It’s Sophie Bloom’s forty-second birthday, and she’s ready for a night of celebration with Gabe, her longtime, devoted husband, and her two besties and their spouses. Dinner is served with a side of delicious gossip, including which North Grove residents were caught with their pants down on Ashley Madison after the secret on-line dating site for married and committed couples was hacked. Thirty-two million cheaters worldwide have been exposed…including Sophie’s “perfect” husband. To add insult to injury, she learns Gabe is the top cheater in their town.
Humiliated and directionless, Sophie jumps into the unknown and flees to France to meet up with her teenage daughter who is studying abroad and nursing her own heartbreak. After a brief visit to Paris, Sophie heads out to the artist enclave of Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, for the first time in a long time, Sophie acknowledges her own desires—not her husband’s, not her daughter’s—and rediscovers her essence with painful honesty and humor, reawakening both her sensuality and ambitions as a sculptor.
As she sheds her past and travels the obstacle-filled off beaten path, Sophie Bloom is determined to blossom. Allowing her true self to emerge in the postcard beauty of Provence, Sophie must decide what is broken forever…and what it means to be truly unbreakable.
My Review: 4.5 stars
The Unbreakables, a page turner that every woman can relate to, hits the spot when you’re thirsting for a satisfying summer read. This is Barr’s second novel and proves that she can take on different genres with both skill and success. Her prior book, Fugitive Colors, from 2013, is historical fiction with a focus on revenge, art and friendship during WW2.
With smart writing and keen dialogue, the reader is put smack into the main character, Sophie’s, life. She is struggling with her husband’s infidelity, her daughter’s despair over a break-up and a final gut punch after she learns that her besties have betrayed her. Every woman can relate, whether it’s me, you, a friend, a sister or co-worker – in some way we’ve been touched by some of these issues. That’s what makes this book so easy to read and painstakingly believable.
I consider this book to be a coming of age story for adult women. It’s about finding yourself when you didn’t even know you were lost. It’s the woman we’d all want to be, strong, self-assured, mindful and open, if we were ever in a similar circumstance. Her story is emotional as she balances her old life with her new. We watch her grow physically, embrace her sexuality and resurface her abilities in sculpting.
Art is a predominate theme knitted through the story. Sculpture is the medium Sophie excels at and there is quite a bit of symbolism in her work. The relationship between mother and daughter is also well drawn. Sophie and her daughter have a solid bond, yet with the both of their lives in upheaval, there are many issues that test their strength.
Who can complain about the setting? There is nothing better than getting lost in the South of France while reading. Her visits to Èze and some of the other towns brought back amazing memories to my short visit several years ago. The wine, the bread, the art and the sea were all beautifully brought to life.
This is the book you’ll tell your own BFF to read and she’ll pass the book on to someone else. It’s artsy, engaging and racy; all the components of a great summer read.
Quotes I liked:
Life is messy, love is messier. But pain is the messiest of all.
“I need a life overhaul, a Reinvention Manifesto. A without Gabe covenant. And I need a title. Something bold, that commits me and binds me to this contract. This contract must be Unbreakable. The Unbreakables.”
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