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3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  4,220 Ratings  ·  541 Reviews
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 ge
Hardcover, 370 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Crown (first published 2012)
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May 15, 2012 Michael rated it really liked it
After being intrigued by Darkness, My Old Friend and captivated by Fragile when the opportunity to get an advanced reader copy of Lisa Unger's new novel Hearbroken arose, I immediately said yes. Unger is slowly making her way to the top of "must read" list of current mystery writers along with Laura Lippman, Michael Connelly and Elizabeth George.

Heartbroken is less a mystery and more a thriller from Unger. It's the story of several generations of women and their connection to Heart Island. There
I found this one to be a tedious read, yet I couldn't stop reading it. I hated Birdie from the start. I thought she was a bitter shrew, who brought all the unhappiness she felt to her life herself. I found it funny that she didn't realize it, but blamed everyone else.

With Birdie being her mother, I was surprised by how normal Kate was. I loved the woman that she was, that her kids and husband were important to her. It seemed like she did the exact opposite of what her mother did.

I am torn with E
Aug 03, 2012 Roxanne rated it liked it
Would really like to rate 3.5 stars.

This book had a "Nancy Drew" feel to it and that was exciting for me. I can remember the mystery series and how as a young girl I got that suspense "high" out of it.

Heartbroken to me was part mystery, part suspense, and part family drama. It focuses on mother and daughter relationships and the consequences of our actions that stick with us forever.

I would have preferred that the author did not go with the ghostly portion; that part was unnecessary.

I did not w
Wendy Joyce
Aug 22, 2013 Wendy Joyce rated it liked it
It's DRAMA. I bought the book based upon quotes appearing on the book's backside. Not reader quotes, but "expert" quotes you should be able to trust. "Read it alone on an island on a dark and stormy night." Doesn't USA Today's quote suggest Horror? In the very least, it implies Scary. If you're still unconvinced, how about this, "[Will] chill readers to the bone," a quote by Tampa Bay Times. Again, scary, right? Well, it's not, nor do I think Ms. Unger intended it to be. "A high-wire ...more
Dale Harcombe
Nov 29, 2014 Dale Harcombe rated it liked it
Three and a half stars.
This is another book that features a dysfunctional mother and daughter relationship, which seems to be a common theme in fiction. Birdie is a most unlikeable character and her husband, Joe, just opts out of anything he finds too difficult. Their daughter, Kate, is a likeable character who, unlike her brother Theo, spends a lot of her life trying to please her mother, at times at the expense of her own husband and children it seems. I liked the positive mother /child relati
Jan 02, 2013 Rick rated it it was amazing
Having read most of this author's work, I think it's safe to say that, in my opinion, this is her best to date. Like her other novels, this one has a healthy dose of hold-your-breath suspense, believable and sympathetic characters, and exquisite plotting that rockets along seamlessly. But unlike Unger's prior work, this one includes layers of depth that separate it from hers and other more run-of-the-mill thrillers. This is a book about family and how those familial connections shape us...for ...more
Jul 09, 2012 Robyn rated it it was ok
I love this author, but I was not impressed with this book. I did not like the plot and I really hated the character of Emily. I felt she made too many excuses for her bad choices. I thought there would be more in the plot about the island ghosts, but there wasn't.

Normally Lisa Unger writes fast paced thrillers, but this book was not fast paced, nor a thriller. It had a little mystery, but mostly it was a family drama. It just did not grab me the way her books normally do.
May 21, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it
I loved this book Lisa Unger's Characters were strong & dealt with every day situations the ending in particular was suspenseful & well written
Dana ****Reads Alot****
This is my first Lisa Unger book and it won't be my last. I love how she makes all her characters so real and with so much detail to the emotions being played out.
Aug 25, 2012 Anna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: soft thriller fans
I received an ARC of this book via Read It Forward (I think? Or Goodreads? One or the other), and it was an enjoyable read. It didn't seem first what I'd call a thriller, but the pace got up once the people started to head to Heart Island, and from then on it became interesting - what was going to happen to these people and how do they bind together? I'm not going to spoil it, but that's where the action will be. You can't bring in the characters from this book to a small island and NOT have ...more
3.5+ stars. This is billed as a thriller but it’s not exactly that, and I don’t necessarily mean that in a good or bad way. There is a lot of character development here, even as we jump between various viewpoints. Lisa Unger is a bit hit or miss for me (loved Fragile, did not like Darkness My Old Friend) and this was definite hit. It grabbed me right away. As with all her books, there is a multi-viewpoint situation going on and in this we follow several very different women whose worlds ...more
Debbie van der Zande
Jun 02, 2013 Debbie van der Zande rated it really liked it
Lisa Unger is een behoorlijk actieve schrijfster van thrillers. Je hoeft als fan geen jaar zonder een nieuwe Unger-titel te zitten. Het in 2012 verschenen Heartbroken is op 28 mei in Nederland verschenen als Verdronken hart. Op het boek prijkt een stempel met de aanduiding 'Koningin van de psychologische thriller' en dat slaat de spijker op zijn kop. Het verhaal in Verdronken hart wordt vanuit diverse perspectieven verteld. Het begint een beetje traag en net als je je geduld een beetje verliest ...more
Aug 02, 2012 Kari rated it did not like it
Shelves: audiobook, 2012
I can't say that I really cared that much for Heartbroken. I'm not sure why I even finished listening to the book. It probably should have been a DNF book for me. I think I was hoping that it would get better or that something would happen. The lackluster ending was very disappointing. I was left with the feeling of...That's it? 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. At first, it seemed to be ...more
Heather Boustead
Oct 02, 2012 Heather Boustead rated it really liked it
By Lisa Unger

Emily is stuck in a dead end job with a fiancé who will do anything for a fix. Kate has two beautiful children and has finally found a husband who is perfect for her and is about to release her first novel using her grandmothers and aunts journals for inspiration. Birdie is a cold woman set in her ways the only thing that ever makes her happy is being on her island on a lake in the Adirondacks that her family has owned for generations. These three women mingle in an inter
Jul 24, 2012 Patty rated it really liked it
Lisa Unger

My " in a nutshell" summary...

An island, three women and their secrets...and some really bad choices by almost everyone involved.

My thoughts after reading this book...

Oh me oh my...what a fast paced thrilling novel with so much of everything I love in a book.
There are nice girls...Chelsea and her mom Kate. Mean girls...Lulu...Chelsea's BFF and Birdie...Chelsea's grandmother. There is a lost girl...Emily...oh...and another semi mean girl
Emily's mother.
There is no describin
May 07, 2012 Sharon rated it liked it
Positioned as a thriller, "Heartbroken" is more of a family saga. Birdie Burke is the owner/doyenne of Heart Island, and expects her children to visit her there every summer. Her daughter, Kate, reluctantly agrees one particular year -- she has just written a book based on her grandmother's journals and would rather be promoting it. Her daughter, Chelsea, on the other hand, is delighted to spend the summer with grandma -- and even gets to bring her best friend along.

Meanwhile, on the other side
May 07, 2016 DeB MaRtEnS rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-mystery
Ghosts of the past - real ones!, a frigid wealthy disapproving mother, unspoken histories, doomed love stories of long ago and an affair not so long ago juxtapose against the intrusion of teenagers with cellphones and precarious texts to unsavoury hot guys, making plans to get themselves into tight spots and the lives of other young people, one of whom thinks she is related to the original family. Emily, beaten down by her hateful mother, makes terrible decisions as a result with the only ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a dysfunctional family. Reading this book was like looking at an auto accident. Lisa Unger has her characters ask themselves a lot of questions, and they all make bad choices and mistakes. Because most of the book is about events that occur over just a few days, and the last few chapters spanned over a year, the ending felt rushed. I did enjoy reading this, but it's not a book I would recommend to a friend.
Dec 12, 2013 Shauna rated it did not like it
Ugh. Maybe there was a decent plot (professional reviewers certainly seemed to think so) but I couldn't get past the awful, awfully simplistic writing. At least for this book, Lisa Unger seems very much the "tell, don't show" sort. Kate's constant comparison between her current husband and her ex were what finally drove me to giving up. Everyone's voice also seemed remarkably similar (though I rather liked Kate's daughter, whose name I can't recall at the moment).
Darcia Helle
While Heartbroken is being marketed as suspense, I found it more of a family drama. The first three-quarters of the book moves slow. We explore the lives of families that are tangled in a variety of ways. The relationships are interesting, though I got a little bored with the repeated descriptions and the slow pace. The last quarter of the book picks up speed and suspense, and, for me, was the best part.
Feb 07, 2013 Lois rated it did not like it
I just made my own shelf - too bad to finish. This is book one on my new shelf. Really unlikable characters, combined with no plot, sent this one back to the library unfinished.
Lewis Weinstein
Apr 21, 2014 Lewis Weinstein rated it did not like it
I just couldn't get into this book. Long character introductions with no sense of a plot or how they might later interact. I put it aside after ~ 50 pages.
Ellen Hopkins
Sep 29, 2012 Ellen Hopkins rated it liked it
Liked the family relationships. Not enough surprise for me in a book of this kind.
Oct 11, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I read through Lisa Unger's backlist, I like her more and more. This was not really a mystery but more like a family story with secrets. This is not a Hollows book but does take place in NY state and Jones does make an appearance. If you are looking for an atmospheric thriller, this could be for you.
Karen & Gerard
HEARTBROKEN by Lisa Unger is what I call a woman's book, but this 59-yr-old man enjoyed it very much! There are lots of good plot lines that kept me interested to the max! When all the characters are in one place, the action explodes! This is a page turner for sure that I think would make a real good "Lifetime" movie. Make time to read this one; you will be glad you did!
(Gerard's review)

Heartbroken by Lisa Unger was a disturbing read for me because Emily continues making bad decisions over and o
Jun 04, 2013 Linda rated it it was amazing
Lisa Unger explores the family rifts that can grow and fester as a result of truths never spoken. Kate Burke's annual vacation on remote Heart Island, her family's private Adirondack hideaway, becomes more burdensome than pleasurable. Her seventy five year old mother, Birdie, hasn't softened with age, and Kate's always agonized over why Birdie is so emotionally remote and critical. Kate knows she's become a disappointment to Birdie, settling for a life as a stay at home mom. But this year, her ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Beth rated it did not like it
If HEARTBROKEN had been the first Lisa Unger book I had read, it would be my last. That is because this book is "women's fiction," an insulting name, I think, but I didn't make it up. It implies that this is the type of book women like because it is soap operaish. More than the first half of this book plus the last few chapters are made up of the stories of various women, all silly and/or boring.

The portion of HEARTBROKEN that is good doesn't make this a good book. Yet reviews had me believing t
May 27, 2013 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
Lisa Unger wordt de koningin van de psychologische thriller genoemd. Deze titel komt haar wel toe, maar ze gaat hem wel delen. Lisa Unger kruipt met verdronken hart onder je huid en ze laat je niet meer los. Na een stroef begin met veel, heel veel personages kom je in een verhaal terecht wat loopt naar een geweldig plot.
De familie Burke heeft een privé eiland, Heart Island, hierop wonen ze de hele zomer. Het eiland is al verschillende generaties in het bezit van de familie Burke. Birdie Burke,
Apr 12, 2014 Chris rated it it was ok

I found this one to be a tedious read, yet I couldn't stop reading it. I hated Birdie from the start. I thought she was a bitter shrew, who brought all the unhappiness she felt to her life herself. I found it funny that she didn't realize it, but blamed everyone else.

With Birdie being her mother, I was surprised b
Jun 17, 2015 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I didn't hate this book...but I didn't love it either. It seems to jump around too much. We have an older lady named Birdie who lives on an island called Heart Island. Her husband lives in the city. She has two children, Kate and Theo. They visit the island every year. But this year things are different. Theo refuses to go, Birdie's husband plans to stay in the city, Kate's husband will be coming later and we meet Emily who will eventually make her way to the island. We also see glimpses of ...more
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Read It Forward: * HEARTBROKEN by Lisa Unger 18 88 Mar 22, 2013 09:38AM  
Read by Theme: Heartbroken 2 19 Aug 18, 2012 01:47PM  
Bookworm Bitches : Discussion: Heartbroken by Lisa Unger 7 34 Aug 13, 2012 08:01AM  
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Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling, award-winning author of fourteen novels, including her latest thriller INK AND BONE.

Her books are published in twenty-six languages worldwide, have sold millions of copies and have been named “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly,, Independent Booksellers, Milwaukee
More about Lisa Unger...

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“Bored people looked for drama and caused trouble.” 13 likes
“Parenthood wasn’t about blood or biology, he found; it was about a joyful willingness to give yourself over, to subordinate your own needs for someone else’s. When you loved your kids, you’d give up everything to keep them safe and make them happy, and you didn’t care about the other things, the ones that went away.” 8 likes
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