Why did I want to read it?
We are finally getting Michael’s story so of course I’m going to read this. Plus, Lauren Layne has already been cemented as one of my favorite authors of all time and I love reading everything she writes.
What worked for me?
First of all, I love Chloe’s character. Yes, there were times when I wanted her to be emotionally stronger, to be proud of herself more often, and to think that she deserves the best sometimes. But all in all, she was such a great character whose development I was absolutely invested in. She’s been in the shadow of her perfect older sister but that hasn’t really bothered her except when it came to Devon, her best friend when they were children and the love of her life since then. She’s not an introvert and she does love and appreciate herself but sometimes the weight of unrequited love can take its toll and she can only endure so much. But I love that she didn’t actively set out to get Devon from her sister all to herself. Because, cheating? Not good in my book. So I’m glad that the story didn’t go there. And while the twists and turns of this unconventional love triangle, if you could even label it that, becomes even more entangled and complicated as it transforms somehow into a love square, there are many factors that come into the equation other than love and that’s what makes it way above average.
Michael, on the other hand, was a revelation. In Isn’t She Lovely, Michael was the guy who kissed his best friend’s girlfriend (I know), who also happens to be his best friend, because they had always been the Trio. In Broken, Michael was the guy who still thought that that same girl he kissed would have the chance to fall in love with him, since he’d been in love with her for a long time, only to have that same girl fall completely in love with another man. I had been curious as to who Michael would be in his own book and can I just say, I started to see him deservedly become a hero in his own story. Because of a family secret that didn’t stayed a secret anymore, he quits his life in New York, away from his prestigious and rich family, away from his best friends who were no longer his best friends, to a life of anonymity in Cedar Grove, Texas. He coaches tennis at the country club by day and tends bars at night. He has personal motivations and an important decision to make that became less and less essential to him when got to know Chloe better and better. He’s the kind of person who sees himself as the villain in his own story, always the second choice, never the hero. And this right here just completely gets to me. And gosh, I loved that meeting Chloe was a chance to right this wicked perceptions he’s had of himself for a while now.
Their love story was relatively a slow-burn kind of romance. There was little attraction in the beginning, counting Chloe’s ogling of Michael, but in a more technical that’s-a-fine-guy-right-there way rather than omg-I’m-so-hot-for-that-guy way. But there was that connection, that thread that somehow links them together and I love that about them. I am also in love with their banters. Their banters are one of my favorite things in the book, actually. They can volley words and facial expressions back and forth like nobody’s business. Aside from the romance, to which I *sa-woon*, I love that underneath it all, there’s that friendship, that basic and yet deep understanding and acceptance of one another.
What did not work for me?
One teeny tiny small thing that I have to say on this is that many of the situations and conflict were nothing new and for a few of them, not unusual and were actually predictable. I guess that’s why I couldn’t give this book a full rating. Nevertheless, the thing with Lauren Layne’s writing and storytelling is that even with these, the story was still very good, the characterizations were still tight, so this is definitely worth reading.
My over-all take on it?
This was a great book to end this particular series. Michael and Chloe were awesome together, even when they were just friends. I love how the author explores the theme of a person’s perception of himself or herself, be it physically or emotionally and I think a lot of people would be able to relate to these characters in one way or another. This is a great addition to the Lauren Layne booklist and Ms. Lauren Layne, don’t ever stop writing books.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
Then she was like, nope, changed into her pajamas and started writing romance novels.
She believes in sarcasm, weekday happy hours, and happily ever after.
Connect with Lauren Layne:
More Lauren Layne on the blog:
Broken (Redemption #1)
Have you read any of Lauren Layne’s books before? How far do you think a character can go until he is no longer fit for redemption? Or are all main characters, for you, redeemable?