Monday, February 13, 2012

Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart (A little)

Top Ten Tuesday is having an Anti-Valentine's today with Top Ten Books that Broke My Heart a little. Every day is Valentine's Day for me as a reader. I read Romance as a broad, encompassing genre from literary romances to guilty pleasure erotica because I like happy endings. I'm having a hard time right now with Downton Abby which is still my favorite show, but it no longer appears like ANY happy endings are guaranteed. I do not mind suffering. I do not mind crying. Nay, I LOVE books that make me cry. I just need a happy ending, even an unorthodox one. So most of the books on my list have a happy ending of some sort, they just broke my heart along the way. In particular this week I was drawn to books where someone loses--there is a loss that must be suffered in order for the happy ending to have a chance. And that loss isn't magically erased with romance fairy dust--it's real and its palpable and it lingers with the reader.

  1. Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore--Possibly one of the best love triangles in all of Regency, this unusual historical features TWO heroes worth rooting for all the way through the book. My heart broke not only for the not-chosen hero, but for the heroine forced to make an untenable choice. Her heart is broken by her choice, even though it's the right one. (My original gushing over this on GoodReads)
  2. When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn--Quinn is at her very best when she breaks our hearts. This is my all-time favorite Quinn because heroine falls in love twice, once which ends in such tragedy that my pages tear stained. And Quinn never negates that love or belittles it. Franchesca's love was real. It was returned and had her first love lived, she would have lived a long happy life with him. My heart breaks for the life they could have had. (My GoodReads Review here)
  3. Book of Scandal by Julia London. I had a hard time opening this book knowing that it was a marriage-on-the-rocks tale, but it charmed its way onto my keeper shelf amid buckets of tears. My heart broke for this couple whose heartbreak is, indeed, the centerpiece of the book. 
  4. The Paper Marriage by Susan Kay Law--I know I've mentioned this book on this site before, but I couldn't skip putting on here. Any book where heroine is married to a man who's been in a coma for years is bound to break our hearts a little. Add in a hero learning how to be a father to a teenage daughter who doesn't know how to cope with heroine's unique situation, and you have a book that will never, ever leave my keeper shelf. 
  5. Out of the Deep I Cry by Julia Spencer-Fleming--Every single book in the Clare Fergusson series breaks my heart in different ways. Her most recent, One was a Solider, about killed me. So. So. So. Good. Even through tears. This earlier book in the series, however, broke my heart in a way that lingered through several later books as we catch just a glimpse of what could be, what should be, and what can never be in a single scene where she truly manages to convince us someone is going to die. I just re-read the scene for this blog, and even knowing where the series ends up, it still chokes me up. 
  6. The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen-Turner. This is another series I rave about all the time, but Book Two stands out as the real heart breaker of the series. A young man, a terrible loss that will haunt him the rest of his life, two countries at war, and a young, seemingly heartless Queen who makes a terrible mistake. This is five hankie heartbreak, but don't even think of starting the series here. Start with The Thief.
  7. Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty. This ode to dysfunctional relationships everywhere is by far the most heartbreaking of the Jessica Darling series. It kept me guessing the entire book, and the ending shocked me. Start with Sloppy Firsts and make sure you have the series-ender Perfect Fifths on standby when you start Fourth Comings. 
  8. Life After Joe by Harper Fox. Two men, both hell-bent on destruction in different ways, both overcoming different types of heart break make this an emotional, angst-filled ride. Both heroes must suffer pretty awful losses to even have a chance of happiness. 
  9. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian. Not a Romance, and I knew that when I opened it. But sometimes, even I know when to set aside my need for a happy ending. This book removed part of the lining of my stomach, but years after I last read it, the characters remain as vivid as ever. 
  10. Table for Five by Susan Wiggs. If you need a happy ending with a lot of tears along the way, Susan Wiggs delivers every time. Here, tragedy throws heroine and hero together. The heart of the book is how they and the secondary characters cope with and overcome that tragedy 

So of course, you know I want to know what books break your heart? 


  1. I've never read any of them Annabeth, but I love books that break my heart then work out ok. I'll be sure to put them on my 'to buy' list :o)

  2. Thanks for stopping our Top Ten today :-)

    I haven't read any of these except When He Was Wicked (which was on my list as well). However, i have now added a couple more to my "to read" list - Book of Scandal and The Paper Marriage.


  3. I adored both the Jennifer Haymore book that you cite and I had such mixed feelings about Julia Quinn's When he was Wicked. It was actually a lovely, powerful book. I think I wasn't in the mood for that at the time I read it...I was expecting light fluffy regency. But it still stands out in my memory which is now I know that it's a powerful book.