Broken by Megan Hart

My name is different every month—Brandy, Honey, Amy…sometimes Joe doesn't even bother to ask—but he never fails to arouse me with his body, his mouth, his touch, no matter what I'm called or where he picks me up. The sex is always amazing, always leaves me itching for more in those long weeks until I see him again.
My real name is Sadie, and once a month over lunch Joe tells me about his latest conquest. But what Joe doesn't know is that, in my mind, I'm the star of every X-rated one-night stand he has revealed to me, or that I'm practically obsessed with our imaginary sex life. I know it's wrong. I know my husband wouldn't understand. But I can't stop. Not yet.


Broken is an erotic novel by Megan Hart. You may have seen it in a bookstore, found it from an internet search engine if you requested books to read after the phenomenon called Fifty Shades of Grey, or had it recommended by a likeminded internet friend.

First of all, Broken is much more than an erotic novel. Yes, there are lemons, and lots of them. I think "haunting," "beautiful," and "poignant" are more appropriate adjectives. It's the kind of book that stays with you long after you've turned the last page.

Keep reading after the jump




Broken begins with a hookup between Mary and Joe. Mary is an inexperienced young woman who has never gone to bed with a man, and she's chosen a stranger named Joe to lose her virginity to. Once the deed is done, and she "got it over with" she becomes very uncomfortable with the intimacy with a stranger and quickly leaves, leaving a bemused Joe behind. We then become aware that Joe is actually retelling this story to a friend. This friend who is not quite a friend. She is a acquaintenance who sits on the same bench as Joe once a month at lunchtime. The story, which is told from first person point-of-view, Mary's point-of-view, is done so because the woman, Sadie, has imagined herself as Mary.

"This was my role, disinterested observer, as his was playful rogue."

Slowly, we learn more about Sadie. In college, she meets a handsome graduate student, Adam, and they fall in love. At this point, I started to wonder what had happened. Why does Sadie meet Joe and listen to his stories? She seemed to have met the man of her dreams in Adam. Ms. Hart takes her time filling the reader in on pieces to the puzzle. A tragic accident leads to a paradigm shift in the life Sadie and Adam could have shared together. A successful career counseling others and a home life filled with sacrifice and servitude leaves Sadie as a very lonely woman. Her monthly interludes with Joe become an escape from reality she desperately needs. Gradually, Sadie becomes jealous of Joe's women, as she becomes more and more invested in her romantic feelings for him.

Sadie spends her life wearing a mask, both in her home life and in her professional life. Eventually, the mask begins to crack, after years of living with a husband who, although he loves her, is bitter, demanding and completely helpless. Resentment, frustration, guilt and anger are felt by both, as they erect walls as a defence against a cruel reality.

I have to say, this part of the story is heartbreaking. I can't imagine the guilt Sadie feels living vicariously through Joe's women, as he tells his tales of conquest. Adam, who's brain works perfectly fine, even if his body does not, is no idiot. He notices that Sadie spends a little more time on her appearance once a month. He halfheartedly confronts her about this, but really doesn't want to know the answer. I think it's perfectly human for Adam and Sadie to both love and hate each other. Tied to each other out of need, duty, obligation, their reality is far different than the expectations they had when they married.

"I know that life is full of precious and fragile things, and not all of them are pretty."

Broken is the kind of story that makes you question your own morality. Sadie's emotional infidelity could have been a dealbreaker for me, because deep down I disapproved of her actions. But I understand why she allowed herself to fall in love with Joe. Who am I to judge?

Of the many books I've read this year, Broken stands out as one of my favorites. If you knew how many books I've actually read, you'd realize this is high praise indeed. I couldn't stop thinking about it, and went back several times to reread certain passages. I did get a lump in my throat once or twice, although I'll never admit to ugly crying.

Megan Hart has written a number of other books, and while each can stand alone, some characters from one book can pop up in another. Chronologically, they are:

Dirty (2007)
Broken (2007)
Tempted (2008)
Everything Changes (novella)
Reason Enough (novella)
Stranger (2009)
Deeper (2009)
Switch (2009)
Naked (2009)
Collide (2011)
The Space Between Us (2012)

I've read several of these, and while Broken remains my favorite, I'll always be happy to cozy up with one of her books.

Megan, you're on my radar now.

Comments

  1. Great review, Donna!
    I LOVED this book, and you're 100% right, it does stay with you long after you finish reading it. I had to do a re-read as soon as I was done. I couldn't leave Sadie and Joe behind just yet.

    It's the kind of book that makes you question yourself. What would I do in her situation? It's so easy to judge, sure, but if you were in her shoes, could you blame her? It makes you think... one of the many reasons I loved it. :-)

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  2. This really makes me want to read this Donna!! Wow... great review. This is definitely going on my TBR list.

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  3. Thank you! I really loved this book, and I have Merit to thank. She's the one who recommended it to me, and I am so glad she did.

    I said I wouldn't admit to ugly crying, but I came pretty damn close.

    Oh, and I just read her new book, The Stranger Between Us, and Sadie, Joe and another character show up. I really like how she has secondary/perIpheral characters in one book appear in other books. I know some of these side characters will eventually get their own books, and some of her other characters will just, like in Sadie's case, show up in the coffee shop which is one of the main settings in TSBU.



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  4. Donna! Wonderful review, you said it all, and no,I didn’t cry,tears were flowing freely down my face a few times.Jaym,the story stayed with me a long time ,with the same question.
    I read Dirty and Tempted, I will read more of her books, they all raise some kind of moral questions besides being hot and sexy with a thread of melancholy and a lot of emotions.
    “There seemed to be so much to say, but no words adequate to say it.”
    Broken.

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  5. Great review! This book has received a lot of praise from the Wenches, and I've been intrigued, but it sounded so profoundly depressing that I've put it off. Your review just intrigues me all the more. I hardly ever ugly cry in books (Outlander being the exception), but I plan to keep tissues nearby for this one, because I think it's gonna get to me.

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  6. Donna, wonderful review. You have made the book sound like something I might want to read. Will have to add it to my tbr list.

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  7. I love your review, Donna! I enjoyed this book immensely. Very sexy, very emotional, and it gives lots to think about. I am interested in the new book just to see Sadie and Joe again, even if briefly.

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  8. Loved your review, Donna! I just want to grab the book and start reading right away. Not to happy about needing a box of tissues, but I'll cope. I think.

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  9. I finally read this book and loved it! I did not cry as much as I expected to, which I am not complaining about, but it is very moving. I plan to read more of her books.

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