Funny how this book reminds me of a blockbuster of another time! Thornbirds was a powerful saga of a family in Australia whose story tugged at the heartstrings of a million readers worldwide.
Reading Cathy Kelly’s Lessons in Heartbreak, also the story of three women interconnected through marriage and family and their loves and lives, reminded one of the sweeping grandeur of romance once again.
Izzie Silver belongs to the small Irish town Tamarin but leaves to make her life in New York. At 40, life is good as a talent scout for an advertising agency.
Silver and her colleague have reservations about the moral standards of an industry that seems to thrive on younger and thinner models. Both are aware of the pitfalls that models face — doing the drugs-drink route to fame.
Fed up with this Izzie and her friend decide to start their own agency, where women with curves will be given preference. But all this takes a backseat when Izzie meets and falls in love with a married man. She seems powerless to stop herself and gets into a mess.
Meanwhile her aunt Anneliese, living on the other side of the ocean, discovers what it means to have an unfaithful spouse who runs off with her best friend. Anneliese is depressed and cannot face the world or her daughter, Beth, who she keeps trying to protect from the pitfalls of the world.
Otherwise strong, both these women look to Lily, the family matriarch, for sound advice and protection. But it is too late because Lily has succumbed to the vagaries of old age and is on the verge of dementia.
But Lily in her last lucid moment keeps asking for Jamie. Astonished Izzie wonders who this person was who her grandmother never mentioned. On tracking the antecedents of Jamie, Izzie discovers Lily’s secret.
Kelly has written an old-fashioned romance with a modern twist. If you want a mushy read, this is just the book to go for.