Editorial note: I received a copy of The Unbreakables in exchange for a review.
The Unbreakables by Lisa Barr is by far one of my favorite novels of 2019! It reminded me of why I love women’s fiction.
This is one of those novels that has received so much love on #bookstagram and I definitely see why. It’s full of heartbreak, healing and hope.
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.
We read the story from Sophie’s first person perspective—all her pain, recovery and eventual joy. Sophie is such a realistic character as she’s human, raw and so likable. I rooted for her throughout the story. And she’s definitely put through the ringer in this story; some of the scenes are so heartbreaking and cruel when she finds out the truth about her husband’s multiple (aka a shi* ton) affairs. But while she’s obviously devastated, it does require her to take a closer look at the person she became too.
I think it’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day aspects of life and Sophie really embraced the mothering/nurturing role and not just to her daughter but to everyone in her life. She gave so much to others that she lost some of herself. And she not only finds that person but she also grows and evolve.
Can all books be set in France? There’s just some something so magical about that place. And it becomes the perfect venue for Sophie to experience all kinds of new things from her sensuality to finding her way back to art. While the setting is escapism, the story never becomes a cliche—I truly felt it was all grounded in reality.
In the end, it’s about how the worst thing that can happen to you might turn out to lead to your best life.
I just love the book so much. I really encourage you all to read it!
And for book clubs, check out my discussion questions here.
Read more here.