Written by Mandasue Heller

Review written by Kirstie Long

A fanatical book reader, Kirstie has works hard to fit the ‘evil day job’ of Financial regulation around her passion of writing, promoting writers of all genres and encouraging more people to read books. Kirstie is the News and Events Co-ordinator for Shots.

Hodder & Stoughton
RRP: £12.99
Released: 31st January 2013

Broke is based around a very young couple, Amy and Mark, who get married as Amy is pregnant and their struggle to live together, be parents and survive financially.

Neither has any maturity and Mark sparks off a sequence of events that leads Amy to spiral into degradation and despair with seemingly no way out. Mark has a gambling problem and he takes out a loan from a lender, a character that is dark and twisted. Not being able to meet an instalment, Mark leaves Amy to pay the price and it is then the violence starts for her, whilst he uses another woman to hide from what he’s caused. 

Set over a few years, Broke covers the difficulties faced by the two protagonists and brings a gritty reality to the harsher side of life. I enjoyed Heller’s previous book, Lost Angel and expected a similar tale and style. There was a similarity, but this book has a ruthless edge that did make me uncomfortable at times, as did some of the violence, but personally I think that should happen or you get too blasé with it. It is a story of sinking low and dragging yourself out, of facing consequences and accepting reality.

I enjoyed it but I did have a couple of issues. Mark is completely unlikable being insensitive, callous, cruel and totally incapable of accepting responsibility. Amy whilst being the victim, became too much of a martyr for me and I felt myself urging her to show some back bone and do what I would think most people would do in her situation - get help. To be honest I would have gone to the Police from the first moment, but then I am not a young, immature girl living in her world so perhaps my lack of understanding comes from that. Some of the other characters appeared rather stupid as well on occasion, but it did not detract from the overall book and played its part in the resulting conclusion.

Broke has the Martina Cole style of story, but enough differences to stand on its own without being second choice. Despite my criticisms, it’s well-written, paced right and keeps you interested.

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