Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee published 27 July

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Synopsis

Ian Perkins his wife Rachel and son Harry, inherit Cobweb Cottage after a family tragedy.  The cottage and farm land are held in family trust and are passed on to the eldest son in each generation.  But in each generation there seems to be tragedy, which Ian believes to be the Perkins’ family curse, a tale told to him by his father.  After the latest family tragedy, Ian becomes obsessed with the family curse and decides to trace his family tree to prove to his wife that the curse does exist, at the detriment of his relationship.  Do curses exist, and can Ian prove his family is cursed?

 

Review

Broken Branches is a part psychological thriller, part ghost story.  The narrative is split into two different timelines, the present as we follow Ian and his research into the curse and the problems in his life, and in the past, Ian’s childhood in the cottage.  This is not a narrative where a lot happens, most of it is Ian’s thoughts and musings as he puts together his family tree and researches the curse.  Even in his childhood, it revolves around his relationship with his father a brother an eventual estrangement from his family.

Throughout the book there is a sense of foreboding, as if you know that the Ian is not telling the full story;  I liken it to going down step by step down into a dark cellar, you know that with each step you are getting closer to the darkness and what is waiting there.  The suspense and tension are kept throughout as we learn more about Ian and his state of mind, and his family.  However, if I am honest, the plot didn’t totally grip me.  I found some of the narrative flat and tedious, with so little plot line I began to loose interest by half way through the book.  What brought my rating up from three, to a four book rating was M Jonathan Lee’s writing style. I loved his metaphors taking in the tree and its branches representing the Perkins family.  The characters in the book are well developed and had a sense of verisimilitude.  Mental illness is very much in the headlines at the moment, and M Jonathan Lee showed a knowledge of the subject and how the sufferersare able to rationalise their behaviour.  This was particularly evident in Ian’s character, I can’t comment too much as I never include spoilers in my reviews, but as a suffer of clinical depression I felt the  subject was dealt with great empathy.

Broken Branches is a great  combination of a psychological thriller and a ghost story, that has a dark undercurrent full of foreboding and suspense.

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Jules

Hi, I am an avid reader and have been all my life. I put it down to being an only child and having a teacher for a mum. The idea of this blog is to share my passion for reading and review new and upcoming books as well as those that may have been out for several years. I also review on Twitter @Bookliterat

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