Great Illustrated Books

The Girl With the Broken Heart

Lurlene McDaniel

Delacorte Press
Pages : 288
Suggested Ages: 12 and up
ISBN: 9781524719487

Having read a number of McDaniels books, The Girl With the Broken Heart tops the rest in sappy cliche moments, but buttons out on quality only a few chapters in. If you are familiar with any of the author's other offerings (she has written over 70 books), the track of this story will be a familiar one for you: A troubled girl at the edge of womanhood, a heartthrob love interest from the other side of the tracks who harbors a scandalous secret, a forbidden romance — all of the keystones of McDaniel's work are here, however, unlike her most successful and thrilling outings, she doesn't offer a different twist or perspective on the work, leaving this novel feeling formulaic, rushed and impersonal. 

With that said, in her trademark style, McDaniel Also keeps this story moving like a bullet train. So even if you, like me, aren't as enthralled by the story, it will not take you long to cover that ground. The plot, for better or worse, chugs along beat-by-beat, keeping the pages turning and the story moving. I would recommend this book to readers who have trouble committing to overly long or unnecessarily wordy books, or if you are looking for a beach read that you can breeze through in a few afternoons without having to hold intense attention to an overly convoluted plot. In its simplicity, I can see this book appealing to a reader who likes a strictly straightforward type of narrative. 

I must add one disclaimer to my review, though: I shared this book with a friend who had grown up around horses and who is an experienced trainer and rider, and she absolutely loved it. Having grown up in and around cities, the charm of the rural love story heavily invested in horse ownership and ranches is lost on me. If your teenage daughter or son is especially interested in equestrian life, this book may just be what the doctor ordered. Otherwise, I would recommend checking out some of McDaniel's more revered works, such as Angels Watching Over Me. 

Grade: C+ 

Reviewed by : Lawrence N. Caldwell

Themes :

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