Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Book Review: "The Unbreakables" by Lisa Barr

"Life is messy, love is messier. But pain is the messiest of all. And yet in brokenness, there is rebuilding, a rising from a fall."

When a book starts getting a lot of hype, I always get a little apprehensive that I may be the outlier. Will I be the person that's disappointed by the book that everyone says is so excellent?

Where Lisa Barr's new novel, The Unbreakables, is concerned, I needn't have worried. This is a smart, sexy, emotional story about a woman losing and then finding herself again, learning just how strong she can be, and recapturing dreams she thought had passed her by. I really loved this book and found it so compelling from start to finish."

It's Sophie's 42nd birthday and she's looking forward to celebrating with her husband, Gabe, her two best friends, and their husbands. It's the way it always is—the six have been practically inseparable since high school and college, and Sophie and her two best friends have helped each other through so many ups and downs.

During dinner, the conversation turns to gossip, namely the recent release of data from a website catering to married people looking for an affair. The group eagerly tears into the list to see who in their area will be deservedly exposed. It's all fun and games, until it takes a personal turn, when Gabe's name appears on the list, as the top cheater in their town, no less.

Sophie is devastated, and she quickly learns that Gabe's infidelity isn't the only betrayal she faces. When her college-age daughter calls from Paris, where she is studying abroad, and is having her own emotional crisis, Sophie decides to leave the chaos of her life behind her and join Ava in Paris.

After helping get Ava back on track, Sophie decides to venture to Provence, and is determined to recapture the life that has passed her. Her time in France reawakens her self-esteem, her sexual desires, and her dreams of being a sculptor, dreams that she had thought were all but gone.

But as Sophie tries to put the pain of Gabe's infidelity and the betrayals she experienced behind her, her "real life" keeps intruding. Can you really stop caring about the people who were part of your life for so long? Do you really want to? If not, how can you regain control so that you're never left so shattered?

An epigraph at the start of one of the sections of The Unbreakables includes a quote from Frida Kahlo which says, "At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can." This is tremendously fitting for this book, because Sophie learns that she is stronger than she imagined, but that sometimes it takes falling apart to become stronger.

There are definitely familiar elements in this book, and there might not be a lot of surprises, but the beauty of this story is in Sophie's journey, and the people that surround her. It's a pretty sexy book as well, as Sophie starts to get her, well, groove back.

I had heard from a number of people that this book is even better if you go into it knowing very little about the plot so the story can unfold around you, as Sophie's life unfolds around her. I've kept the plot description fairly simple because I agree with that advice. Lisa Barr does an excellent job charting Sophie's journey, and she made this story funny, exciting, sensual, thought-provoking, and poignant.

Definitely read this one!

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