Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review of Broken by Lauren Layne


Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both... or destroy them.

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?

Leia's Review: 

4.5 Stars

Breathtakingly Beautiful. 
Those are easily the first two words that come to mind when I think of this book. 
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book, and honestly, I had my doubts going in. Being that I have family and close friends who have all experienced the tragedy that is the war in Afghanistan first hand, I tend to be weary of book that portray wounded soldiers. 

Olivia Middleton has been born and raised a privileged socialite in one of New York’s core families. She has been attending NYU and planning to take over her family’s business. But one mistake changes everything. Olivia is far from perfect. She makes a mistake that not only hurts her, but also her two best friends. And there is no turning back from what she has done. Even though the people in her family and those in her social circle see Olivia as a “Mother Theresa” figure, her real reason from dropping out of NYU to be a caretaker to a wounded veteran is penance for the things she has done. She thinks that in trying to help someone else heal, she can heal herself. 

Paul Langdon is not what Olivia was expecting. At only 24 years old, Paul has experienced things that are downright unspeakable. He has resigned himself to a life of seclusion. Not want to deal with how other people will react to his outer scars and not wanting to face his internal scars has left him cold, distant and bitter. His father hires Olivia to “bring him back to life”. They both get more than they bargained for. But how can two such different people have anything in common? And how are they supposed to heal when neither of them are ready to face the demons within? 

This book was profoundly different from what I expected. It made me feel so much! What Paul has faced is something that so many of us turn a blind eye to. We tend to ignore the emotional scars of war as long as someone comes home breathing. Physical scars can be healed easily enough, but when they cut deep enough the singe the soul – there is no amount of money and no plastic surgeon to repair that. The way that Olivia pushed him – refused to pity him – was a breath of fresh air for Paul. And Paul’s resistance to any kind of help, physical or emotional, has Olivia bringing out a side of herself that she didn’t know existed. Long gone is the always polite and ever-respectful socialite. 

It was wonderful to watch, page by page, as Olivia and Paul slowly grew into who they were supposed to be. Though it isn’t an easy road, neither Paul nor Olivia can give up. They each have their own reasons for sticking it out – enduring the sweet torture of spending time together. As their emotional connection slowing grows, they start to push each other away using the tactics they know best. It’s a bumpy, ugly and terrifyingly beautiful roller coaster of emotion. But you can only lead a horse to water – and you can’t force someone to change past the point they are willing. 

This is a story of acceptance. Not necessarily earning acceptance from someone else, but more learning to accept yourself and your faults. Embracing a future when the present looks bleak. Paul and Olivia’s relationship is slow building and intense. Unlike most couples, they start their relationship with their “ugly” sides. It’s not a hidden secret that they are both damaged. Their reasons, sure – those take time to reveal, but the damage is there from the start. Bold and in your face. It’s also a story of healing. Realizing that you can do things you didn’t think were possible when you are faced with the fact that the reward far outweighs the risk. I was blown away with the author’s ability to bring out such intense emotions from me. I laughed through Paul and Olivia’s witty banter. I was raging mad at some of the decisions they made. My heart broke on levels I didn’t know was possible. And I loved harder than I have in a long time – it wasn’t a pure love, untouched by ugliness – but it was a true and deep and beautiful.

So, why only 4.5 stars? My only complaint on this book was that I felt the ending was a little rushed. I would have liked to experience a little more of Paul and Olivia at that point in their relationship. That may just be me being selfish as a reader because I loved this couple so very much, but it’s true. 

In the end, I am so very thankful that I was able to experience such a gorgeous story – and I would highly recommend this book to anyone! 

I was generously provided with an ARC of this book by the author via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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