Title: Broken Silence
Author: Jade Buchanan
Cover Artist: Deana C. Jamrozs
Publisher: MLR Press
Buy Link: Amazon
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (228 pages / 64,000 words)
Rating: 3.25 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by jeayci
Review Summary: A pastel sort of story, colorful and enjoyable but surprisingly bland.
Blurb: Rich is terrified of breaking his silence, but he’ll need to decide if loving Matthew is worth the risk.
Rich Matheson has spent his entire life in Northern Ontario, and he has no intention of leaving even if it means living a lie. But, after he meets the new nurse in town Rich gets a taste of what he’s been missing. When Matthew Clark came north to care for his ailing Great-Aunt he figured he could kiss his love life goodbye. Life suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when he meets Rich, but can he have a long-term relationship with a man buried in the closet? Rich is terrified of breaking his silence, but he’ll need to decide if loving Matthew is worth the risk.
Book #2 in the Broken Trilogy
Review: Rich starts out deeply closeted and homophobic, and I can’t say I liked him much. As I got to know him better I began to sympathize with him, and I eventually started to like and root for him. I liked Matthew well enough at the beginning, and I liked him well enough at the end, but I never really had strong feelings about him. He was more a neutral sort of character, which made it a little difficult to believe that he, himself, had inflamed strong feelings in Rich. It more seemed like they had friendship, convenience, and attraction going for them, so they ended up together.
Granted, those are pretty much the basic building blocks of most relationships. But usually, in a romance, there’s more a sense of I pick you, you out of the many are the ONE for me. And I could sort of see how maybe that was how Matthew felt about Rich, but I didn’t see it as very mutual. So I enjoyed the story and Rich’s character development, but I can’t say I was really seeing fireworks.
I enjoyed the story and think it conveyed the small-townness of the setting pretty well, including that it could have been small town Canada or small town USA. What differentiated it from small town USA was that Toronto was the closest big city, and gay marriage is legal. Matthew visited Toronto a couple of times during the story, but I can’t say I had a strong sense of place. I was also distracted a fair bit by poor proofing (‘lot’s’ instead of ‘lots’, ‘refrain’ for ‘restrain’, etc.) and the occasional logical inconsistency (why would you need to get someone to pay a share of a vacation rental that you’re being given for free?).
I think this story works best as a palate-cleanser between angstier, more dramatic stories. Despite the potential in the out-for-you theme, and Rich’s initial self-hatred, there really wasn’t much angst or drama in this one. There were some interesting secondary characters, most notably (in my opinion) Rich’s sister and one of his cousins. However, there were also some characters thrown in gratuitously, like someone’s sister and her girlfriend on a vacation; they were mentioned as going, mentioned in passing while there, and mentioned again on the way home. But they never said or did anything that contributed to the story, so why mention them at all?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the next story is about Matthew’s friend Andrew, and if so, it will be interesting to see if I will end up liking him as much as I came to love Cole in Strawberries for Dessert. I think I find Andrew even less appealing than I had Cole, so it’s a fair challenge if he is, in fact, the next main character. My preference would be for Rich’s cop cousin, Kevin, or maybe one of Rich’s friends. As for Matthew’s friends, I either disliked them (Andrew) or found them just sort of background decor. Which is odd, considering how colorful some of them were… I guess that means they were pastel: colorful but bland.
Overall, maybe that’s the best description of this story. It was colorful but surprisingly bland, and enjoyable in a pastel sort of way.