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Broken Man on a Halifax Pier

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  48 ratings  ·  30 reviews
A tale of one man’s shipwrecked life and an unlikely crew of rescuers.

Fifty-five-year-old Charles Howard has lost his long-time journalism job and has been swindled out of his life savings. Standing by the edge of Halifax Harbour on a foggy morning, contemplating his dismal future, his ritual of self-pity is interrupted with the appearance of the mysterious and beguiling
ebook, 328 pages
Published October 12th 2019 by Dundurn
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
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This is a real gem of a book and not at all what I was expecting. It's a humorous, heart warming and very engaging tale of a man who has lost everything and is literally down to his last pennies when he meets an enigmatic woman on a Halifax Pier in the early morning fog.

Charles Howard had been a successful journalist until his newspaper folded and he was defrauded of his savings by the son of a friend. Now in his 50s with a half finished novel and an apartment he can no longer afford he's facing
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Strangers in the early morning fog, cross paths on a Halifax pier. Charles Howard, fifty-five, a journalist for a newspaper, lost his job when the publication folded. His idealism and attempt to be a do-gooder caused him to lose his life savings. "I was deep in a ...dark, endless, self-pitying reverie...then she walked up to me." Ramona Danforth, a "two-bit" actor, " real good at holding a cup of coffee or a beer in the air while delivering [her] lines." Ramona took penniless Charles out ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Many thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn Press for this wonderful ARC which kept me enthralled throughout. Novels of romance, strained relationships and family dysfunction seldom interest me. This was a pleasant surprise! I neglected everything else and was riveted to the book which I read in a single day. The
places were vividly described. It is set in Halifax and a remote fishing village on the east coast of Nova Scotia. I am from Nova Scotia, but think the story would appeal to readers anywhere.
Hannelore Cheney
Thank you NetGalley and Dundurn Press for the eARC.
What a lovely book! To begin with I wasn't sure if it was my kind of read, but I soon changed my mind. It's a wonderful story of love between two middle-aged people; a bankrupt former journalist and a former actress. There are many ups and downs to overcome and a couple of near-death experiences that are riveting reading, but also a lot of lovely moments of the enduring strength of love and forgiving ourselves and others. The setting is also
Rating: 5 shipwrecked stars

I so enjoyed reading this book! It’s not what I was envisioning when I started it, but it was a wonderful read. Lesley Choyce has written a clear-eyed story about what it means to get older when the plans you had laid out for yourself fail to materialize. In the opening pages, we meet Charles Howard on a pier in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ramona Danforth approaches him out on the pier. She is concerned that he may be about to jump off the pier. That is not the case, but
James Fisher
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, nova-scotia
This is yet another great story from the prolific Lesley Choyce with enough turns, ups and downs and existential food-for-thought to keep the reader turning pages until the end (which I found a little too tidy). Highly recommended reading!
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. This is a sweet story of a man and a woman finding each other in the most unexpected way and time. They work together (and at times look like they’ll fail each other) to overcome childhood trauma, commitment issues, familial disputes, fears of what the future holds, and finding inner strength when everything around them seems to falls apart. It’s a beautiful romance story that doesn’t have a hint of cheesiness, which is refreshing. I felt there were parts of the story that were drawn ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
55-year-old Charles has just lost his job and doesn’t have a cent to his name. As the title says, he’s a broken man on a Halifax pier. Then out of the mist walks Ramona, a beautiful 50-year-old actress with pots of ‘guilt’ money from the father who deserted his family to take up with a series of sweet young things. Ramona buys Charles breakfast and next thing he’s driving her to his hometown on the coast, a place he hasn’t visited in decades. Lots of things are dredged up from Charles’ past and ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I knew I’d like this novel from its title. I just had to play my Stan Rogers CDs as I read.

Charles Howard, 55, has lost virtually everything, including his job and savings, and is basically destitute with no prospects. One foggy morning in Halifax, he meets Ramona Danforth, a retired actress with a generous trust fund. They end up taking a drive to Stewart Harbour on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, a fishing village to which Charles has not returned since his high school graduation. During this
Larry P.
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read the first paragraph and smiled. I am going to like this. The noir, fedora pulled down low, upturned trench coat collar, and early morning fog, feel of the writing, had me.
Lesley Choyce has crafted a good and interesting story and supported it with well developed, eclectic, characters, and lots of local knowledge. The result is a quite wonderful read.
Set in his home province of Nova Scotia, we meet Choyce’s protagonist, Charles (not Charlie) Howard, as he stands alone on a fog-shrouded
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it

Told in first person perspective of Charles, a now fifty-five year old man, feeling as if he has wasted his life and is simply wandering in Halifax, contemplating his next move. He’s in the midst of a massive pity-party, unemployed and now penniless, and isn’t sure where things went so horribly wrong. In the midst of it all, he meets Ramona: a woman who has had some ‘limited’ success in acting, but is also mostly trying to find amusement and where she should go next. Charlies intrigues her –
Teena in Toronto
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: canadian
Charles is 55-years-old and unemployed. He was a journalist until the newspaper shut down. He has no money and no prospects. One morning, he is standing on a pier on the Halifax Harbour and a woman starts talking with him. Her name is Ramona and she is a former actress, now living off a trust fund provided by her father. She invites him to breakfast.

Charles invites her to drive to his childhood home on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia. He hasn't been back since he left for university many years
Schuyler Wallace
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This is a lovely novel that holds many surprises, some mysterious and some comical. Leslie Choyce, author of “Broken Man on a Halifax Pier,” is a prolific and well-received author who has the chops to weld together disparate story ideas and come up with an entertaining read that doesn’t stretch the old brainpower too far.

A foggy morning finds out of work fifty-five year old Charles Howard sitting at the pier and morosely thinking about his future. Of course his regretful past of being swindled
Breakaway Reviewers
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Unexpected rescue for a shipwrecked life

Peter is a man at rock bottom. At the start of this novel, we find him standing on the Halifax Pier contemplating what to do. He is 55 years old and has lost everything; his long- term journalism job and his entire life savings due to a swindle. As he thinks about his future, a woman turns up, both mysterious and beautiful. She takes him off to breakfast, and their story begins.

On a whim, Peter asks Ramona to drive him back to his childhood home, Stewart
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

"I realized there was no such thing as a life without consequences. Every little thing—or big thing—you do in life sends out ripples in the pond that keep getting wider and wider."

Reading this novel was an interesting journey. The two main characters meet on a Pier on a random night and end up having a meal together. The dialogue is unusual in that it's almost immediately witty and they are quoting literature/poetry at each other which was amusing and also annoying at the same time. The
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars

This book is a tale about some (fairly), ordinary people living their day-to-day lives. But it is told in such a remarkable way and with such descriptive language that the characters come to life in such a way that I would have not thought possible.

Charles “don't call me Charlie” Howard is standing on the edge of a pier on Halifax Harbour when up walks Ramona Danforth. So begins an intense and adventurous relationship. Charles learns things about himself – both new and forgotten. He
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Broken Man on a Halifax Pier is primarily a story of relationships - with family, friends, and everyone in between. Charles escaped the small town of his childhood to become a newspaper writer in the city, but has since lost his job and all of his savings. Then one day a woman comes out of the fog as he's standing on a pier, and the instant connection they feel to one another takes them both by surprise. Will their budding relationship be able to withstand all the baggage they carry?

I primarily
Kathleen Gray
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charles and Ramona meet by chance on a foggy rotten morning in Halifax and it changes their lives. This lovely tale of mid life renewal and redemption features two people would not normally be in the same room much less the same car; she's an actress and he's a journalist who has just lost his job. Regardless, their road trip to Stewart Harbor, the town where he grew up, is only the start. Once there, Charle finds so much about himself. He's got a weight on his shoulders that started in this ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I was very excited to read this book because A. I am from Halifax, B. The main location was a small fishing community much like where I live now and C. There were many mentions of the Cape Island style boat which was designed and built by my husband's great grandfather!

While I did enjoy the book I found it a bit lacking in a big event/climax/turning point. There were several points that "could" have fulfilled that role but they were treated as little more than just a mention in the middle of a
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Net Galley and Dundurn Press for this beautifully written ARC. From the first sentence to the last I was captivated by the story telling. I chose this book because it was set in Nova Scotia, a place that is near and dear to my heart. It evolved into a telling of broken people, dysfunction, broken families and romance. I wasn't sure it was going to be for me but I settled in for the long haul pretty quickly. At times I felt it did push the limits of reality but the prose was ...more
Fran Cormack
Jul 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Dundurn Publishing for a copy of this book.

I found I enjoyed the book much more when the author stayed away from characters and dialogue. Firstly there was so little dialogue attribution that I was often confused who was talking, but also the characters were never really brought to life. They remained flat and unrealistic to me.

When the writing was more situational I got a lot more enjoyment from the book.
Shauna Roth
Sep 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This book started off like slipping into a comfy chair after a long workday. It was familiar and easy to get in to. But as the story developed, it felt more like a soap opera. Things happened and then more things happened and I felt like I was watching a never ending drama. I struggled to care about the characters in this book. In the end I would say this would be a good book to take to the beach or on a vacation. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This was absolutely stunning. Why is Canadian literature always so good?

Everything about this book worked well. The story, the setting, the characters. Charles was very relatable.

Heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. No idea how. I couldn’t put the book down.

Honestly I would love to see this story adapted for television.

My copy was provided by NetGalley for review all opinions are my own.
Andrea Miller
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is another excellent read from Lesley Choyce. I love the setting--Choyce really brings it alive. The characters are intriguing and the story is captivating. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next.
Tracy Deets
Ok, not a review since I haven't actually read it. But I'm going to. I now have "Barrett's Privateers" stuck in my head, and am going home to play my collection of Stan Rogers CDs. The struggle is real.
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Durdurn Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This was a lovely, emotional and evocative read. Without any evidence of heavy lifting, the author set a very Canadian scene and told a wonderful story about unexpected love, friendship and new beginnings.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got this as a arc e book from net galley for my i pad. I enjoyed reading it. It had a good story to it. It is my first book read by this author. I hope to read more books by this author.
Carmen Hartt
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very indulgent writing with so many awkward Nova Scotia references that felt forced. We get it- you're from NS. Not my favourite read.
Carol Scheherazade
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very heartwarming and thought provoking book. Enjoyed it immensely!
Bonnye Reed
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Leslie Choyce, and Dundurn publishers. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my personal opinion of this work. Broken Man on a Halifax Pier is an exceptional read. I am pleased to recommend it to friends and family.

I love books set on the rugged eastern coast of Nova Scotia. Lesley Choyce shares with us his intimate knowledge of this landscape, these
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Lesley Choyce is a novelist and poet living at Lawrencetown Beach, Nova Scotia. He is the author of more than 80 books for adults, teens and children. He teaches in the English Department and Transition Year Program at Dalhousie University. He is a year-round surfer and founding member of the 1990s spoken word rock band, The SurfPoets. Choyce also runs Pottersfield Press, a small literary ...more