Tess has a Broken Heart and Other Comedies Full of Errors

I really liked this book in parts and would recommend it to anyone who likes a light read. What you have here is a gentle smattering of romance mixed with the torture of failed love affairs and this is all discussed through the life of one character, Tess. That is not to say that Tess is the only character in the book; to the contrary, there are an abundance of different male and female characters who provide other interest to the main thread of Tess’ rediscovery of herself and her self-confidence.

Tess lives in a house-share with Zara and ZĂ©nnie (her friend, her friend’s daughter and really Tess’ extended family) initially but, in order to live in the rental house that they have chosen in Calgary, they secure sub-tenants who help with the rent and provide added interest to the book. Ross does well to try and distinguish between the different men who join the household and what could be construed as a rather odd living set up, especially with a young girl involved, is depicted as something quite wholesome and welcoming – not weird at all.

The focus, as the book’s title suggests, is focused on Tess’ failed relationships and the scars that these have inflicted, which are not easy to overcome, and so, we follow her on her journey of discovery, whilst also having light relief in the form of the love lives of the other characters in the house.

One of the things that I think that Ross does well is the deep discussion that the characters have about love and its effects; there is quite a lot of philosophising in the book about one’s perception of love and allowing it in, letting go of past hang-ups and moving forward and conquering hurt. Ross’ construction of this dialogue speaks of wisdom and experience and I found myself enjoying the perceptive and thought-provoking nature of the discussion.

Also, towards the end of the book, I very much enjoyed the chapter written by Pax, one of the female characters in the books, which is a pastiche of a fairytale. It was funny and I think, captured Pax’s character in its writing style to a tee.

This book was a mixed bag for me but had content enough and character interest to keep me reading but, for a lover of light romantic fiction, it might just be a good read.

This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.

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