Member Loginmenu
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

Robert Hillman

  • awardLonglisted, Australian Book Industry Award, Small Publishers' Book of the Year, 2019

  • Tom Hope doesn’t think he’s much of a farmer, but he’s doing his best. He can’t have been much of a husband to Trudy, either, judging by her sudden departure. It’s only when she returns, pregnant to someone else, that he discovers his surprising talent as a father. So when Trudy finds Jesus and takes little Peter away with her to join the holy rollers, Tom’s heart breaks all over again.

    Enter Hannah Babel, quixotic smalltown bookseller: the second Jew—and the most vivid person—Tom has ever met. He dares to believe they could make each other happy.

    But it is 1968: twenty-four years since Hannah and her own little boy arrived at Auschwitz. Tom Hope is taking on a batttle with heartbreak he can barely even begin to imagine.

    Robert Hillman has written a number of books including his 2004 memoir The Boy in the Green Suit, which won the National Biography Award, and Joyful, published by Text in 2014. He lives in Melbourne.



    Herald Sun ($)


    ABC Radio National, Bookshelf 
    Irish News 
    Radio NZ, Books 
    Readings Bestseller of the Week! June 2018
    Saturday Paper ($) 

    Robert Hillman
    About the Author

    Robert Hillman has written a number of books including his 2004 memoir The Boy in the Green Suit, which won the National Biography Award, and Joyful, published by Text in 2014. He lives in Melbourne.

    Read Moreright
    Text publication date:
    2 July 2019
    AU Price:
    NZ Price:
    Loading Rating
    Praise for Robert Hillman
    andThe Bookshop of the Broken Hearted

    ‘A novel of great spirit and tenderness.’

    ‘Robert Hillman entwines, with risk and skill, different and seemingly incompatible stories…He adds heft to the distinguished fiction of rural Australia.’

    The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is a stunningly beautiful work, a fully imagined world with a rare combination of compelling, vibrant, and tender characters who inhabit the story with courage…The compassion and grace that suffuse this novel are rarely captured in such beautiful language. As Tom and Hannah discover the courage to continue living, we are both torn apart and mended in the same breath. All that can be imagined of the heart comes to life in this extraordinary story.’

    ‘A beautifully woven tale of love and loss that shines a light on one of human’s most remarkable gifts: our capacity for hope. Hillman is a storyteller of such spell-binding skill that readers will desire nothing more than to curl up in a quiet corner and devour this wise, warm, and transporting novel in one sitting.’

    ‘I couldn’t put this book down. An unforgiving Australian landscape backdrops characters so finely drawn you can smell their sweat, searching for many forms of redemption. With skill and grace, Hillman explores the heights and depths to which humans will go while trying to mend their own or another’s broken heart. Poignant humour, sweet spots, and fear all roll into a timely period piece that draws you in. Prepare to lose a day.’

    The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is a beautifully written, nuanced tale of three lost souls who find in one another the comfort and solace they each need. I loved this disarmingly affecting novel, which is full of insight into the human condition and the nature of tragedy and love and redemption. Read it and let it touch your soul as it has touched mine.’

    ‘I can’t remember the last time I read a book this full and rich and rewarding. I can’t remember the last time a book held up so well, from first page to last. Try it yourself. Sit down with it and read the first few pages. Then buy it. This one’s a keeper.’

    ‘I found that the novel beautifully represents Hillman’s inherent understanding of Australia and its people. This is a novel of desolation, and it is ultimately a love story. Frankly for me it doesn’t get better.’

    ‘This is a story with love and laughter, guilt and grief, cruelty and kindness. All this is wrapped in beautiful descriptive prose… A wonderful and moving read.’

    ‘While this tale contains darkness and heartache, they are accompanied by truth and love, and ultimately, hope, and the human capacity to overcome…A sensitive, enthralling story, destined to become a favourite.’

    ‘Hillman’s ability to conjure up the rhythms and texture of rural life is a source of joy…This is a novel about the importance of freedom as well as the redemptive qualities of love – and how facing up to the past can be the key to both freedom and love.’ 

    ‘There is a tender, limpid flow to Hillman’s beautifully-paced prose that makes it a joy to read as it gently privileges seasons, weather, steadfastness and love, and the farm’s expansive outlook across the countryside over inevitable episodes of violence, loss and pain.’

    ‘The writer conveys depth of character, emotion, time and place with skilfully succinct prose.’

    The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is a celebration of the re-creation of families after heartbreak, and in particular the love between father and son. Highly recommended.’

    ‘The writer conveys depth of character, emotion, time and place with skilfully succinct prose.’

    ‘Hillman’s vivid poetic imagery blends with the realistic descriptions of the horrors of war and its futility…Even though there is much heartache and sadness, this story was a pleasure to read with its inspiring philosophy and compelling characters.’

    ‘It is not often that a novel is both a great read and a sobering chronicle about the painful possibilities of human behaviour…Robert Hillman’s The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted is such a one.’

    ‘Hillman provides a skillful portrait of the Australian landscape and those who live in it, including the psychic postie and flirty butcher. It’s a simple story, well told.’

    ‘This book is a masterclass in producing maximum emotional impact without embellishment.’

    ‘A beautifully written and haunting story of love, loss, and redemption. With his vividly drawn cast of characters in rural Australia in the late 1960s, Hillman explores what it truly means to love another person, and what we’re capable of doing to protect the ones we love at all costs. A gorgeous, heartfelt gem of a novel.’

    ‘A beautifully written, tenderhearted story. This is the kind of book that remains present even while you’re doing something mundane – like washing dishes. It lingered in my mind long after I’d finished the last page.’

    ‘In The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted, Robert Hillman reminds us how the reverberations of war can reach people in the unlikeliest of places. With deftly crafted characters, one tender and compassionate, the other spirited and determined, he guides us on a poignant journey of unthinkable loss, love, and the healing capacity of the written word.’

    ‘Hillman’s novel is an impressive, riveting tale of how two disparate and well-drawn people recover from soul-wrenching grief and allow themselves to truly love again.’

    Other editions ofThe Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
    • The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
      ISBN: 9781925626476
      2 April 2018
      Buy ebook
    • The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
      ISBN: 9781925626988
      9 February 2018
      Buy ebook