Title: Broken Branches
Author: M. Jonathan Lee
Publisher: Hideaway Fall
Publishing Date: July 27th, 2017
Number of Pages: 294
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Horror‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’
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 want to thank the publisher, Hideaway Fall, for providing me a finish copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. This, by any means, did not affect nor influence my review.**
This is told on third person’s point of view and tells the story of the main character, Ian Perkins, in the present and in the past when he was still young. This book focuses on family and a curse.
I liked how this focuses on family. It’s about digging family’s history and dealing with so many family issues or problems especially miscommunication and misunderstandings between family members. I also loved how atmospheric it was. And for a book that was set mostly on a single place – in the land owned by the Perkins and in the Cobweb Cottage inside that land – with just the same characters all throughout the story – Ian, his wife Rachel, their son Harry and some immediate family members and Ian’s ancestors – this is quite impressive. This is not boring as one would expect. This succeeded in holding onto my attention and keeping me curious. I was interested and invested enough that I had to get my own pen and write down their family tree to make it easier for me to keep track of who did what or who is the father of whom or on what generation are these persons from.
As a mystery novel, I liked it. This is the kind of book that will reveal so much more than what you would expect to get at the end. All this time, I thought this was just okay for a mystery novel because yes, I had a question in my mind that I wanted to be answered but it failed to bring the best and worst in me in solving that puzzle. Little did I know, it was already playing with me by making me think that everything is just simple.
However, as a horror novel, I wasn’t impressed. All this time, I though this is just a mystery novel until I saw it on Goodreads. And I was already closed to finishing this at that time. I mean, yes, it was creepy AT TIMES but not enough to make me feel like I am actually reading a horror novel and that I should actually expect to be scared or creep out mostly.
Aside from that, I also had other issues.
“A name – sssssstttttttrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeetttttcccccccched out – with a hopeful inflection to gauge whether they have the attention of the person they’re speaking to.”
I was shOOKT when the word stretched was literally stretched. Like the author could have just said “stretched out” because I will surely understand it without the world literally being stretched.
Some sentences also felt off for me, like they could have been told in a different way to make them sound better and well written. And there were also errors I don not know if just typographical or really grammatical which made me confused.
Lastly, it took me quite a while to fully comprehend what was happening to his wife Rachel. That was so unclear and confusing on the start.
Despite the things I didn’t like, I still enjoyed this as a whole. For someone like me who just read an adult novel after a very long time, I surprisingly enjoyed this enough. This is the type of book I would recommend for you to read in a rainy day or whenever you just want to snuggle and sip a cup of tea or coffee in a cozy night in your room or in a cabin.
M Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author who was born Yorkshire where he still lives today with his wife, children and dog, Alfie.
His debut novel, The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012. He has spoken in schools, colleges, prisons and universities about creative writing and storytelling and appeared at various literary festivals including Sheffield’s Off the Shelf and Doncaster’s Turn the Page festival.
His second novel, The Page was released in February 2015.
His much anticipated third novel, A Tiny Feeling of Fear was released in September 2015 and tells the story of a character struggling with mental illness. All profits from this novel are donated to charity to raise awareness of mental health issues. This was accompanied by the short film, Hidden which was directed by Simon Gamble and can be seen here.
In 2016, he signed for boutique publishers, Hideaway Fall and his fourth novel Broken Branches was released in July 2017, winning book of the month in Candis magazine for September.
He is a tireless campaigner for mental health awareness and writes his own column regularly for the Huffington Post. He has recently written for the Big Issue and spoken at length about his own personal struggle on the BBC and Radio Talk Europe.
His fifth book, the critically acclaimed Drift Stumble Fall is released in Spring 2018.
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Have you read Broken Branches? What’s your favorite book set in an isolated place? What’s your favorite book that focuses about family? Share your thoughts below!