Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee @MJonathanLee @HideawayFall #BrokenBranches

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‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Source Format Pages Publisher Genre Publication Date
Publisher Paperback 294 Hideaway Fall Mystery / Psychological July 27th, 2017

First of all, I would like to note here my gratitude to all at Hideaway Fall for accepting me into the fold as a reviewer and sending a paperback of Broken Branches! Thank you also to M. Jonathan Lee… for writing this book, and sending it out into the wide world.

Broken Branches is about a curse… What is a curse? Is it something magical? Is it something we bring upon ourselves? Is it something we imagine to exist? Is it something that just happens in life and we think it’s a curse just to cope? Whatever it was, anything that those pages were intending to purge, I took on board!

Thing is, it must be the moon phase or something but I can’t even think about this book without tearing up! Up until about 80% mark in the book, I really didn’t know where this was going but once I noticed the subtle clues and it started to dawn on me what the whole story was about, as well as reading that ending- I was floored. A right kick in the feels. Actually, I can’t ‘blame‘ the moon phase for my emotional state… that would just be mean and uncalled for towards the book and the author. Broken Branches sends the reader a strong message around mental health and does so by using mystery elements. It’s quite possible that the mention of a curse, while making realism lovers cautious, actually worked Β wonders in delivering punchline. I would go so far as to say, the mystery made the message all the more real when it mattered!

I refuse to tell you anything about the plot- what you get from the blurb is truly all you need to know. But also know this- you can not ever guess where this reading journey is going to take you (unless you’ve been spoilered of course!).

I would describe the majority of the book to have a sombre atmosphere. Things are just not going really well for our characters involved. Not in present timeline, nor in the past. I really did feel for Ian, 100%… until he obviously developed an obsession with the curse, and made things even worse. At various times I blamed Rachel, Ian’s wife, for being moody, even though I didn’t know the cause (how judgemental of me!). Then I blamed Ian for his obsession. And then… Then I wanted to take all of my thoughts back.

Broken Branches was a sorrowful and unexpected surprise for me. Sorrowful yet not suffocating… until…

It was also a surprise with its writing style, because apparently there is a way to write highly detailed descriptions and settings without feeling laborious to read. This was a first for me. Through the book, I paid immense attention to every word that was on the page and I was surprised at myself for not getting annoyed with it (because sometimes I do, get annoyed with too much description and not enough dialogue)… So, what is different in Broken Branches? How did it work so well? I don’t know… it must have been the balance, the content of those descriptions. I could feel the dedication with which those words were written down. Does that make sense? But then… then, when you find out the overall picture, those descriptions and every little detail that Lee wrote down, it just hit me that it was necessary, because it all maybe probably definitely truly matters! If there is ever a book that you need to read in full to be able to give it an objective review, Broken Branches is one of those books.

I finished this reading it late last night and I am still reeling with emotions. I am still coming to terms with all and everything that is continually making connections in my head… not least of those details that I am still processing is the title… Broken Branches… it relates and connects to everything, especially once the book has come to an end.

So yes, I really really had a strong experience reading this atmospheric and clever book, which in its message is important. It has an ending that I did not expect until the very end and it made all the difference… It made me and it broke me, but it also left me with a sense of hope. There will be a way forward from that curse…

Broken Branches on Goodreads | Amazon UK| USAΒ 

M. Jonathan Lee on Twitter | WebsiteΒ 

28 comments

  1. Excellent review and you are right you can’t know where this is going at all and it still sucks you right in. I felt guilty as well for almost having lost my patience with Rachel once, and then Ian another time… This one really pulled a number on you ;-).. my review’s up next week but I really like yours more πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Inge! πŸ™‚ Gosh, yes, this book threw me for a loop… and once I started thinking or everything in a different light (bc of the ending) it really made me sad…
      In a way I guess, it was a bit of a manipulation in regard to Ian and Rachel- how they came across… but the twist, made it all make sense.
      I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the book- I know yours is going to be fantastic, like always! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, you’re way too kind πŸ™‚ But yes, this book definitely has a spell in between the words! It really captures the reader. And the subject matter… whoa.. did not expect it at all! Thank you<3

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I adore reading your reviews. You pack so much enthusiasm into your words! ❀ The idea of curses has always fascinated me. I think, to a great extent, we make our own luck. If someone plants the idea of a curse into our head, we're always going to blame any bad event on the supposed 'curse' because as humans, we have this urge to know why. Why do bad things happen to good people? When we can't answer that question, we turn to supernatural ideas instead. Speaking of family curses, have you ever read about the supposed Kennedy family curse? Now that's pretty interesting!
    This sounds like an awesome read. I think books that explore mental health are so very important. They normalize it in the sense that it assures people that there's nothing wrong with talking about mental health openly. Mental health is just as important as physical health and the less stigma there is, the more people will feel comfortable in getting help.
    Great review! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you! πŸ™‚ Making me blush, so you are with your kindness πŸ™‚
      Love your thoughts on curses… it’s just human behaviour isn’t it- to explain away everything and in the process we start to believe the most unbelievable things… but in a way- whatever helps, I guess…
      Kennedy family curse? No, can’t say I’ve heard of it.. I must go googling πŸ™‚

      Absolutely… and when mental health is done *well* in a book, it’s even more impactful… Sometimes, it’s done wrong or without tact, but in this case… what a punch this book packs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just saying it how it is πŸ˜€
        I was listening to an episode of a podcast called Lore which was talking about curses and the psychology behind them. It was really fascinating!
        Ah yeah, the Kennedy curse. We only really hear about JFK, but that entire family had a string of misfortunes! It makes for a tragic really 😦
        Yeah, I’ve read books where someone with mental health issues is portrayed as a ‘nutjob’ or ‘crazy’ and it’s like, no, they’re ill. Mental health issues are just as relevant as any other health problem and should be treated with the same respect!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lore? Interesting… I’m really bad at listening to podcasts πŸ˜› I’m one of those people that can only keep attention while reading- even demos of products in video form is like.. nah, I rather read a 53 page document on it πŸ˜€ odd, me! But I’ll have to check this one out and catch up on YOUR podcasts, too…

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          • I did have to train myself to actually pay attention when listening to podcasts, I will be honest. It’s so easy to let your mind wander! I find they’re good to listen to when doing housework because housework doesn’t take too much attention! πŸ˜€

            Liked by 1 person

            • Exactly- mind wanders! and during housework I like angry metal- it helps to get the chores done quicker when I’m pissed off :d hahaha Not even kidding you… It’s usually Slipknot’s People= Sh*t or Cannibal Corpse blaring through the speakers…

              Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant review!! Another book that sounds fantastic!! I like going into books like this knowing as little as possible- so thank you for keeping lots of plot points quiet. I like the sound of the tone and atmosphere. It sounds like I’d be in for an intense emotional journey if I read this- it’s going on my tbr for sure!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucky you for getting a paperback copy! I’ve been wanting to get my hands on a copy ever since I read the first glowing review, and reading your review only makes me want to do so even more. Excellent review!

    Like

  5. This sounds like an awesome read if it made you feel so much! I really like the cover and the synopsis but not the part about it being too emotional to handle… I just don’t want to fall apart! XD I’ll keep it in mind for the future, though. Sounds really, really good.
    Amazing review, Liz! πŸ™‚

    Like

  6. This sounds good , Putting it on my TBR and being Vigilant about it’s possible presence in the book stores near me .

    Side Note: Whats with most book blurbs now happening to have the lead character “coming to terms with their past” “meeting their past” “facing their past” etc etc .Don’t mind me I’m Just thinking out loud here

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, cool.. glad I managed to get you interested in this one πŸ™‚

      Ha, I think there tends to be a trend with books every year.. last year most books were about fire and ash and ice and princesses… this year it’s all about past! I wonder what it’ll be next year? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great review, Liis! It sounds like this book might be more of a mystery than a thriller, would you agree? I am certainly intrigued, but I am wary of thrillers (as I’m sure you know by now). It’s obvious the twist really captured you based purely on how you gushed about it above. I wonder if I could figure it out before the 80% mark… πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was already on my Goodreads “looks interesting” shelf because of Danielle’s review, but I think I will bump it up to my “to read” shelf. Gosh, for it to really hit you in the gut like that, I have to read it. Thanks again for a review that was also an enjoyable read. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! I wanted to read the book as soon as I saw Danielle’s review… and it absolutely did not disappoint… one of those books that will stay with you a long time and on a subject- relating to mental health- that is easy to get wrong but in this case, nailed it!

      Like

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