Only Love Can Break your Heart

Only Love Can Break your Heart

A Novel

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Love can make people do terrible things." Welcome to Spencerville, Virginia, 1977. Eight-year-old Rocky worships his older brother, Paul. Sixteen and full of rebel cool, Paul spends his days cruising in his Chevy Nova blasting Neil Young, cigarette dangling from his lips, arm slung around his beautiful, troubled girlfriend. Paul is happy to have his younger brother as his sidekick. Then one day, in an act of vengeance against their father, Paul picks up Rocky from school and nearly abandons him in the woods. Afterward, Paul disappears. Seven years later, Rocky is a teenager himself. He hasn't forgotten being abandoned by his boyhood hero, but he's getting over it, with the help of the wealthy neighbors' daughter, ten years his senior, who has taken him as her lover. Unbeknownst to both of them, their affair will set in motion a course of events that rains catastrophe on both their families. After a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to their small town, Rocky and his family must reckon with the past and find out how much forgiveness their hearts can hold.
Publisher: [United States] : Algonquin Books : Made available through hoopla, 2016
ISBN: 9781616205416
Branch Call Number: eBook hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: hoopla digital


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jul 12, 2016

Solid & engaging story, concise writing.

Jun 06, 2016

This book is better than expected, I thought It would be a decent book but I would recommend to everyone. From the sibling idolization relationship to growing up and making decisions based not only how it will affect you but your family, this book is pretty spot on. Oh, and a murder. I couldn't put it down, a definite page turner.

Feb 15, 2016

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington describes the life of Richard Askew from eight years old to fifteen. It’s told in first person and would be a young adult novel if it were not told by Richard as an adult. Indeed, the dual perspective of Richard as a growing boy, and a wiser Richard as an adult contrast. This contrasting perspective turns what might be a normal small-town drama into a richly portrayed family saga.

Richard grows up in small town Spencerville in Virginia in 1977 with the Old Man (his sixty-year-old father), Alice (his mother) and Paul, his half brother who’s eight years his superior. The novel revolves around Paul and Richard in three parts. Rather than sticking to a main conflict, the novel contains several in each part. There are conflicts tied to family, love, betrayal, finance, violence, and eventually murder. Instead of becoming confusing or overwhelming, the story lines recounted from Richard’s viewpoints is consistently entertaining and surprising. It is not formulaic.

The plots wander at times, but that seems a more realistic and interesting account of a childhood than a plot line with a clear beginning, arc, climax, and denouement. The main characters are mostly eccentric, but that is only because Richard knows them so well. What type of person is not little odd when known so thoroughly? The balance of description, narration, and dialogue contribute to the smooth pace – one that allows the reader to enjoy Ed Tarkington’s language, humor, and meaning without wanting to skim just to find out who the murderer is. This is a rare feat in drama, and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys both character and plot-driven fiction.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings


Find it at MPL

To Top