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The Museum of Broken Promises

by Elizabeth Buchan

Relationship Stories Modern and Contemporary Fiction Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Historical fiction Book Club Recommendations Star Books Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Museum of Broken Promises

The hardback was chosen as a LoveReading star book, this glorious, beautifully engaging read is set to break and capture hearts.

A beautifully engaging novel that both broke and truly captured my heart. We travel with Laure through three time frames, from Prague of 1986, through to Paris of today. She finds love, and founds a museum based on promises broken, discarded, forgotten. Elizabeth Buchan writes with such eloquence, compassion and meaning. I felt, really felt the history and heartache. The past and the present somehow balance, as they move backwards and forwards slowly cutting snippets of information free. I fully existed in each moment, almost forgetting another point existed until I found myself there and became immersed once more. I really cared about the characters, including the museum, the idea is captivating, and so completely believable I feel as though I should be able to walk through its doors. The Museum of Broken Promises is for a me a must-read, I’ve chosen it as one of our star books, it is quite simply, glorious.

Have a look at our Ambassador Book Buzz for The Museum of Broken Promises.

Liz Robinson

The Museum of Broken Promises Synopsis

'I ADORE cold-war novels and I live for love stories - The Museum of Broken Promises is a perfect combination of both. It's a gem of a book... beautiful, elegant.' Marian Keyes The stunning new novel from bestselling Elizabeth Buchan. The Museum of Broken Promises is a beautiful, evocative love story and heart-breaking journey in to a long-buried past. Paris, today. The Museum of Broken Promises is a place of wonder and sadness, hope and loss. Every object in the museum has been donated - a cake tin, a wedding veil, a baby's shoe. And each represent a moment of grief or terrible betrayal. The museum is a place where people come to speak to the ghosts of the past and, sometimes, to lay them to rest. Laure, the owner and curator, has also hidden artefacts from her own painful youth amongst the objects on display. Prague, 1985. Recovering from the sudden death of her father, Laure flees to Prague. But life behind the Iron Curtain is a complex thing: drab and grey yet charged with danger. Laure cannot begin to comprehend the dark, political currents that run beneath the surface of this communist city. Until, that is, she meets a young dissident musician. Her love for him will have terrible and unforeseen consequences. It is only years later, having created the museum, that Laure can finally face up to her past and celebrate the passionate love which has directed her life.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781786495310
Publication date: 2nd April 2020
Author: Elizabeth Buchan
Publisher: Corvus
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 416 pages
Primary Genre Relationship Stories
Other Genres:
Recommendations:
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The Museum of Broken Promises Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

This was a clever and intriguing read. What started as a lovely, engaging novel about a woman and an unusual museum, which was interesting enough in itself, turned into a far deeper and more poignant book.A beautiful and sensitive read that highlights both humans frailties and strengths and the power of love and determination.

This was a clever and intriguing read. What started as a lovely, engaging novel about a woman and an unusual museum, which was interesting enough in itself, turned into a far deeper and more poignant book. I loved the concept of the museum and its displays reflecting private moments in people's lives in such a clever way. The way it comes full circle in the final chapter is a particularly successful piece of writing.
Skipping from past to present is an interesting and popular technique, but Buchan manages to link three stages of Laure's life together in a clever and seamless way. She has a clever way of drip-feeding information about Laure, Eva, tomas and even the cat.
The book was an interesting mix of description and also an insight into a part of Europe rarely written about. Usually, anything featuring Prague, Czechoslovakia or Berlin becomes a spy novel, James Bond and thriller style. This is unique in that it is a human story/a family saga. The clever way the marionettes are portrayed as almost real-life characters is another clever way of writing. The contrast between the brutality and tenderness in the stories reflecting real life.
A beautiful and sensitive book that highlights both humans frailties and strengths and the power of love and determination.

Rosie Watch

This was a clever and intriguing read. What started as a lovely, engaging novel about a woman and an unusual museum, which was interesting enough in itself, turned into a far deeper and more poignant book.A beautiful and sensitive read that highlights both humans frailties and strengths and the power of love and determination.

This was a clever and intriguing read. What started as a lovely, engaging novel about a woman and an unusual museum, which was interesting enough in itself, turned into a far deeper and more poignant book. I loved the concept of the museum and its displays reflecting private moments in people's lives in such a clever way. The way it comes full circle in the final chapter is a particularly successful piece of writing.
Skipping from past to present is an interesting and popular technique, but Buchan manages to link three stages of Laure's life together in a clever and seamless way. She has a clever way of drip-feeding information about Laure, Eva, tomas and even the cat.
The book was an interesting mix of description and also an insight into a part of Europe rarely written about. Usually, anything featuring Prague, Czechoslovakia or Berlin becomes a spy novel, James Bond and thriller style. This is unique in that it is a human story/a family saga. The clever way the marionettes are portrayed as almost real-life characters is another clever way of writing. The contrast between the brutality and tenderness in the stories reflecting real life.
A beautiful and sensitive book that highlights both humans frailties and strengths and the power of love and determination.

Rosie Watch

A thought provoking story of love, deceit and betrayal.

From looking at the book's title, I thought I would be reading a romance. However, it was a completely different story to what I had expected. It is not a flimsy romance, but something much deeper and totally engrossing. It is told over three different timelines, from the mid-1980's to the present day. Laure sets off as a young girl to be an au pair in Prague during the communist regime. Here she meets Tomas, a young rebellious Czech musician and they become embroiled in an affair. As she becomes settled in her life here, she starts to become acutely aware of the living differences between her privileged employer and Tomas and his friends. The regime is oppressive and brutal, and she tries to persuade Tomas to escape to the West with her.
I found this book hard to put down, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Elizabeth Buchan is an excellent storyteller. The characters are believable and well constructed. I found the book very easy to get into with a compelling prologue and even the three timelines were easy to follow.

christine woolfenden

A thought provoking story of love, deceit and betrayal.

From looking at the book's title, I thought I would be reading a romance. However, it was a completely different story to what I had expected. It is not a flimsy romance, but something much deeper and totally engrossing. It is told over three different timelines, from the mid-1980's to the present day. Laure sets off as a young girl to be an au pair in Prague during the communist regime. Here she meets Tomas, a young rebellious Czech musician and they become embroiled in an affair. As she becomes settled in her life here, she starts to become acutely aware of the living differences between her privileged employer and Tomas and his friends. The regime is oppressive and brutal, and she tries to persuade Tomas to escape to the West with her.
I found this book hard to put down, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Elizabeth Buchan is an excellent storyteller. The characters are believable and well constructed. I found the book very easy to get into with a compelling prologue and even the three timelines were easy to follow.

christine woolfenden

Loved this book. I was drawn in from the start and found it hard to put down as I wanted to know more about the characters. Very atmospheric with just the right amount of background detail to give context and meaning. A real love story with a twist.

I was drawn into this book from the start. Following the story of a young British woman living in Paris, it tells her story from a time she lived in Prague up to the current day. It’s a love story at heart with plenty of twists and turns along the way. The characters are well created and I was keen to read on just to find out what their story would be. It’s full of tension and emotion and I found it hard to put down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants something a bit different that’s easy to follow but will keep you guessing.

Michelle Mckernan

Loved this book. I was drawn in from the start and found it hard to put down as I wanted to know more about the characters. Very atmospheric with just the right amount of background detail to give context and meaning. A real love story with a twist.

I was drawn into this book from the start. Following the story of a young British woman living in Paris, it tells her story from a time she lived in Prague up to the current day. It’s a love story at heart with plenty of twists and turns along the way. The characters are well created and I was keen to read on just to find out what their story would be. It’s full of tension and emotion and I found it hard to put down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants something a bit different that’s easy to follow but will keep you guessing.

Michelle Mckernan

I fell in love with the book from the first chapters. It's a historical fiction about Laure who created a museum of broken promises in today's world, but also her story in the communist Prague and Berlin in the 90s.

"Why a museum devoted to broken promises? Which one of us has not experienced a broken promise in our lives? Ether we made it and broke it. Or, someone made one to us and failed to keep it. The consequences can be funny, tragic, fleeting or life-long. However small, however large, those broken promises matter."

I fell in love with the book from the first chapters. It's a historical fiction about Laure who created a museum of broken promises in today's world, but also her story in the communist Prague and Berlin in the 90s.

It's rare that you read fiction and actually learn something. To me, coming from a post-communist country, it was very interesting to read about the reality in which people in Czechoslovakia had to live, the beatings, spying, zero ability of travel. How working for the party can influence life, and how being on the other side of the system can influence life.

I'm probably the last person who would choose to read the love story, which basically this book is, although I enjoyed every page! I have no idea what magic Elizabeth Buchan did, but I just couldn't stop reading!

The main character Laure spends her life trying to find out what happened with the person she loved, trying to forgive her former employer and trying to forgive herself. Being a York-born person she doesn't fully understand the danger of living in the communist country, loving freedom in the communist country and escaping the communist country.

The book takes the reader for a trip across the history, and of course to the Museum of Broken Promises, which I wish existed in the real world. I'd love to read more about the museum itself, the stories behind the exhibits in the museum, and people who donated them. I'd expect more, since the book is called after the museum.

Ania - bookoholic.me

I fell in love with the book from the first chapters. It's a historical fiction about Laure who created a museum of broken promises in today's world, but also her story in the communist Prague and Berlin in the 90s.

"Why a museum devoted to broken promises? Which one of us has not experienced a broken promise in our lives? Ether we made it and broke it. Or, someone made one to us and failed to keep it. The consequences can be funny, tragic, fleeting or life-long. However small, however large, those broken promises matter."

I fell in love with the book from the first chapters. It's a historical fiction about Laure who created a museum of broken promises in today's world, but also her story in the communist Prague and Berlin in the 90s.

It's rare that you read fiction and actually learn something. To me, coming from a post-communist country, it was very interesting to read about the reality in which people in Czechoslovakia had to live, the beatings, spying, zero ability of travel. How working for the party can influence life, and how being on the other side of the system can influence life.

I'm probably the last person who would choose to read the love story, which basically this book is, although I enjoyed every page! I have no idea what magic Elizabeth Buchan did, but I just couldn't stop reading!

The main character Laure spends her life trying to find out what happened with the person she loved, trying to forgive her former employer and trying to forgive herself. Being a York-born person she doesn't fully understand the danger of living in the communist country, loving freedom in the communist country and escaping the communist country.

The book takes the reader for a trip across the history, and of course to the Museum of Broken Promises, which I wish existed in the real world. I'd love to read more about the museum itself, the stories behind the exhibits in the museum, and people who donated them. I'd expect more, since the book is called after the museum.

Ania - bookoholic.me

A beautiful novel that I've fallen in love with.

The start of The Museum of Broken Promises lets you know that you're in for a heartbreaking read, but it doesn't really make it any easier.

We follow Laure from working as an Aupair in Paris and Prague to her work in the eponymous Museum of Broken Promises in modern-day Paris. This is a love story set in the foreground of the cold war, and deals with loyalty and betrayal.

A glorious story and I wish the Museum of Broken Promises existed because it sounds like a fascinating place to visit.

Charlotte Walker

A beautiful novel that I've fallen in love with.

The start of The Museum of Broken Promises lets you know that you're in for a heartbreaking read, but it doesn't really make it any easier.

We follow Laure from working as an Aupair in Paris and Prague to her work in the eponymous Museum of Broken Promises in modern-day Paris. This is a love story set in the foreground of the cold war, and deals with loyalty and betrayal.

A glorious story and I wish the Museum of Broken Promises existed because it sounds like a fascinating place to visit.

Charlotte Walker

Elizabeth Buchan Press Reviews

I've long considered Elizabeth Buchan to be one of our greatest living novelists, and this brilliant novel confirms it. A masterly writer at the very top of her game. - Peter James

What makes Buchan such a joy to read is her ability to take familiar material and probe it for new insights. For well-done domestic drama, there is only one writer for this reader. - USA Today

What a good writer Buchan is. - Telegraph

Her novels read lightly but they aren't superficial. Her families seem real, raw, breathing things, whose deep history is as evident in the most casual seeming gestures as it is in the toxic no-go areas. - The Lady

Elizabeth Buchan is always a joy to read. An intelligent writer of emotionally involving suspense fiction. - Amanda Craig, author of The Lie of the Land

[Her] writing is beautifully fluent... Buchan has a gift for understanding the complexity and ambiguity of human emotions - Elizabeth Fremantle

A truly wonderful writer. Her books are rich with authentic period detail and her characters are vivid and intensely believable. - Peter James

An elegant story that unfolds with a subtle and fascinating voice. - Anstey Harris, author of The Truths and Triumphs of Grace Atherton

Uplifting and sad and passionate and poignant all at the same time. If you like your fiction to challenge you and sweep you along and break you just a little, this is for you. - Tammy Cohen, author of When She Was Bad

Intricately plotted and beautifully written, the characters and the setting stay with you and leave you yearning for Paris. - Katie Fforde, author of A Vintage Wedding

I adored The Museum of Broken Promises. It has affected me more than anything I've read in quite a while. It's an amazing, emotive, heartbreaking but also ultimately uplifting novel. I really loved it so much. - Laura Barnett, author of Versions of US

I ADORE cold-war novels and I live for love stories -The Museum of Broken Promises is a perfect combination of both. It's a gem of a book... beautiful, elegant. - Marian Keyes

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781786495310
Publication date: 02/04/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780655639305
Publication date: 01/11/2019
Format: CD-Audio

ISBN: 9781786495280
Publication date: 05/09/2019
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Elizabeth Buchan

Elizabeth Buchan began her career as a blurb writer at Penguin Books after graduating from the University of Kent with a double degree in English and History. She moved on to become a fiction editor at Random House before leaving to write full-time. Her novels include the award-winning Consider the Lily and the international bestseller, Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman, which was made into a CBS Primetime Drama. Other novels include I Can’t Begin to Tell You, a story of SOE agents and resistance in wartime Denmark, and The New Mrs Clifton which is set in London and ...

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