Book Reviews

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee


The Perkins family is cursed, and Ian Perkins—the current resident of the family’s ancestral home, Cobweb Cottage—is determined to prove it. But what, exactly, is this curse? Is it real? And if it is—how has it affected Ian, his wife, Rachel, and their son, Harry?

Broken Branches has the feel of a modern-day Gothic, but it’s the huge tree in front of the house—rather than the house itself—that is the menacing presence. All the creepiest and most disturbing things that happens in the book is tied to the tree. As I read, I was uncomfortably aware of this tree, whether it was directly mentioned or not, and it was deliciously unsettling.

A mysterious something has happened after Ian’s family moved into the cottage, driving Ian to research his family history. He’s determined to prove the curse is real, and to pinpoint its beginning. His need to know quickly becomes an obsession, and as it spirals out of control, all areas of his life—his job, his marriage, etc.—become adversely affected by it.

There are regular flashback chapters of Ian’s past, where we see him as a boy growing up in Cobweb Cottage. I found these glimpses of Ian’s childhood to be as fascinating as his present-day story. Learning what shaped him into the man he became, and what led him to make certain choices prior to his return to his childhood home, was quite a revelation that gave me a deeper understanding of his character.

The end of the book was incredible! There are two major reveals that take place—one that I suspected was coming, and one that I didn’t. It’s the one I didn’t see coming that took my breath away. I loved how well it fit with the creepy tone of the book, though if I’m being honest, I’d have loved a bit of explanation into how it came to be. On second thought, however, perhaps an explanation isn’t needed at all. By this point, readers have seen enough to fill in certain blanks, so the why behind the event actually is explained, I suppose. (Apologies for being vague, but… spoilers!)

As for the curse… well, it definitely existed. Whether or not it was supernatural in nature is something you’ll have to discover for yourself when you read the book. And I definitely recommend you read it, particularly if love reading creepy stories with a Gothic feel to them.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Hideaway Fall.

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Author: M. Jonathan Lee
Title: Broken Branches
Genre: Gothic, Psychological Suspense
Publication Date: July 27, 2017 by Hideaway Fall
Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

‘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.