Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Actual Rating: 3.75
*Thank you to Hideaway Fall for sending me a free copy and exchange for an honest review!*
This book was completely different from what I had expected. Several Goodreads users have filed this under horror, mystery, or fantasy, but to be honest I’m not sure I would put it in any of those categories. There was a Gothic twist to it, but the book also felt a bit contemporary. Overall, it was different from anything I’ve heard ever read before.
Broken Branches follow Ian Perkins. It takes place on two timelines: one of them surrounds Ian with his wife Rachel and their son Harry, as they go through their ups and downs. The second one follows young Ian’s memories, and how his interactions with his brother Stuart became just a bit out of ordinary. But of course, the star of the show is the family curse – if there is one. It began with the tree in front of the family cottage, and apparently has affected the Perkins family for generations. Ian is determined to get to the bottom of where it came from so he can figure out what it could possibly do to his own life, but there’s more than meets the eye.
The ending for this was really what made me bump my rating up to a four star. Because the story jumped between the two timelines, the plot was a bit confusing for me. I had no trouble understanding which timeline we were reading from, but the back-and-forth was a bit hard to follow and sometimes I forgot what had happened prior. Overall however the plot was also a bit slow, but I enjoyed the atmosphere that this created, which was a mix of more serious moments and some domestic dialogue.
The characters were great. There were lots to keep track of, but I thought that the main character developed especially well. I liked how the author touched upon different themes, such as family.
The writing style was definitely another very powerful part of this book and it was perhaps my favorite. There was great use of metaphorical and figurative language and I thought that those really brought the story together and gave it the mood that it had throughout. The writing style was definitely what kept me on my toes.
I was definitely anxiously flipping the pages because I wanted to know where the story was headed. Overall I would recommend this book to anybody who wanted a contemporary story with a gothic twist. It was a pretty quick read but I thoroughly enjoyed it and I thought it was unique not only in style but also an execution.