28 May 2014

Book Review: The Broken by Tamar Cohen

"Best friends tell you everything; about their kitchen renovation; about their little girl's schooling. How one of them is leaving the other for a younger model.

Best friends don't tell lies. They don't take up residence on your couch for weeks. They don't call lawyers. They don't make you choose sides

Best friends don't keep secrets about their past. They don't put you in danger.

Best friends don't always stay best friends."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The Broken as a hardback or an eBook now.

I am a huge fan of Tamar Cohen's books - in fact, I have read everything she has written and had published to date Her books are not fluffy chick lit - quite the opposite in fact. They're dark, sinister and always have a bit of a thriller element to them, you never know what her characters are going to do next! The synopsis for her new book The Broken sounded like it was going to be another corker - and I wondered where Tamar would be able to take this one, and how she could hook me in this time! Of course, she didn't fail to do so and I was hooked until I turned the final page... here's why!

Dan and Sasha, Josh and Hannah are 2 sets of couples and also best friends. They have daughters that are the same age, live relatively near each other in London, and know the ins and outs of each others lives, always there when the other needs a hand. But when Dan shockingly confesses late one to Josh that he is leaving his wife, Josh and Hannah don't quite know what to do. Sasha turns up on their doorstep late one night, sobbing, and they're torn - which friend do they side with after all this time? Dan expects them to understand that Sasha is high-maintenance and he can't take it anymore, but Sasha wants their support for being abandoned when she saw nothing wrong in their marriage. Josh and Hannah struggle to choose sides, and it ends up with them in conflict too, perhaps exposing sides of their own marriage they'd rather not explore - will these best friends be able to stay best friends when all is said and done?

Goodness me, I did love this book! The subject of splitting up is one often covered in chick lit, but Tamar Cohen has put a real twist in it with this book. It examines the darker and more sinister side of a marriage break up, and how it can drive us to actions we wouldn't normally consider, but also how it affects our friendships and leaves those closer to us in a difficult position too. The book opens with the revelation of Dan leaving his wife, so we don't get to see anything of Sasha and Dan as a couple, leaving you to make your own mind up about what they are like together, and if they could make their marriage work for the sake of themselves, or for their daughter. You're left wondering throughout the book whether they will make it, what Sasha will do next, and whether Dan will decide he has made the wrong decision, and I loved that I wasn't ever sure it was all over.

The characters were brilliantly written, each very flawed and exposed as people. Sasha was entirely unhinged, the more psychotic one of the group who is really struggling with the end of her marriage, understandly so of course. However, she does become somewhat crazed, and I was left on tenterhooks wondering what crazy stunt she'd pull next, she was brilliantly crazy. Dan was a bit of a slimeball at first, someone I struggled to warm to but as the story went on, I did feel sorry for him when Sasha started going after him, he seemed like he was the victim even though he had walked away from the marriage. Josh is hiding a secret throughout the book, something that isn't revealed until the end and I thought it was well-handled by Cohen, a delicate issue that can happen all too easily these days and I felt Josh was written so well in dealing with the stress of it. Hannah was another I struggled to warm to, I felt she sided too easily with Sasha despite her actions and how her friend was with her, I felt she needed to grow a bit of a backbone and stand up for her own opinion and not be led by Sasha.

What intrigued me most was the little diary-like entries in between chapters of the book by another character. These were really intriguing because we have no idea who this person is, and what they are going on about, quite frankly. When it was revealed at the end, I was really shocked and struggled to get my head around it exactly, it was a bit confusing. It certainly throws the whole story on its head and makes you think again about all the opinions you've formed all the way through the book, it was very clever.

The book was a superb read, with lots of tension and darkness throughout, leaving you wondering which of the couples, if any would make it through this troubled time. I felt like I was supposed to feel sorry for Sasha in parts, you sense that her childhood wasn't idyllic and she craves affection and attention from those around her to substitute for something, but I just couldn't, she wasn't very likeable for me. The emotional scenes are so well written, from grief to out and out hysterics from some, and just genuine shock comes across so well on the page, you're inevitably hooked in and emotionally connected to the characters. It's a very realistic book, a situation that so many of us could find ourselves in and you can't help but wonder what you would do if you were put in the impossible situation that Josh and Hannah found themselves in. It's a brilliant psychological thriller of a novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you like a story that's gritty, with lots of suspense and a dark side to it, then you should certainly read a copy of The Broken soon!

1 comment:

  1. I really want to read this book now, great review! I also love Tamar Cohen's books!