Paperback: 341 pages
Genre: Contemporary Literary Fiction
Publisher: Halban Publishers 2014
Source: Tywyn Library
First Sentences: After many years, Sylvia Garland returned to England. She had never intended to stay away so long.
Review Quote: "Harris turns out to be a virtuoso when it comes to understanding family. I can't think of anyone better at describing just how irritating everyone can be. She even-handedly lets us see how her characters get on one another's nerves. The result is sympathetic, funny and truthful."
Kate Kellaway in The Observer
Main Characters: Sylvia, Jeremy and Smita Garland
My Opinion: A character driven story that realistically portrays the relationship between Sylvia, her son and daughter in law as everything they do or say to each other is misconstrued! Sylvia even irritated me at times, let alone her family. Recently widowed she has returned to England to live after many years away. Unable to settle and feeling adrift, when her daughter in law becomes pregnant, she becomes totally and dangerously fixated on her grandchild, seeing the child as the new lease of life that she needs. In many ways a very sad story but despite the I felt somewhat abrupt ending it is a happy one.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
How far would a grandmother go to stay close to her grandson?
When Sylvia Garland returns to England, after the death of her husband and half a lifetime lived abroad, the last thing she expects is to find love again. But when her daughter-in-law Smita announces she is pregnant, despite her own poor track record as a mother, she finds herself caught up in the excitement.
Before Sylvia knows it, she is 65 years old and head over heels in love - with her grandson.
Sylvia Garland's Broken Heart is a touching, witty look at family ties across the generations and the plight of grandparents when their children's relationships break down.
'This passionate, yet perfectly-controlled novel...is beneath the surface a smouldering furnace...It is a book with depth and resonance and pace.' Jane Gardam
Video Trailer for 'Sylvia Garland's Broken Heart ' Courtesy of YouTube
Since 1978, Helen Harris has published many short stories in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies.
Magazines include:- London Magazine, Encounter, Punch, Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Journal and Company.
She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, from 2008 till present.
Playing Fields in Winter (Century 1986. ISBN: 0-7126-9408-0) Winner of the Author’s Club First Novel Award, shortlisted for the Betty Trask prize
Angel Cake (Century 1987. ISBN 0-7126-1588-1) Serialized on BBC Radio Four in 1994
The Steppes of Paris (Hodder & Stoughton 1990. ISBN 0-340-51337-3)
The Weather Indoors (Arena 2002) published in Dutch as De Schrijfclub
Sylvia Garland's Broken Heart (Halban Publishers 2014. ISBN 9781905559701)
Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.
Helen Harris - Amazon Page YouTube Video Helen Harris -Twitter