I wasn’t quite sure what I’d think about Broken Branches by M Jonathan Lee. There was quite a buildup to me receiving it, with the publisher Hideaway Falls, sending myself and many other book bloggers a fun teaser pack before the book finally landed on my doorstep.
I know that M Jonathan Lee is vocal about mental health issues, a subject close to my heart so I was quite looking forward to reading Broken Branches.
The book centres on Ian who is currently living in a cottage that frankly, sounds rather lovely. He lives with his wife and young son and at first, all seems to be well in the family home. But it soon becomes clear that all is not as it first seems.
There are clearly big problems in Ian’s marriage and Ian himself seems to be obsessed with ‘research’ into his family that has lived in his home for many generations. The story changes between the present day and Ian’s childhood as a boy growing up in the cottage when his father farmed the surrounding land. Ian’s childhood was not a happy one and it becomes clear that the family had been plagued by what they called a curse, and that is what Ian is determined to get to the bottom of with his research.
This book is definitely a slow burner, not a great deal actually happens in the book and much of it is spent within Ian’s mind, a mind that seems to be confused and perhaps very unreliable at telling us what is really happening, and at times it seemed to all be getting a little bit silly.
I liked how the story developed though and the more we got to know about Ian the more unsure I was about whether he was totally mad or well, only slightly mad. The writing is solid and it is easy to read, with plenty to keep the reader guessing and a few twists along the way.
Thank you to the author, and to Hideaway Falls, for a copy of Broken Branches.
‘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.
About the author:
M. Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author who was born in South Yorkshire in 1974. He still lives and works in Yorkshire, England and has three children.
Jonathan began writing seriously at the age of 9 at which point he self-published a magazine which ran for six issues and sold more than 500 copies. Since then, he has written a number of short stories and eagerly hoarded away journal after journal of ideas before finally writing The Radio.
The Radio was shortlisted for The Novel Prize 2012 and is his first novel. He is currently touring schools, colleges, prisons and universities talking about creative writing and storytelling. The Radio continues to receive excellent reviews and film rights are currently being discussed with interested parties. Jonathan appeared at Sheffield’s Off the Shelf literary festival in 2013 and will appear again this year as well as headlining at Doncaster’s Turn the Page festival 2014.
His second novel, The Page was released in February 2015. He has just finished his third novel, A Tiny Feeling of Fear which was released in September 2015. He is currently working on the final part of the ‘The’ trilogy: working title ‘The Knot’ which is due for release in 2016. He is currently signed on a four book deal with boutique publishers, SoloP Publishing based in the north of England.
On a little side note, my puppy loved Broken Branches. The photo below shows just how much. She was lucky that she wasn’t rehomed!