#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release

New Release Book Review: How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns

Title: How to Mend a Broken Heart

Author: Rachael Johns

Published: May 5th 2021

Publisher: HQ Fiction – AU

Pages: 448

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

Summer in New Orleans means hot days, long nights, spooky stories and surprising new beginnings.

Felicity Bell has struggled to move on after her marriage broke down. Her ex has found love again, her children have their own lives, and it’s beginning to feel like her only comfort comes from her dog and her job as a taxidermist. So when Flick gets an offer to work in New Orleans for a few months, she’s drawn to the chance to make a fresh start.

Zoe is ready to start a family with her husband, but when he betrays her, she’s left shattered and desperate for a change of scenery. Joining her mother on the other side of the world to drown her sorrows seems the perfect solution.

Although both mother and daughter are wary of risking their hearts to love again, Theo, a jazz bar owner, and Jack, a local ghost hunter, offer fun, friendship and distraction. But all is not as it seems in New Orleans…

A chance meeting with Aurelia, a reclusive artist who surprises them with lessons from her life, prompts Flick and Zoe to reassess what they want too. Can all three women learn from the past in order to embrace their future?

An uplifting novel about three women joyously learning to move on after heartbreak by the bestselling author of The Patterson Girls and Flying The Nest.


‘Flick couldn’t remember the last time she’s done anything without carefully thinking it through, but suddenly living across the other side of the world, far away from everyone who knew her and her past – far away from Sofia and Mike – felt exactly what the doctor ordered.’

Life affirming, warm, relatable and witty, How to Mend a Broken Heart is the latest contemporary fiction title from much loved Australian author Rachael Johns. A story of heartache, healing, starting afresh and creating new dreams fills the pages of this generous tale from an intuitive storyteller.

Travelling from Perth to New Orleans, How to Mend a Broken Heart is a story that chases the life of a woman deeply hurt by the demise of her marriage. When Felicity Bell realises that her ex has moved on and fallen in love again it is a big wake-up call. This taxidermist by trade decides to make a new life for herself aboard following a job offer that takes Felicity to the bustling city of New Orleans. Meanwhile, Flick’s daughter Zoe is all grown up and is ready to start her own family. However, when Zoe starts to get the ball rolling in the baby making department her husband drops a big bombshell. Desperate to escape her bitter home life, Zoe ends up in New Orleans with her mother. Will Zoe move on from her husband and fall in love again in a new city? With the shadowy influence of a new companion, this mother and daughter will learn a thing or two about living for the moment in this revitalising tale.

If one author can help reassure us when we need it the most and send joy our way in the form of the written word it is Rachael Johns. How to Mend a Broken Heart is the latest composition from the popular Australian novelist. In these uncertain times the comfort of books that allow us to escape to a world far away from our own are just the tonic we need. How to Mend a Broken Heart is a story that allows the reader to both indulge in a spot of destination style fiction, but it is also a story that enables us to fully connect to the common issues faced by the characters in this uplifting tale.

Back in 2016 I really enjoyed The Art of Keeping Secrets, one of Rachael Johns’ earlier efforts in the contemporary life lit genre. Since this novel released Rachael Johns has gone from strength-to-strength in the contemporary fiction genre, producing a round of books that hold great appeal to many awaiting readers. How to Mend a Broken Heart is an offshoot from The Art of Keeping Secrets, as it features one of the characters that didn’t quite get a conclusive happy ever after. Now Rachael Johns revisits the character of Felicity Bell and gives her the chance to move own from her heartbreak. Although I read The Art of Keeping Secrets back when it released, I do not feel that it is necessary to have read this book in order to appreciate How to Mend a Broken Heart. I did appreciate the chance to reconnect with Flick again and I do agree with Johns that this character’s final story didn’t seem quite complete. The fact that Flick continued to linger around Rachael Johns long after finishing a book is interesting to note. I’m glad that Johns felt compelled to reinvestigate this likeable protagonist. Flick is a great woman and I found her journey towards a sense of peace, happiness and acceptance a fulfilling experience. I was also intrigued by Flick’s profession as a taxidermist, what a fascinating career for a protagonist. I bet Rachael Johns found the research process for this form of employment very enlightening!

Johns fills How to Mend a Broken Heart with a number of fascinating and colourful figures. From loveable Flick, to her confused daughter Zoe, to musical Theo, lively Jack and the reserved Aurelia, this is a widespread cast. Each character adds a glow and intensity to the story at large. There never seemed to be a dull moment in How to Mend a Broken Heart. The story moves along at a swift pace, with some unexpected events and surprises in store for the characters. Matters of the heart are what drives this novel in a forward and sometimes backwards motion, but in the end the cast gets there!

The author’s love affair with New Orleans encouraged the creation of this book and it is obvious that Rachael Johns has a passion for this vibrant US locale. I have always been slightly intrigued by New Orleans and How to Mend a Broken Heart definitely furthered my desire to visit this very unique destination one day in the future. Unfortunately, current travel safety restrictions will prevent a visit to New Orleans so the wonderful page-based trip fiction tale presented in this exciting novel was just what the doctor ordered. I got a great overall feel for this vivacious city – the sights, sounds, smells and idiosyncrasies of this special place. The vibrant backdrop of New Orleans works to support the characters in this story and most importantly, it helps them to realise their hopes, wishes and dreams for the future. It was a pleasure to follow this page-based pilgrimage, thank you Rachael Johns!

How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns was published on 5th May 2021 by HQ Fiction – AU. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of How to Mend a Broken Heart, Rachael Johns, visit here.

How to Mend a Broken Heart is book #39 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

6 thoughts on “New Release Book Review: How to Mend a Broken Heart by Rachael Johns

    1. Many thanks Helen, I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed this one. I’m glad like you that Rachael gave this character a happy ever after. It was great to take a page based trip to New Orleans too!


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