Friday, June 19, 2020

Book Review: Breakup Boot Camp

By Sara Steven

After weeks of training to whip Joanna Kitt into shape for her big day, her picture-perfect engagement to her high school sweetheart is torn in two, and Joanna is left out on her perfectly toned rear end. To put the past and her heartache behind her, she sets off for two weeks at the renowned Retreat House Breakup Boot Camp in Topsail Island off the coast of North Carolina.

Despite her sadness, Joanna throws herself into the experience hoping surfing, yoga, spa treatments, meditation, and talk therapy will be enough to help her get over the one man she’s ever loved. But she soon learns the Boot Camp is only the first step to healing her broken heart. Joanna will have to come to terms with the career she abandoned, the loss in her life she never fully accepted, and the role she played in the ending of her relationship.

When she meets Todd Aldrich, the handsome and mysterious hotel chef, she has the chance to take her renewed heart out for a test drive and see if she is ready for new beginnings and new love. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Beth Merlin’s Campfire series, I looked forward to reading Breakup Boot Camp, and it was another five-star experience! The premise behind the Retreat House in Topsail Island felt unique and fresh, not like anything I’ve ever read before. Joanna takes off for the coast of North Carolina in order to heal her broken heart, and I couldn’t help but wish for that type of place when I’d gone through my own heartbreaks in life. While the words “boot camp” are part of the title of the program, it feels more like a means in finding one's self again, in making lives whole. Where’s a Retreat House when you need one?

In attempting to rediscover who she is, Joanna discovers Todd, the hotel chef. I appreciated Todd as a character, considering he goes against what one would imagine him to be typecast as. There was an instant need inside me to see these two together, despite the damage done by Joanna’s ex. There’s also a conflicting sense of loyalty where he’s concerned. Having a relationship with the high school sweetheart means several years’s worth of time and commitment. That was felt deeply when reading between the lines of what Joanna wanted, vs. what she really needs.

Along with the romantic experiences are tight woman bonds that are formed at Retreat House. They are unlikely friendships, but just what Joanna needs, what they all need. While I appreciated the focus on Todd, I felt the bigger focus was on the amazing women Joanna meets along the way, friendships that I know will carry on in the lifetime of this character.

I thought it was clever of Merlin to add touches of her Campfire series into Breakup Boot Camp. Experiences like that always thrill me, because I feel even more connected to the new characters, by bringing out some of my favorites from the past. However, even if a reader hasn’t had the pleasure of reading the Campfire series yet, this novel can be read as a standalone, easily. But it will most certainly make you want to read the other books by Merlin. An inspiring, top notch read!

Thanks to Beth Merlin for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Beth Merlin:

1 comment:

Murphy said...
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