More than a hundred years had passed since the single tiny seed broke free and left its home.
– Opening sentence
I didn’t know anything about Broken Branches prior to reading it, although the blurb hints about a ‘family curse’ which intrigued me a lot. Other reviewers have described Broken Branches as a mystery and/or horror – but although it tries to be a bit ‘spooky’ in places; it wasn’t enough to scare me at all and I wouldn’t characterise it as such.
The story is about a man called Ian Perkins. After the unfortunate passing of his older brother, Ian inherits his old childhood home. With his wife and young child, Ian moves into the home and makes it his mission to get to the bottom of the so-called family ‘curse’.
Ian is a realistic and relatable character, but early on it’s obvious that not everything it quite what it seems. Author M. Jonathan Lee does a good job of putting the reader on guard, without giving anything away.
At one point I found myself frustrated at the seemingly slow pace. But it wasn’t until I finished Broken Branches that I realised this was most likely intentional on Lee’s part, as he slips in subtle clues that are important yet easily overlooked by the reader.
The ending completely caught me off-guard and it wasn’t until that moment that I fully appreciated how well-written Broken Branches is. I immediately wanted to go back and re-read it, to pick up the clues I previously overlooked and appreciate the cleverness of Lee.
Broken Branches deals with topics of grief, relationships and trauma – in a way I haven’t experienced before. I began feeling nothing by empathy for Ian’s character, but as the story unfolded I began to feel frustrated by him and his “It would have to wait” excuses.
As I was reading, I sometimes found myself frustrated by the back-and-forth style of the chapters and the (in my mind) unnecessarily long back stories from Ian’s past. I must admit that it wasn’t until after I finished Broken Branches that I truly appreciated it for what it was.
I would definitely recommend Broken Branches, and advise readers to stick with it right to the very end. If you’ve already read it, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks to Hideaway Fall for sending me a copy of Broken Branches – my review, as always, is honest.(4 / 5)
– Final sentence