Title: Broken Branches
Author: M. Johnathan Lee
Publisher: Hideaway Fall
Release Date: 27 July 2017
Format: Paperback Arc
Reading Challenges: 2017 New Release, COYER
Broken Branches by M. Johnathan Lee is the kind of story that slowly pulls the reader in and holds them captive to end.
What the story is about.
Following a family tragedy, Ian Perkins returned to his childhood home. Since then things have not been the same. His marriage is crumbling, and he is convinced the curse that has been affecting the Perkins family for over a century is the root. He is determined to prove to his wife and himself that the curse exists, but at what cost.
The title is befitting of the story. Not only does it refers to the huge Sycamore tree located near Cobweb Cottage, it also speaks to the broken branches of the Perkins family. For each generation of the family, there are members who distance themselves from their relatives and things were no different for Ian. If it were not for the tragedy, he would not have returned to his roots.
The story began on an intriguing note. The manner in which the author described the Sycamore tree was both creepy and electrifying. It peaked my curiosity and compelled me to keep reading. The story moved at a slow pace, but strangely, I was not bored. I believe this was due mostly in part to the writing. In addition, my curiosity to discover the outcome of Ian’s research and to get an explanation for the activities that appeared to be supernatural compelled me to finish reading this book. At around the last twenty percent of the book, I found myself eagerly turning the pages as things became more transparent. I have to say I was not expecting that outcome.
The story alternated between the past and the present, which was not a problem, however, the execution was confusing. No warning was given when the switch would occur.
Although the characters displayed a wide range of emotions, I had difficulty connecting with them. I managed to develop an affinity with Ian, as his paranoia, fears and obsession leapt off the pages. There were moments when I questioned his sanity. I wondered if the events were real or if it was all in his head.
His relationship with his wife is suffering. They barely speak to each other. This is due in part to Ian’s obsession with proving his family is cursed. The light in his life is his son Harry, but eventually, he too was pushed to the background as Ian’s obsession grew.
The story touched on the issues of mental health, suicide and grief. It shows how tragedy can tear apart families and if not handled well. I had a few questions. I was hoping to discover what led to the strained relationship between Ian and his brother. I noticed that this was a trend throughout the generations.
Overall, I found the story entertaining and it kept me guessing to the end. I am glad that I got the opportunity to read this book.