Book Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee
There has been a lot of buzz about Broken Branches, the first offering from new publisher Hideaway Fall, and it’s a book worth talking about. A suspenseful psychological thriller, the book follows Ian Perkins, a young father who inherits Cobweb Cottage, his family’s historic home, after his brother’s untimely death.
Tragedy has haunted the Perkins family for generations, and Ian is convinced that there is a family curse. He sets out to prove its existence, but will the proof come at the cost of his own sanity?
Broken Branches is part psychological thriller, part ghost story, and we’re never sure just how much of the events are taking place inside Ian’s mind until the superb twist at the book’s ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but it really is one that’s not easy to see coming. M. Jonathan Lee does a superb job of building up the sense of mystery and suspense, never letting out too many clues as the reader is taken along for the ride. While the story does switch between past and present events, I felt that the transitions were done smoothly and I never had an issue in telling where I was in the context of the story.
I enjoyed Broken Branches, but it’s not without fault. There is a section at the beginning of Chapter 13 where the tenses seem to get a bit muddled, the descriptions of Cobweb Cottage veering between present and past. Since I received the print edition for review some months before publication, I’ll hope those errors are fixed by the time of the final release.
The story has its slow spots, and I would have liked to see more of Ian’s past with Rachel and their early married life before they moved to Cobweb Cottage. Really, this reads a little more like literary fiction, with its slower pace and more minute examinations, than the fast pacing one usually expects from a psychological suspense thriller.
I’m giving Broken Branches four stars, and I’m intrigued to see what Hideaway Fall come up with as their next offering!
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher.