Book Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

BrokenBranchesAbout the Book

Publisher’s description: ‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

Format: Paperback Publisher: Hideaway Fall Pages: 294
Publication: 27th July 2017 Genre: Mystery    

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My Review

This is the first title from newly established publishers, Hideaway Fall, and I must say they have come up with a cracker.

Following his marriage to Rachel and the birth of his son, Harry, Ian Perkins has unexpectedly returned to the isolated cottage where he spent his childhood. Despite the idyllic sounding location, the giant sycamore in the garden exercises a brooding presence over the cottage. Could this be the source of the curse that has been the cause of such tragedy for the Perkins’ family over the years?

Early in the book, we find out the circumstances surrounding Ian’s return to the cottage but this is not the only “incident” that appears to be occupying his mind and causing difficulties in his marriage. For Ian, his son, Harry, is the only bright presence in a house seemingly overwhelmed by depression and inertia. The author brilliantly depicts Ian’s obsessive search to prove that the curse exists and so provide a reason for the tragedies the family has experienced. After all, if there is indeed a curse, then no-one else can be to blame, can they?

Alternating between the present day as Ian searches for answers, and scenes from Ian’s troubled childhood, the author creates an unsettling atmosphere with a distinctly gothic feel. I’m not going to say much more for fear of spoilers but I suggest Broken Branches is best read in the daytime with other people in the house (who are meant to be there).

I received an advance reader copy courtesy of publishers, Hideaway Fall, in return for an honest review.

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In three words: Creepy, unsettling, intense

Try something similar…The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (contemporary option) or Casting the Runes by M. R. James (classic option)

MJonathanLeeAbout the Author

M. Jonathan Lee was born in Yorkshire, England where he still lives to this day. When not writing, you’ll find him at the back door thinking.  His first novel, The Radio, was nationally shortlisted in the Novel Prize 2012. Broken Branches is his fourth novel.

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