I am going to say it again - I am not really an historicals reader. Which is perhaps why this book didn't grab me in the same way it's caught the imagination of so many others. Now there were parts of it I really enjoyed, but on the whole this wasn't for me. Which I am disappointed about, as there's nothing like being caught up by a really great book.
Broken Wing tells the story of Gabriel St. Croix, raised in a brothel, he worked as a prostitute servicing both male and female clients. For the past five years he has protected a young boy - Jamie Munroe - from suffering the same fate as him. And when the boy’s family comes to claim him, they also rescue the man who protected him.
Returning to England with Sarah Munroe and her half brother Russ Monroe, Gabriel’s eyes are opened to a world previously denied to him, and gradually he falls in love with Sarah. He wants to be worthy of her love and determines to earn his fortune and prove himself. But the best laid plans often go awry and Gabriel will have to revisit his darkest nightmares before he can finally have a home of his own.
I know I said it at the beginning but I really wanted to like this book. The girls at Ramblings on Romance were so infectious in their enthusiasm that it was heady to be caught up in it. But it didn’t quite work for me. This is a promising debut and I do think Judith Jones is an author to watch out for.
Gabriel is a fascinating hero and the best drawn character in the story.
“He realized he had no secrets left from her. She’d taken them from him, claiming them one by one, and then she’d claimed him…”With the other characters being slightly more two-dimensional, acting as foils for his development. It is his progression that keeps you interested in the story. He’s complex, pushes away what he desperately wants and provokes those who mean him no harm. Through the Munroes a new world is opened up for him. A world so unlike his, that it takes him a while to believe that he is really being given this opportunity.
In a way Sarah, (who is slightly Mary Sue) is the perfect heroine for him. Her love makes no demands of him, other than what he’s willing to give. And there are some beautiful scenes between the two of them.
“Cry, my sweet angel,” she murmured, soft, in his ear. “It’s all right, it’s over now. You’re here with me and I’ll never let go of you.”I did have some problems with the story.
There is a tendency for characters to talk in exclamation marks. (This is a real bugbear of mine.) I have visions of them walking around with eyebrows permanently raised in incredulity. With Sarah Munroe being the worst offender.
“Good God, Ross! That was cruel and uncalled for! You might be speaking of Jamie, if not for him!”There is a lot of head hopping between characters. But I felt with the exception of Gabriel that we never really got to know anyone. There are also jumps in time, sometimes combined with the head hopping.
I hope I haven't made it sound like I disliked the story because that wasn't the case, it just didn't completely work for me. Part of me wonders if this story would have been better told over more than one book - a la the Outlander Saga - allowing us the time to get to know all of the characters and enjoy more detail of events. Towards the end it felt like we were racing through one situation after another and I wanted things to slow down so we could go deeper into what was happening.
For a debut novel I think there is much to enjoy here, and someone who is perhaps more appreciative of the genre would get more out of the story.