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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Broken Open by Lauren Dane

Wow. What a good book this was. Broken Open is a story about life-altering choices, anguish, healing, and being brave enough to let yourself actually be in love. It has a fantastic cast of characters but centers around the main protagonists Tuesday and Ezra. On a quick side note, I'm giving a thumbs up just for the names alone! I love that these aren't names that we see all of the time in romance. They're unique enough without sounding forced or silly.

Broken Open isn't a roller coaster of thrills or highly manufactured drama that exists just for the sake of drama. In fact, there isn't any real outside conflict that threatens our would-be couple. It's all internal, and that's okay. When you read Broken Open what you'll get is a story about two people who are attracted to each other and aren't afraid to acknowledge that attraction and chemistry. The characters
already know one another to some extent, having already met in The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Brothers Book 1). Although I haven't read the first book (I'll be fixing that), I easily picked up what I needed to know about the story. Ezra is the oldest of the Hurley boys, a group of rancher/rock stars whose band goes by the name of Sweet Hollow Ranch (that's the name of their ranch also btw). Ezra is a fantastic character and the author writes him in a way that's absolutely delicious. No, really... I basically want to rub all over this character like a cat (don't judge!). He's strong in that he is a man who carries responsibility on his shoulders and is the one that his family turns to when in need. He's sexually dominating in bed, but not in a scary or creepy way. He has a soft side also that is reflected in the pets that he keeps and in the love that he has for his family. Ezra also has a dark and extremely ugly past that he's not only ashamed of, but still very much feels the filth of. He carries with him the fear and horror of what it not only did to him as a person but what it could have done and could potentially still do to his family.

Tuesday is a young widow, still coping with the tragic death of her husband and the close relationship that they shared. She feels guilt because of the intensity of her feelings for Ezra, yet she can't deny or ignore those feelings. Her best friend is the dating Ezra's brother and their story is shared in Book 1 of the series. I imagine this is when Tuesday and Ezra meet considering that Tuesday and Natalie are roommates and best friends since college. Although Ezra is a rock star and a rancher, Tuesday isn't just a poor fan or a woman in need of a male who will raise her status in life. She owns her own art gallery and jewelry business and is expanding it. While Ezra has a wonderfully close family, we also get to meet Tuesday's family and discover they are equally as close-knit and loving. I've read a lot of books that make one family a jealous, hateful wreck in order to highlight just how loving and accepting the other family is. Not the case here. Both families also accept the interracial aspect and treat it as a non-issue. The book doesn't entirely ignore race relations, however. There is a scene in which racism does pop up its ugly head. It was unexpected and only a very minor part of the story, but it fit and made sense that the author would include it. I may not want a book to dwell on it (racism), but I don't want them to totally ignore the fact that it's still alive today. It's unfortunate, but it's there. The author pulled off this small dose of reality wonderfully and in a way that wasn't heavy handed.

I mentioned the cast of characters and I have to speak a bit more on that. I think readers will enjoy the interaction between the supporting characters. They are primarily members of Ezra's family and they are an important part of understanding the main characters better. Although they appear frequently in the book, it doesn't ever take away from Tuesday and Ezra's romance.

Broken Open was a pleasure to read and I'm glad that I came across it. The characters have their issues, but they handle them like adults and the plot never turns into silly melodrama. If you're looking for a book that features regular (more or less) people who are dealing with past mistakes and unfortunate turns of fate, I highly recommend this book. I'm giving Broken Open a 4 out of 5 rating.

*A review copy was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest and fair review*

Rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: Dec. 01, 2014
Pages: 384

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