Sunday, November 25, 2018

Book Review: 'Pretty Broken Hearts' by Jeana E. Mann

Indiana author Jeana E. Mann earned her degree in Speech and Hearing from Indiana University and has written fifteen novels of steamy adult contemporary romance for which she has won awards and has become a member of the Crossroads Romance Writers, Indiana Romance Writers, and Passionate Ink chapters of Romance Writers of America, Indiana RWA, and Celtic Heart RWA. When not writing she travels to such places as climbing the ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico, snorkeling along the shores of Hawaii, sailing around Jamaica, eating gelato on the steps of the Pantheon in Rome, and exploring the ancient city of Pompeii.

The Pretty Broken series consists of PRETTY BROKEN GIRL, PRETTY FILTHY LIES, PRETTY DIRTY SECRETS, PRETTY WILD THING, PRETTY BROKEN PROMISES, PRETTY BROKEN DREAMS, PRETTY BROKEN BABY, and PRETTY BROKEN HEARTS. The themes of each of these standalone novels deals with people who have been broken by incidents, relationship failures, physical defects and more who are able to find mending in relationships they develop. This particular set of broken lives centers on a male widower who has difficulty coping with the los of his wife (and the nuisance of his sister in law!) and a female coping with an obsessive compulsive disorder with all the interpersonal interactions that too often accompany that diagnosis.

Jeana has the gift for magnetizing her readers from the start – ‘Every week day, Monday through Friday, the hottest guy I’d ever seen came into my sister’s coffee shop. Seven-thirty to be precise. The only thing more attractive than his punctuality was his square jaw and the dimple in his chin. He ordered the same thing without fail. One chocolate muffin with peanut butter chunks, and a large black coffee with a shot of espresso. I waited by the cash register, watching the hands of the clock over the display of fresh bakery items, counting down the seconds until he arrived. My sister, Jo, smiled indulgently from her place behind the counter. “Don’t worry, sis. He’ll be here. He’s always here.” Her words offered little comfort. “You don’t know that,” I replied. In my experience, life threw curve balls, often and unannounced. The bell over the door dinged, and he walked in. I exhaled the breath I’d been holding and tried to calm my racing heart. He eased into a seat by the window, the same location he always claimed. He was so tall that his long legs barely fit beneath the small bistro table. Sparks of red, mahogany and auburn threaded through his rich brown hair. A navy suit of the finest Italian wool stretched across his broad shoulders. I forced my feet to move. He was too beautiful for words, which was a good thing because I’d gone mute. My fingers twitched with the urge to sketch his profile and capture the straight nose, the high cheekbones, his deep-set eyes. Smoothing my apron over my thighs, I stood in front of him and waited while he studied the menu. Like he hadn’t seen it thirty-two times already. I knew, because I counted each of his visits. “Can I take your order?” I asked. Gray-blue eyes brimmed with kindness, crinkling at the corners. Full lips curved into a smile. “I’ll have the usual. Thanks, Bronte.”

Now we sense the magic that these bruised sold will create. The plot – ‘Rhett - My days are haunted by regrets and unpleasant memories until Bronte Hollander serves me coffee at the local java shop. I can hear her counting under her breath. I’m counting too—the minutes, the hours, the days—until I can see her again. I want to move past the tragedy of my previous marriage, but the thought of beginning again is terrifying. Bronte’s courage gives me hope for the future. Society says she’s flawed, imperfect, but I think she’s perfect for me. Bronte - I’ve been ridiculed my entire life for being different. People call me “special”, but I’ve never believed in labels. Rhett Easton sees past my flaws, my thick thighs, my red hair, my need for order. He gets me like no one ever has. And he respects my love for numbers, my need for rituals. I want to trust him, but life has taught me that guys like Rhett don’t go for girls like me. I’m ready to prove life wrong. This is the story of an obsessive-compulsive girl, a broken guy, and their improbable love for each other. Join them as they navigate through the difficulties of family relationships, past loves, high school bullies, and self-imposed limitations to find a love that transcends their broken hearts.’

Strong writing by an author who appreciates psychologically intense romances as much as she does erotica. A strong book, this. Grady Harp, September 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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