Updated: Sep 19
By Lauren Layne
Published by Flirt
Book Two in Redemption series
Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?
When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.
Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.
Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?
Review ahead, so beware of spoilers!
PTSD, memories of war, injury from war
I really liked Broken. I didn't think I would. The plot teaser sounded great, but despite Olivia supporting Ethan in the first book of the Redemption series, despite letting him go to Stephanie, I still had a bit of a bad taste in my mouth over her character. I am glad I took a chance on continuing the series though, because Broken redeems her character, and gives us insight to what led to her indiscretion in the first book.
Olivia's character can seem a bit dramatic sometimes, in my personal view. Specifically in regards what happened in New York, when she kissed her best friend Michael, cheating on her long time boyfriend Ethan, and destroying all of their relationships that they have had since childhood. I am not saying it isn't worthy of her feeling bad about it. She did something wrong by letting the kiss continue. She had a hand in hurting people. But to feel like she needed to redeem herself by throwing herself into charitable work that would help her run away ... seemed weak. She just wanted to run away, and in doing so, made the situation worse. So yeah, Ethan moved on, and is happy. But she should have been honest from the start with Michael, and told him she didn't feel that way about him. It would have gave them closure, and he would have been able to move on from her. Maybe fix his friendship with Ethan. That aside, I quickly fell in love with Olivia once she meets Paul. He is a total asshole when they first meet. While Olivia in the past would have shied away from him, she stood her ground and didn't take him crap. In the process, she helps him and herself heal. Throughout the story, she not only comes to terms with her past, but grows as a person. She goes from a pampered heiress, to giving it all up to start from the bottom and work her way up in the business world, despite a broken heart from her failed relationship with Paul.
Paul was an amazing read. He is rough, and obviously troubled. Suffering from PTSD, a severe case of survivors guilt, and his physical injuries from the war, he is angry. He has reason to be. All he wants to do is live out his miserable existence alone. Luckily, despite his father not being perfect, he pushes Olivia on him, and she is just what he needed. He needed someone who would not run away from him when he was angry, and would challenge him. He needed someone to not coddle him, and make him feel useless. Yeah, his attraction to her is what first inspired him to at least try in front of her (as well as his personal reasons of needing his fathers money to care for his best friends family), but as he got to know her, started to really feel something again other than anger and guilt, he started to actually try. He started to run again. Sadly, in the end, it all bubbles down to being insecure about his previously handsome face being horrifically scarred. As much as he said he didn't care what others thought, he did. He didn't feel he was good enough for Olivia. He didn't believe that she could really love him. It took Olivia leaving for the very few people in his life to give up. If love with an amazing woman couldn't help him overcome his issues, than what could?
In the end, it was a happy ending. Being truly alone for the first time must have made him come to his senses. In those three months Olivia was with him, he felt hope again. He felt alive. He leaves his secluded home, and goes to NYC, and declares his love and intentions with Olivia. Happily ever ever. I hope. Which leads to only thing I disliked about this book: Paul moving to New York. I get the symbolism. He is facing the public, scarred face and all, and will endure stares and comments because he will have Olivia by his side. I just wish they went back to Maine. Olivia would have been happy there. All she wanted was to be able to go out and enjoy time and different scenery with the man she loved. They both seemed at peace there. The fact that this is one of the only things I didn't like about the story, means its pretty great.
Paul: "Because I've read the book."
Olivia: "You have?"
Paul: "No. I made that up."
Olivia: "You did?"
Paul: "Are you trying to drive me insane?"
I haven't even seen the guy in full light yet and I'm about fifteen seconds away from asking if his offspring would like to take up residence in my uterus. - Olivia
Paul: "Brood. I prefer brood. More manly than mope!"
Olivia: "Oh yes, by all means, let's get gussied up for Mr. Paul and his enormous wagon of issues."