Title: The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart
Author: Anna Bell
Publisher: Zaffre Publishing
Goodreads Synopsis: A hilarious new romantic comedy for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Jane Costello from Anna Bell, the bestselling author of Don’t Tell the Groom. Abi’s barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible. When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they’re a perfect match? But there’s just one problem – or rather, ten. Abi’s not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she’s absolutely terrified of heights – not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town …Completing the list is going to need all Abi’s courage – and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store …
Abi is completely devastated when her long-term boyfriend, Joseph, dumps her unexpectedly. So much so, that it sends her wallowing in a deep depression for weeks. When she discovers his “Things to Do Before I am 40” list among the items he’s left at her apartment, she decides to complete it; thus, impressing him and winning him back in the process. What ensues is the hilarious, yet heart-warming journey of a woman’s discovery of herself.
If you’ve ever been broken up with, especially unexpectedly, you’ll know the emotional roller coaster that ensues in the aftermath. Obsessing over what went wrong, what was said, what might have gone differently, and how you can win them back. Abi’s case is no different. The novel begins with Abi wallowing in post-breakup depression. Bouts of crying, emotional eating, and lack of personal hygiene… Personally, I found it a little pathetic that she let someone else have that much control over her and her happiness, but I can understand the sentiment. This is why that when Abi finds Joseph’s bucket list, it makes sense in her desperate state that she wants to use it to win him back.
Aided by her best friend, Sian, and colleage, Giles, Abi begins to make her way through the list as quickly as she can in order to win Joseph back before he can find someone else. What I liked most about Abi’s group of friends is that even though they were unsure about her list (why abseil down a building when you’re afraid of heights?) and didn’t know the real reason why she wanted to start and complete it so quickly, they still wholeheartedly supported her. They wanted her to succeed and were willing and able to help her do so. I thought their support of Abi really lifted the tone of the story and made it more of a team effort. Sometimes, having a great group of friends around you during a difficult break up can be all the medicine you need.
The bucket list aspect could have been very formulaic and just followed the list without much depth or character development, but instead we got to see Abi’s character change and grow from the pity party of one we saw in the beginning, to a woman with confidence and independence. It was very inspiring to see her, not only pick up the pieces, but become a better version of herself, despite her original motives. While this book is very much the predictable, romantic comedy trope, I still found myself invested in Abi’s character and the outcome of the book. All I wanted was for Abi to realize how awesome she was on her own, and that she didn’t need to place her self worth in someone else’s hands. Thankfully, she arrived at that conclusion in the end, after five or six shenanigans.
A must-read if you’re looking for a laugh-out-loud, inspiring, romantic, pick-me-up!