Lauren Layne’s New Adult novel tells the story of a girl with secrets, a guy with scars, and a love that could save them both… or destroy them.
When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.
Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.
Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?
“The reason I’m leaving New York has nothing to do with the goodness of my heart and everything to do with the wretchedness of it.”
I was really happy to start reading this book. Isn’t She Lovely really made me melt and made me curious about the little trio between Ethan, Olivia and Micheal. And I really wasn’t disappointed by Broken.
“You always imagine that you’re going to be the good girl everybody roots for. You imagine that right up until the very second when you’re not the good girl.”
With this book, I really got to meet Olivia. In Ethan’s book, I wasn’t really sure if I liked the Olivia introduced there. Of course it had to do with the fact that I saw her through Stephanie’s eyes but I didn’t really get to know her character. And in Broken, I really got to meet a “new” Olivia and I really liked her. She really surprised me in a good way because the moment she leaves New York, she really grows into herself and doesn’t act like the little good girl that everyone is used to. She becomes this independent woman, who won’t take the shit from Paul or anyone, but manages to stay a kind and caring person.
“What I did was beyond heinous. All I wanted was to take her in my arms, lay her on the bed, and just be with another human being, and for that reason, more than any other, I was cruel. Cruel even by my standards, and I didn’t even realize I had those anymore. A part of me is racked with guilt. The other knows that it’s better for her to find out now that I’m a monster.”
Paul was also a great character. Darker and rougher around the edges but still very lovable. It was really interesting to see Olivia get through to him and reach him when no one ever really did since he got back from war. And he also has serious self-worth issues to resolve which made it sometimes hard to get through to him, even though you get where those come from. But Olivia didn’t allow him to wallow is self pity and hatred like everyone else did and that made the difference. Seeing the two of them healing each other was very sweet and moving.
“The truth is, everything about Paul Langdon plain pisses me off and I lost my temper. I didn’t even know I had a temper.”
They both had a revealing effect on each other, as if but pushing each other’s button, they forced each other to reveal who they really where and not what they wanted other people to see.
“I have a serious lady bone for the guy I’m supposed to work for.”
But I loved the instant connection and chemistry between Paul and Olivia and except for the scene at the 18% mark, their attraction to each other felt very natural.
Also there were moments when things went a little too fast between Paul and Olivia for me to not roll my eyes (I’m thinking about the scene at the 18% mark) I thought the book was well paced. It never felt rushed or dragging and the way Olivia and Paul fell for each other felt very natural.
“Caring about a war veteran isn’t about philanthropy. It’s about penance.”
This book was full of funny moments as well as very moving ones. It never felt overdone, or cliché to me and I really enjoyed this story from beginning to end. Olivia and Paul both fight their demons in this book and try to figure out what is the next step in their lives. It was really moving to see Olivia try to forgive herself for the mistake she made and the people she hurt while she was trying to figure things out for herself and Paul’s struggle to find a reason to live when all his friends didn’t was also beautiful to see, even if it wasn’t easy. They both tried to flee their problems before they realized that they needed to face them and they did so together in order to move on with their lives.
“No matter where I look, my walls are crumbling, and this damned girl keeps presenting me with the most dangerous element of all. Hope.”
And even though this book stays in the realm of the sweet, easy romance, there were still moments that were very hard to read because of Paul. He spend so much time hating the world and himself that the moment he is out of his comfort zone, he lashes out on the people around him and he knows exactly what to say or do to hit where it hurts. And he does so with Olivia more than once. Those where the difficult part of the book, because you knew it was Paul’s way of protecting himself but you also know that he’s a good guy and that he’ll regret it.
“I feel a punch of (…) longing for her, and her laughter, and the way she expects good things of me because she thinks I’m good.”
This book was a lovely tail about learning to love and forgive yourself, and learning to love someone else and wanting to better for this person. I loved this book and I highly recommend it to readers in general but also to lovers of Lauren Layne’s books.
I had a great time reading this book and am really looking forward to Micheal’s book, Crushed.