Title: Broken Branches
Author: M. Jonathan Lee
Setting: English countryside
Publisher: Hideaway Falls
Source: from the publisher
Overall Rating: 3/5 stars
Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
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.
I really don’t know what to say about this book! I liked it, but at the same time, it was greatly disturbing. Which, seeing as it’s somewhat of a horror story (at least until that last plot twist), is probably a bit of a compliment.
Also, I was a bit annoyed by the cussing. It wasn’t really the number so much as the fact that the words were F-bombs, which is not something I like to read. However, I understand that this is an adult, non-Christian book, and I can’t expect it to be picture-perfect clean.
It was so confusing. I’m not sure if I quite understood what the whole thing was about! It skipped back and forth between the main character’s childhood, his adulthood, various instances in his life, etc. It even hopped forward a couple times! I couldn’t follow it!
Basically, confusing … but also intriguing. I enjoyed the final plot twist. The following paragraph is full of spoilers:
It turns out that all the ghosts, horror, etc. were just the main character’s attempt to delay the inevitable grief caused by his son’s death. This was confusing at first – I mean, the whole direction of the book changes after this revelation, making it no longer a horror story but the story of a father recovering from the loss of his son – but I eventually realized it was quite genius!
(End of spoilers)
Ian, his wife, and his son were all quite vivid. In fact, the characters were all very well done. This was probably one of the story’s strongest points. I felt really bad for Ian, especially towards the end when I realized that he’d be (spoilers) living in a delusion for so long! (end of spoilers)
Beautiful description of the English countryside, creepy as its beauty can sometimes become for Ian Perkins. I felt like the setting was very well-portrayed. It was almost like watching a movie sometimes.
Except for the fact that I was oftentimes confused (and annoyed by the language, which, again, was something I kinda-sorta expected), it was well-written. I did enjoy the author’s voice.
Language: about five f-bombs, maybe d**n a couple times, and then oh my g*d three or four time.
Violence: mentions of dying, sometimes in violent ways. Mentions of a dog being hung (don’t ask). Descriptions of open coffins with various people in them. A semi-detailed description of a child being run over by a car. Basically, a lot of scary, ghostly stuff (though it ends up its all in Ian’s imagination).
Sexual: mentions of birth control, trying to conceive (few to no details), pregnancy and birth. A mention of a baby conceived out of wedlock. A married couple doesn’t share a room.
Other: lots of talk about curses, a lot of creepy stuff, thematic elements, scary ghosts, open coffins, etc. All your average horror stuff.
Not recommended for most teens. Older teens proceed with caution.
Great story for lovers of horror, paranormal, and family relationships as well as generational curses. Still, not recommended for teens or sensitive readers. It is quite scary and disturbing, and extremely confusing.
Do you enjoy horror/paranormal stories? This isn’t a genre I usually read. Does a crazily-confusing plot turn you away or make you want to solve it like a second Sherlock Holmes? What are your thoughts on wild plot twists that change the entire direction of the story?