Monday, January 5, 2015

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg

House Broken

House Broken by Sonja Yoerg
Paperback and e-book, 336 pages
Publication date: January 6th 2015 by NAL Trade

In this compelling and poignant debut novel, a woman skilled at caring for animals must learn to mend the broken relationships in her family.…

For veterinarian Geneva Novak, animals can be easier to understand than people. They’re also easier to forgive. But when her mother, Helen, is injured in a vodka-fueled accident, it’s up to Geneva to give her the care she needs.

Since her teens, Geneva has kept her self-destructive mother at arm’s length. Now, with two slippery teenagers of her own at home, the last thing she wants is to add Helen to the mix. But Geneva’s husband convinces her that letting Helen live with them could be her golden chance to repair their relationship.

Geneva isn’t expecting her mother to change anytime soon, but she may finally get answers to the questions she’s been asking for so long. As the truth about her family unfolds, however, Geneva may find secrets too painful to bear and too terrible to forgive.

My thoughts about House Broken ~~

Look at this cover. Isn't that face just adorable? Well, that face is what first drew me to House Broken. We had a chocolate lab for 13 years, who looked very much like the dog on this cover. And then I read the synopsis. There is so much about this book that I can relate to; the main character is a veterinarian - my youngest sister is a vet; the main character comes from a dysfunctional family and has issues with her mother - well, 'nuff said about that.

So anyway, I felt like this would be a story that I would enjoy and like I said, could relate to. Let me tell you, this was a great story! It is amazing to think that this is Sonja's debut novel. She writes so wonderfully and she makes the storyline and the characters seem so real.

Geneva's father dies when she was quite young and she has to deal with a mother who basically isn't there anymore. That is a tough way to grow up.
'Geneva, patient and watchful, waited for Helen to come around. But the strength that should have returned to her mother never appeared, or never for very long, and Geneva finally realized that she was waiting for a mother she never had.'
When Helen is injured and can't live on her own while she is recovering, Geneva's husband Tom, convinces her that maybe the best thing would be for Helen to move in with them. Maybe they could mend their strained relationship.
'Maybe she's learned her lesson. Maybe if she's here, and she needs to rely on you, she'll see how to be a better person.'
But Helen has secrets, secrets she has kept for many years. And these secrets are the basis for the problems in the family and the estrangement among the siblings. She married very young and her marriage to Eustace wasn't the wedded bliss that she expected. And her life did not turn out at all like she thought it would.
'She had been relieved to move into Eustace's house in town, where the streetlights shone nice and bright. Of course that was before the trouble started, when her idea of scared became the things you couldn't see.'
Then Sonja throws in two teenagers, with all the drama and problems that teenagers seem to have at this stage of their lives. And Ella and Charlie both have their own secrets. With all the other family drama happening around them, their lives just start spinning out of control.
'No one tells you how stressful it is to be this cool.'
As I was reading this story, I was thinking about how dysfunction seemed to run in this family, first one generation, then the next, and the next. Then I wondered, maybe every family is dysfunctional to some degree. No one is perfect and no family can be the perfect family. We just do the best we can with what we have and we learn to live with it.

In the end, Geneva and her family learn to deal with their problems the best way that they know how and go on from there. And it might not be the way you think, I know this book didn't end as I expected it to. Don't you love it when an author can surprise you like that? I know I do.

House Broken was a fabulous read and I am looking forward to the next book by Sonja. There was a little sneak peek at the back of the book so I got a taste of what's to come. I will be watching for it because Sonja has now been added to my list of must read authors.

About the author

My debut novel, House Broken, will be released 6 January 2015 courtesy of Penguin/NAL. My second novel, Middle of Somewhere, will be out in September 2015.

I grew up in Stowe, Vermont, the daughter of a ski instructor. In my first incarnation, I was a animal behaviorist who studied learning in blue jays, hyenas and kangaroo rats. I wrote a book about that. Now I make stuff up.

I run, garden, cook, eat, drink wine, then run some more. My husband and I live in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It's quiet and pretty, like Vermont.

Connect with Sonja

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!


  1. This is one that I am looking forward to reading. The cover was what drew me in initially, but it looks like a great read! I'm originally from Vt, so a former fellow Vermonter is yet another reason to pick it up.

    1. I loved this cover too. And you should definitely read it. Thanks for stopping by. I would love to visit Vermont some day, it seems like a beautiful state. Happy reading!

  2. I read this and the cover got me wanting to read it. I hope you enjoyed the book. I did and it was good. Though I think the book cover kinda deceive the story is about.


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