by Claudia Dey
** Publication date: 21 August 2018**
How often have you wanted to simply run away from your life? Heartbreaker deals with the story of Billie Jean, who suddenly appeared in “the territory”, and then disappears without a trace 15 years later. This novel was written in three parts, as told by three of the characters: Billie Jean’s daughter, Pony; Billie Jean’s dog, Gena Rowlands; and Supernatural, a teenage boy in “the territory.” From what we can gather, the town was founded by a religious zealot and has been stuck in the 1980s since. No one ever leaves the boundaries of the territory, and there is no contact, essentially, with the outside world.
I loved the writing in this book. Great writing can overcome many things, and Claudia Dey certainly achieves that. Frustrating me was the fact that I truly had no idea where this territory was. I knew it had to be someplace north, but north where? The territory has television, telephones, cars and fuel, but how? Some of the mysteries of this story are never explained, and perhaps to some that is charming, but for me it left a lot of unanswered questions. Perhaps part of the charm of this book is not knowing all the answers.
Even with the unanswered questions, I did enjoy this book. The story was interesting, that in this day and age a group of people could be so isolated in a place like North America. The characters were written in a way that truly allowed a visualization of their looks, and a depth that made them whole. Pony is a teenage girl, going through her own awakening and teenage strife, that reminded me of my own teenage years. Supernatural is a boy/man looking for answers in a world that doesn’t really have any. Billie Jean is clearly damaged, but why? Dey’s writing keeps the pages turning so that you can find the answers.
This is not a love story, though parts of it are. This is not really a thriller, though there are revelations and mysteries to the story. This is a story about running away and starting your life over again, when you simply cannot face things that have happened in your past.
At the end of this book, I found myself wanting more. I wanted to keep turning the pages and learning more about these people. That is evidence of a good story. I think Dey has a winner here, and in reading this book, I am going to read some of her previous work. If it is quirky and unusual like this book, I am sure to enjoy it.