Broken – Nicola Haken
“For anyone who’s ever felt a little broken. Keep going – one breath at a time. You are important”
When Theodore Davenport decides to switch his mundane job for a career, he walks into Holden House Publishing with enthusiasm and determination to succeed. As he settles into his new role, makes new friends, and dreams of making it to the top, everything is going to plan.
Until he meets James Holden, CEO of Holden House.
James Holden hasn’t been able to stop thinking about his encounter with the timid man he met in a club bathroom last week, and when he discovers the one haunting his dreams is an employee, he can’t seem to stop himself from pursuing him.
Just a little fun – that’s what James tells himself. He can’t afford to care for someone who can never reciprocate, not once they find out who he really is. James believes nobody deserves the burden of being attached to him. He’s a complicated man. Damaged. Difficult. Demanding.
Is Theodore strong enough to confront James’ demons? More importantly, is James?
Please note:This book contains scenes of self harm, mental illness and suicidal ideation which may be uncomfortable for some readers.
Audiobooks are what I am into nowadays because my eyesight is getting worse (devastating news for a book blogger). It’s quite a game changer, enhancing my literary experience through voices, accents and acting and motivating me to finish what I would have otherwise DNF’ed after a couple of chapters. Basically if the narrator sounds good and there are some fancy schmancy accents, there is a higher probability I’ll see things through to the end no matter how shitty the story.
Broken is one such book. If I just read the blurb, I wouldn’t have bothered since contemporaries are mostly a miss with me but when I heard the opening chapter, I was greeted with Mancunian. So I decided to give it a go.
And what a beautiful, emotionally satisfying book it turned out to be, resonating strongly due to some personal experiences. It took a while for me to get into it, mainly because James came across as an annoying, arrogant bastard at first and I was ready to drop the book but the witty banter between Theo and Tess won me over. James gradually turned out to be not such an asshole Theo made him out to be and there were some sweet and fun times that slowly ease its way into darker times as James finally gave in to his inner demons.
James has type 2 bipolar disorder which is a very difficult illness to deal and live with. Nicola Haken wrote very accurate scenarios of how it is for both the patient and the people who love them. I marvelled at Theo’s strength and unconditional love. He never gave up on James and that is something a bipolar patient needs, someone who never gives up on you even if you already have.
“When your boat is drifting from the shore, it’s okay to use an anchor for support. We all need an anchor. Without people to love us, we’d just drift further and further away.”
Broken tackles complex themes but it’s not a heavy book. Haken managed to balance the darker notes with lighter moments of humor and romance. It shares a hopeful message that yes, we might not get cured but we will be okay.
4.5 – perfection is only half a step away