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Our Review

‘Love. Such a small, yet utterly terrifying word.’

This is our first book by Nicola Haken, and we were completely slayed by James and Theo’s powerful, emotional, intense, sincere and upfront story. A heavy, yet incredibly rewarding read in which Nicola Haken perfectly captured a love story that was as beautiful as it was painful, all done without romanticising James’ mental illness, instead, writing his character with heartbreaking honesty and sensitivity.

‘….broken crayons can still colour.’

We’ve had this book on our radar for a while and were in the mood for a read to hit our hearts and make us feel! Well, this book ticked those boxes. Yes, it crushed us, and we openly wept many times throughout, wishing and hoping with everything in us that Theo and James would find their way.

Theodore Davenport starts a new job at Holden House Publishing and meets his boss, the grumpy, cocky and obnoxious, James Holden under rather hot and heavy circumstances. It’s a meeting that was meant to be a one-night stand but would have an immense effect on both men’s lives.

“Stay with me, Theodore,” he murmurs. “No matter how hard I push, stay with me. Believe in me.”

Mental illness is a very difficult subject to cover, especially in a romantic nature, and so often we’re disappointed when such an important subject is trivialised, thereby lessening the impact of the characters struggle on the reader, but not so in Broken. Nicola Haken is sometimes brutal in ensuring James’s story portrays the chaos, sadness, loneliness, anger, and confusion of his illness. Yet, as brutal as it was, we were never without hope that his feelings for the upbeat Theo would prevail. We had to hold onto that hope because so many times our hearts were decimated for both men. One dealing with the confusion in his head, the other, dealing with the confusion in his heart.

‘Taking his face in my hands, I kiss him. I kiss him because he needs it. I kiss him because I need it. I kiss him because it feels right.’

As James opened up about his past, we experienced all Theo’s emotions firsthand. Heartbreak, anger and overwhelming sadness for a man who had suffered so much. The emotion and sadness are peppered with witty banter between Theo and James, and sizzling chemistry explodes off the pages.

‘My life is hard, dark, complicated. Theodore’s isn’t, and I don’t want to take that from him.’

The secondary characters were wonderful. From Theo’s friendship with Tess, James’s relationship with his brother and his love for his sassy little niece Isobel, to Theo’s Mum and brother, bringing another layer to the true emotions and moments as we uncover James’ demons.

“We’ll take it one breath, one moment . . . one kiss at a time.”

A moving, sad, hopeful and beautiful MM love story that really touched our hearts. Nicola Haken’s writing was sublime, perfectly executed with so much depth and honesty that took our breath away. Many times, we’re told a character is ‘broken’ yet we don’t experience it. Well, we experienced each powerful moment in Broken, a story we won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

‘I’m not insane, just…sad.’

 

 

 

Synopsis

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.

Broken.

Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?

Please note:This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.

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