@readersfirst Book Review The Museum of Broken Promises by Elizabeth Buchan


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.

My Thoughts

This book is written in such a poetic and beautiful way. It really transports you to the places described. It is a story about Laure, the curator of the Museum of Broken Promises and how she got to where she is.

It is told from three different periods and places in her life.

Paris, the present day. This part of the story tells us more about the museum, it’s a quirky place where people bring in objects that remind them of their broken dreams and promises. I liked the different back stories to the objects and why people wanted to display them.

Prague, 1986. Here we get to delve deeper into Laure’s background. She has started work as an au pair for a wealthy family. And, she falls in love with rock musician Tomas. But, the path to true love is not easy. With Prague in the middle of a Cold War, things are difficult for Laure. I enjoyed the historical elements in here, it felt like we got to learn more about the effects of communism.

Berlin, 1996. Laure is now working for the British Embassy, and comes across her old employer. The father of the family she worked for. Secrets are revealed, and here we get to learn more.

This book isn’t my usual genre, however I enjoyed the historical references and the descriptions of the cities. It was good to see how Laure’s character developed and we got to realise the true reasoning behind the museum.

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