My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Megan Hart’s “Broken” leaves me torn on quite a few terms when considering it in the aftermath. Many of my friends and people in various circles who read romance and even erotic romance dealing with tough issues while also portraying dimensional characterizations and steamy scenes have given this high marks and regard as one of Hart’s best works. Reading it over, personally, I can’t say I agree. There were several elements of this novel that completely rubbed me the wrong way, despite being much better written than many erotic titles I’ve come across.
Might as well tell it like it is – there were moments in this novel that I wanted to sincerely throttle Sadie and tell her to get a grip. For goodness sake, I wanted to tell her “You’re your own woman who could’ve made your own respective choices throughout this entire narrative, your life was NOT tied down because of your husband, and putting all that upon him was wrong. That’s really a disservice to him considering not only you were cheating on him, but pretty much blaming him for a lot of things he couldn’t control one moment and then trying to cling to him the next when he was taking the next step and wanting to try to move on and deal with his own respective griefs in another spectrum – even if we never had a chance to see what that collective spectrum would’ve become.” Granted, I could understand the respective ups and downs of emotion coming from Sadie and Adam’s relationship considering Adam’s disability and how that changed their lives as well as their relationship – emotionally, physically, sexually, among other dimensions – and I think this story could’ve gone in so many other interesting (and more realistic) directions for development on those notes, rather than dropping the ball and settling for something that was not only predictable, but sold the characterizations very short as well as the conflicts themselves. I think the part of the novel I connected with the most was Adam and Sadie’s respective meeting, some of the times where they clash and have the ups and downs that a married couple would have in the face of significant changes, and – for all intents and purposes, expanding upon what seems to be a “broken” relationship.
Adam was really the primary saving grace of this entire novel, to be frank. He’s a very realistic and well-dimensioned character, and I wish I – as a reader – could’ve had more time to see through his eye of things and see Sadie and him have more interactions than they did, maybe even in a different direction than this novel chose to take. I really didn’t care for Joe at all, there was nothing for me to cling to whenever he came into the picture apart from his steamy scenes with Sadie (and even then, the scenes themselves were steamy, but there was a noticeable lack of character connection that made it difficult to follow, especially when paired against Sadie’s relationship with Adam). I never felt the sense of attraction for Joe because his character was so distant and the stories he told didn’t really draw me into his realm. While I did try to find some point of connection with Sadie, I couldn’t in any significant capacity – I felt that her character never really went anywhere after everything that happened, and she never really lived with the consequences of anything that she said/did/experienced along the novel’s plot progression.
The other saving grace for this novel for me was having yet another eye into Elle and Dan’s relationship in an ongoing capacity (who are the primary couple for Hart’s work “Dirty”). Hart has a way of weaving other characters from her novels into her respective works, and while that’s a difficult thing to do – I respect and admire the chance to be able to revisit characters I’ve been able to connect to in that spectrum. Sadie served as Elle’s therapist for a time – as is revealed in details provided within this novel, just a side story more than anything else. This novel features Elle coming to terms with her relationship with Dan while examining that means with respect to her past relationships and having Sadie be a support in some modes through how they move in certain spectrums beyond that (I’m not going to spoil too much for events because there are some spoilers to be had). I think, usually, Hart does a great job highlighting the dimensional side stories that are often in her novels and even connecting character threads that appear in other novels she’s penned, but I think if this is the very first novel you’re reading by Hart, you wouldn’t have the same kind of connection with Elle’s particular feature if you hadn’t read “Dirty” before reading this. As well, the side stories just didn’t have the kind of dimension to them that I’ve enjoyed in some of Hart’s other novels.
I’m not going to say it wasn’t worth the read, because there were some moments that did stand out to me, but I can’t say that this is one of my preferred reads from Hart, overall. There were even parts of “Switch” I liked better than “Broken”, but I think “Broken” had more cohesiveness and character dynamic in it. The downside to this novel would be its overarching crass portrayal of disability and a lack of development among some very interesting dimensions of relationships, grief, and coming to terms.
Overall score: 2/5