Monday, September 8, 2014

Broken by Lauren Layne

The Basics:
Broken by Lauren Layne
Book One of the Redemption series
New Adult, Romance
Published September 2, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I'm a complete Lauren Layne fan. I had to grab this one when I saw it was available for review.


When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

My thoughts:

I've been a fan of Lauren Layne's for about a year now, since I read Isn't She Lovely in October of last year. That book was a prequel for the Redemption series, and it is saying *A LOT* that I remember details from that book. Mainly because my memory is spotty at best these days.

Broken picks up with the ex-girlfriend of Isn't She Lovely's Ethan Price:
Olivia Middleton, a glamorous New York socialite who has just dropped out of business school to try to redeem herself with some do-gooding.

Where Isn't She Lovely ran with the Pygmalion concept, Broken adapts Beauty and the Beast. In this version, Beauty - aka Olivia - is carrying around some serious guilt and self-loathing so she signs up to be a caretaker for a wounded vet, doing penance for having made a bad decision.

Olivia is paired with Paul, a war vet with some serious mental and emotional scarring - not to mention a number of wicked scars across his face and body. While Olivia feels the need to redeem herself, Paul has a habit of being beastly to scare off the caretakers his father keeps sending. And this time, he can't afford to scare her off.

I found Broken to be rather uncomfortable at times - where Olivia pokes and prods at Paul in order to help him overcome his considerable pain, Paul pushes back to deliberately hurt her. I found it all completely believable, if hard to read. These are two very broken individuals and of course they lash out at times.

There's also some very hot moments. These two have sexual chemistry that is beyond, and I appreciated all of the heat. Layne balances these scenes with some very tender, sweet ones.

Truly, the story is a great illustration of the ups and downs everyone experiences. Olivia and Paul are capable of great things but they also are capable of wounding each other in very painful ways. Whether or not they'll be willing to trust each other, to forgive each other and themselves is at the core of the novel's conflict (and I think pretty true in many relationships as well).

I rooted for this couple all the way to very end, and I think I'll come back to this book for a re-read when my schedule allows.

Bottom line:

I loved Broken. It was the perfect mixture of emotional, painful and triumphant. Oh, and of course, there were also some very hot moments. Read this one!

5 stars
For fans of Lauren Layne, contemporary romance, war vet romance, redemption stories, new adult.

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