuge as a prison and, when painful secrets and dangerous threats begin to resurface, Luke’s good deed is turned on its head.

As they work through their grief for Helen in very different ways, will these two broken souls be able to heal?


What an incredibly touching and inspiring novel. When two strangers are brought together by a tragic death, their lives start to heal.

Luke has recently lost his wife, Helen, to a tragic train accident and his life is broken. As he tries to make sense of it, he discovers his wife’s true devotion to her craft of photography and the close friend she has made on a website called Galleria which showcases their photos.  After discovering a gift Helen was planning to send to her friend only known as BB (Beautifully Broken), Luke realizes that BB doesn’t want to be found and she certainly doesn’t want anything to do with him. Will he be able to grant his dead wife’s wish and help this lonely woman who meant so much to her?

Orla is a recluse and afraid to let anyone in her life again after the disturbing incident a few years ago. She has lived in Lorford Castle for two years and no one has seen her or talked with her. But one day a stranger comes to her door to bring a message and a gift. Her wonderful and kind friend, Trees and Friends, or Helen, her husband calls her, is dead. The kindred spirit who understood her passion for photography is gone. Should she let Luke into her life, or will it be too dangerous?

I love the way the characters slowly develop to bring a thoughtful look at life after tragedy. My heart broke for both Luke and Orla. Luke’s amazing gesture to bring Helen’s gift to Orla in person is so heartwarming and his determination to encourage her to see the world again is truly remarkable considering what he was going through himself.  Orla’s ordeal is awful and her anxiety and fear are understandable for all she has gone through. But when she finally takes steps to make her life better, she truly shines.  In addition, the supporting characters such as Bill and Margy, Orla’s gardener, and his wife, are extraordinary and so kind to help Luke acclimate Orla to her lovely neighbors and become part of the lovely community. And let’s not forget Orla’s lovable dog, One Ear.

Overall, this is a beautifully written story about loss and renewal and finding inner peace after devastating events in life.  If you enjoy heartwarming stories about hope with a little mystery, give this book a try.

Thank you to Ms. Connelly for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


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Victoria Connelly Author PhotoVictoria Connelly studied English Literature at Worcester University, got married in a medieval castle in the Yorkshire Dales and now lives in rural Suffolk with her artist husband, a young springer spaniel and a flock of ex-battery hens. She is the million-selling author of two bestselling series, Austen Addicts and The Book Lovers, as well as many other novels and novellas. Her first published novel, Flights of Angels, was made into a film in 2008 by Ziegler Films in Germany. The Runaway Actress was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Comedy Novel award.

Victoria loves books, films, walking, historic buildings and animals. If she isn’t at her keyboard writing, she can usually be found in her garden either with a trowel in her hand or a hen on her lap.

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