I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Rival. Sister. Barmaid. Whore.
Meg Henshawe has been a lot of things in her life, and few of them good. As proprietress of The Rose and Crown in Restoration Southwark, she has squandered her life catering to the comfort of workmen and thieves. Famous for her beauty as much as her reputation for rage, Meg has been coveted, abused, and discarded more than once. She is resigned to fighting alone until a passing boxer offers a helping hand.
Jake Cohen needs a job. When an injury forces him out of the ring for good, all he’s left with is a pair of smashed hands and a bad leg. Keeping the peace at The Rose is easy, especially with a boss as beautiful—and wickedly funny—as Meg Henshawe. In her way, she’s as much of an outcast as Jake, and she offers him three things he thought he’d never see again: a home, family, and love.
After Meg’s estranged cousin turns up and seizes the inn, Meg and Jake must work together to protect their jobs and keep The Rose running. The future is uncertain at best, and their pasts won’t stay buried. Faced with one setback after another, they must decide if what they have is worth the fight to keep it. Can broken things ever really be fixed?
Content notes: Diverse characters, profanity, violence, graphic sex
Broken Things by Jessica Cale combines two strong willed characters in a gritty world full of bar fights, drunkenness, and loose morals.
There were two broken characters in this story. Meg and Jake. Now, I’ve read the previous books in this series and I was kind of hesitant about Meg. I didn’t much like her character when she was introduced in the other books. I thought her a tad bitchy and crass. However, If ever there was a character that needed redeeming, Meg was it.
Page by page her story unfurls and I found myself sympathizing with her. Yes, she has loose morals–but that’s just who she is. If you don’t like characters that have been drug to the lowest possible depths and are totally imperfect, then this is not the book for you. The more I read, the more her character started to shine through. It’s as if I was polishing the most tarnished silver imaginable and slowly revealing the pretty surface. That’s Meg.
She really just wanted to take care of her son and sisters. Dealing with an abusive ex and running her own bar are a means to an end. Oh, and she kicks a lot of butt–literally. But it was her seeming unwillingness to deal with her ex, that made me sad for her. She can stand up to others but yet her true broken nature shines through when it comes to protecting her son.
Jake, on the other hand, looks broken on the outside. His numerous scars and limp, peg him as a man without any hope. His livelihood based on his ability to fight is cut short and that leads him to Meg’s bar. The two butt heads quite a lot, but that’s the charm of it all. Two strong people trying to come to terms with their lot in life. The attraction between them is off the charts HOT. Even foot rubs are sexy, who knew?
You can almost guarantee yourself getting that feeling of “this seems like it won’t end well”, but with every Jessica Cale story, it gives you the feels, makes you fall in love with her characters (even the bitchy ones), and hope that it ends well. Because, as if they haven’t gone through hell already, her characters will go through some more before they reach their happily ever after.
This can read as a standalone, but I suggest starting from book one, Tyburn (which is my favorite by the way).
The Southwark Saga Series
(clicking on image will send you to series page on Amazon)