Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 29, 2016
When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.
Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.
James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.
Just a little fun that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.
Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?
4.5 out of 5 stars
I'll be honest that I wasn't sure what to expect after reading the description for Broken. Having read Unquiet by Melanie Hansen earlier this year though, I was more prepared for what I read. There are trigger warnings or suicidal thoughts, self harm, and mental illness associated or labeled with Broken.
Broken is a very emotional story, one that is guaranteed to give you enough feels to need a box of tissues on hand. James sees himself as less than everyone else, damaged, and ultimately broken. He's suffered from mental illness since his early teens but his family didn't see it, didn't want to acknowledge it until it was in their face, and then wanted to sweep it under the run. Well at least one member of James's family felt that way. Now the head of the family publishing company, he thinks he has everything under control even without taking his medication.
Theo is a self published author who just started working for Holden House, James's publishing company. While out one night with his friends and some new co-workers Theo ends up hooking up with a David Gandy lookalike at the club. Theo's a bit freaked out with himself because he never does anything like this and then at work on Monday he finds out who his anonymous hook-up actually is...his new boss, James Holden. Theo isn't really impressed with James, thinking he's an arsehole of the first order. Then they end up spending more time with each other and things eventually change between them.
This is not a typical romance with James' mental health status, which he hides from Theo for a long time. The story is told in dual POV so you're seeing the relationship develop from both Theo and James's perspectives. It also gives you insight into bits of how James' mind is actually working, and how he is processing things as they happen. I appreciated the dual POV in this book because it allowed you to see more than just the surface issues James faced. If it had just been told from Theo's point of view, it would have still been a good story it just would have lacked the depth that James' perspective offers. I honestly would have liked to see even more from James' perspective especially in the last 30% of the book. I also would have liked to see more of James and Theo dealing with the events of the last 30% of the book. I think that would have added to the strength of their partnership.
Broken is going to be a tough book to read for a lot of people but it's a book that I would highly recommend people read because it's not your typical romance. This story isn't all cute relationship issues, it's a look at a relationship that grows and survives despite one partner dealing with mental health issues that he's not ready to control until he hits rock bottom. Once you've started Broken you're going to be sucked in to this well written, no holds barred story. If the story doesn't grab you, the characters will suck you into the book.
This is definitely one of the must read books of 2016.
“Broken is truly a remarkable book. I was blown away by it, by the raw and sincere way Ms. Haken took these men through the roller coaster of living with unrelenting demons. And now, as I sit here wondering if I have to courage to post this review, all I can think about is how far into my heart Theo and James have embedded themselves--and how I hope they never leave. I think it might be too hard to say goodbye...although maybe not as hard as it was find the words that I hope compel you to read this breathtaking book.” ~ Beth, Give Me Books
“A stunning but achingly painful read” ~ Author Sloane Kennedy
“This is an amazing book full of so much raw emotion that it gripped me and wouldn't let up. I felt like I was watching a movie in my head and I wanted to just jump in the book and give James a huge hug. Lots of FEELz in this book.. both good and bad.” ~ Alpha Book Club
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dog and cat!) She is the author the author of the m/m romance Souls of the Knight series, and is currently working on a standalone with new boys, James and Theo, due for release early 2016. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they're sleeping...