Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely
Narrated by Joe Arden and Erin Mallon
We are used to Lauren Blakey’s sexy and smart romantic comedies. Her male point of view is spot-on and those books are what propelled Lauren Blakely to the top of my list of authors I will read everything from. Lately, Lauren has been writing some beautiful books that bring the reader along on a journey. Wanderlust had the reader experiencing Paris with the character, and Unbreak My Heart brought us to Tokyo where I felt like I could smell the fish and see the crowded stalls.
Lauren also brought the emotion in Unbreak My Heart. While there was still some of Lauren’s smart banter, this book was pure heart-wrenching emotion. Not only was it a journey to Tokyo, but for Andrew, it was a journey from broken to healed. Andrew just lost his brother. His grief, guilt, confusion, and anguish over it leapt out to the reader and Joe Arden’s portrayal of those emotions was just incredible.
“Life is short. Make it count. Don’t have any regrets…there is no magic cure…The magic is in how he lived, how he died, and in the way he loved.”
While Unbreak My Heart is a romance, I would say it is really more about Andrew’s journey. When he heads to Tokyo meet his brother’s girlfriend and unravel some of the mysteries surrounding his brother’s last days, he brings along his ex, Holland, who also helped care for his brother in Tokyo during his last days. Andrew’s yearning for Holland and his yearning for the full picture of his brother’s last months crashed together to make a tumult of emotion and mystery that I never expected from Lauren.
Clearly, Holland and Andrew worked well together as a couple, it was just kind of the wrong time for either of them when they broke up. School and work pulled them to different countries, but they head on this journey of discovery in Tokyo together…but only as friends.
“Then I go one way, and she heads another.
We’re together, but we’re not at all.
Perhaps it’ll always be this way. I cross the intersection and join the sea of people fanning out in all directions. I’m with all these people, but I’m still alone.”
Having a sibling that died young makes Andrew appreciate the here and now a little more. Maybe it’s time he stops taking the easy way out.
“At the end of my life, when I’m looking back, will I regret not doing this?”
While this was mostly Andrew’s journey, a big part of that journey was Holland. But he was so broken she had to make sure she wasn’t just a substitute or a crutch for him. While I found their relationship to be a bit secondary to the overall story arc, I loved the way it unfolded and found that the sweet and hopeful part of the second-chance-romance balanced out the darker, more emotional notes of healing from a lost brother and past breakup.
“Come back to me,” I whisper.
I loved the messages about living life and grabbing for happiness while you still can. I loved the way Lauren made you feel as if you were in Tokyo shopping the streets with the couple. I loved how Lauren wove a little light suspense into the story. I loved how there was no unnecessary additional angst. I loved so much about this story.
- Totally different for Lauren.
- Still had great banter.
- No sex for the majority of the book, but when there was, wow.
- Lauren’s writing made Japan come alive to me.
- Arden’s narration could not have been better.
- Lauren broke me and put me back together.
- Andrew’s growth and healing throughout the book.
- It was dual (with some duet) narration, but because it was mostly Andrew’s journey, most chapters were from the male POV. I love the way Lauren doesn’t feel the need to switch back and forth.
- Duet narration in texts
- Awesome having new narrators for Lauren.
- Although there was a romance, it was part of the bigger story.
- The mystery that unfolded throughout the story.
- The cover does not go with the book to me. It says sexy rom-com, not emotional and heart-wrenching.
- There could have been more story background at the beginning, I felt like I was kind of dropped in the middle of a story.
Lauren Blakely is one author where I choose the audio first. As an audio listener herself, I think Lauren writes with the listener in mind. Since this is very much Andrew’s journey from broken to whole again, Joe Arden needs to be commended for one of the best performances I have had the pleasure of listening to. Every bit of pain, confusion, hope, and love came through in his portrayal of Andrew. Erin Mallon was perfect in the role of Holland, and together they brought the reader with them to Tokyo for a beautiful, emotional journey of healing and love.
The Down & Dirty:
PS: While this may be one of my favorite Lauren Blakely books, that doesn’t mean I want her to stop the romcoms though, I can only take so much emotion!
“In his kiss, I taste hope and a future.”
Rating: 5 Stars, 4.25 Heat, 5+++ Narration
Purchase Unbreak My Heart by Lauren Blakely
August 13, 2018