Heartbroken by Lisa Unger


16 Critic Reviews

Unger knows how to write a taut thriller, but one improbable character keeps this book from being extraordinary.


New York Daily News Top New Thriller Novel, Publishers Weekly Best New Books, and Suspense Magazine's Best Books of 2012 

A shattering new thriller about three women on a heart-wrenching collision course.

Long after anyone expected Kate to do anything with her life, she did. Using the journals left behind by her aunt and grandmother, she wrote a novel based on a very real generation-old love story that ended in tragedy. On the other side of town, Emily is about to set fire to her life. She's in a dead-end job and is involved with the wrong man; she can feel herself being drawn into darkness, with horrific consequences. With nowhere to go, she finds herself on the run.  Without knowing each other, and with lives that couldn't be more different, Kate and Emily head to the same point on the map: Heart Island, an idyllic place in the middle of a lake in the Adirondacks, owned for generations by Birdie Burke's family. The harsh and unyielding Birdie is at one with this island, which has a terrifying history all its own. She, too, has consequences to face.

Heartbroken is a tense, mesmerizing novel about the limits of dysfunctional families, of an island haunted by dark memories and restless ghosts, and of the all-too-real demons we must battle.  Wonderfully suspenseful, exquisitely crafted, and written with raw, emotional power, this is Lisa Unger at her very best.

About Lisa Unger

See more books from this Author
Lisa Unger is an award-winning New York Times and internationally bestselling author. Her novels have sold more than 1.5 million copies and have been translated into twenty-six different languages. She lives in Florida. Visit LisaUnger.com.
Published June 26, 2012 by Broadway Books. 386 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Heartbroken
All: 16 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 1


Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jun 01 2012

Unger knows how to write a taut thriller, but one improbable character keeps this book from being extraordinary.

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Reviewed by David Roth on May 27 2012

At the risk of backing into a horribly misshapen cliché, hearts have been and will be broken on Heart Island.

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Book Reporter

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on Jun 29 2012

...multi-layered and intriguing, as master storyteller Lisa Unger weaves a compelling plotline from the disparate threads of these women's lives.

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Toronto Star

Reviewed by Jack Batten on Jul 14 2012

In Unger’s seventh novel, three women, all with episodes of betrayal in their pasts, are steered toward a confrontation on an island in a remote Adirondacks’ lake.

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Tampa Bay Times

Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Jul 01 2012

Unger creates complex, believable family relationships, especially those between mothers and daughters, and uses those familiar scenes to anchor and contrast the creeping dread of her plot.

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Lincoln Journal Star

Reviewed by Associated Press on Jul 30 2012

What makes this novel shine is the struggle of multidimensional characters with issues that all of us face but sometimes don't want to acknowledge.

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USA Today

Reviewed by Carol Memmott on Jul 18 2012

This is a dark novel complemented by the island's cold, rocky backdrop.

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Bookin With Sunny.

Reviewed by Ann Ronald on Jul 21 2012

Like an ice­berg, and like Kate’s icy mother, this island has a lot of secret bulk hid­den under­neath the water.

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Booking Mama

Reviewed by Julie on Aug 13 2012

HEARTBROKEN was the best of both worlds -- a great literary and psychological thriller!

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BrodartVibe's Blog

Reviewed by Brittany on May 30 2012

Current fans of Unger should enjoy this read thoroughly, and it’s also a great stand-alone book for anyone looking for a heart-pounding thriller.

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S. Krishna's Books

Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Jun 25 2012

It’s a suspenseful read with multiple twists and turns; fans of thrillers and character driven novels alike should consider picking this book up.

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Nashville Book Worm

Reviewed by Nashville Book Worm on May 15 2012

The journey of Emily and the rest of the characters is a fascinating one because everyone turns out to be harboring a secret or two and nothing is exactly what it appears.

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Dru's Book Musings

Reviewed by Dru on Jul 11 2012

...in this emotional and suspenseful tale those choices leads to a trek both past and present with repercussions that will be long lasting.

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From the TBR Pile

Below average
Reviewed by Kari Boardman on Aug 17 2012

I'm not sure what type of book Heartbroken was supposed to be. I thought it was going to be a thriller based on the synopsis, but I was wrong.

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IPL Staff Reviews

Reviewed by Sue on Aug 20 2012

This novel is one of family relationships, family secrets and a little suspense on the side.

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Phil Jason's Web Site

Reviewed by Phil Jason on Jun 29 2012

...uncanny skill at mood-building, in this case the several moods of Heart Island, the rampant moodiness of teenagers, the alternating moods – internal and external – of sunlight and storm.

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Luana Mitten

Luana Mitten 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list