While K-lee Klein's not exactly a new to me author 'Unbreak My Heart' is the first novel that I've read and really I'm just wondering...what the hell was I thinking taking so long to enjoy one of her novels...ok, I admit it was once again a case of so many books, so little time and thank heavens for audio books and Nick J. Russo because once again he's done a superb job with narrating this audio book resulting in the fact that I'm actually kind of glad that I didn't get to this book sooner...nah, that's not true because I'm sure I would have totally enjoyed reading this and still would have made grabby hands for the audio book. But all that's neither here nor there because what's done is done and I totally and thoroughly enjoyed the audio book.
I love stories about damaged men putting themselves back together and grabbing the second chance that life has given them and if at least one of those men happens to be a cowboy well...happy me and ironically while I'm not a huge fan of stories with rock stars in them for some reason country and western singers totally do it for me which is hilarious because I'm really not a big fan of the music...go figure we like what we like.
My only niggle with this story was the use of the endearment Darlin', it was used by Brett both in his letters to his deceased lover Walter and with JT and I have to admit I would really have preferred if Brett had used another endearment for JT...even the dreaded Babe...maybe. However, while this was as I said a bit of a niggle overall it didn't really spoil how much I enjoyed this story.
JT Campbell is looking to get away from his life and ends up at Brett Taylor's farm when Brett's mom picks him up at the side of the road. Brett's mom to say the least is a character. Despite his reluctance Brett gives JT a place to stay and a job.
Brett and JT have a few things in common not the least of which both men are looking to escape their past. JT's doing it by leaving his home in California and Brett's choice of escape lies in the bottom of a bottle that he keeps in his office where he hides out most evenings. Brett's days as a country music star ended when he lost the love of his life three years ago and he's spent the time since swirling in the pain and grief brought on by that loss and he's more than willing to let life go on in this mode.
I totally appreciated the fact that 'Unbreak My Heart' isn't a 'love-at-first-sight-story'. Brett and JT start out essentially as two men who are brought together by circumstances and initially Brett's really not in a place for any kind of relationship. It takes time and effort on JT's part for Brett to even really consider a relationship as a possibility and while JT's patient, he's not perfect making a few mistakes of his own as things progress between the two men.
Much of Brett's story is shared with us through his letters to Walter, letters that were both touching and heartbreaking and along with his time spent getting to know JT a sweet slow building romance is created...one that was made even more enjoyable through Nick J. Russo's skilled narration of the audio book.
While there was a definite age gap here of 13 years once again it wasn't an issue for me. JT was 28 to Brett's 41. I liked both of these characters and the fact that while JT was in some ways in a better place in his life he wasn't perfect, but he did have a maturity that helped him to realize that more than anything Brett needed him as a patient friend...a friend who was willing to wait for Brett's own feelings to catch up with JT's growing feelings.
I loved the ending of this book or maybe I should say the beginning of Brett and JT's life together. I'm looking forward to more of their story as I continue with this series my only quandry is do I want to read the e-books or hopefully wait for the remainder of the series to be released on audio...decisions, decisions...really whatever is a girl to do?
An audio book of 'Unbreak My Heart' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Dissenting opinion ahead!
Well, this is painful. This book is a re-edition and the previous version was flooded with shining reviews and lots of swooning. I expected lots of swooning from my part, too. I was ready for it. But that didn’t happen. In fact, the book required a big effort from me to keep reading.
I was bored to tears.
It’s not that I have something definite to blame for the fail. There is no pet peeve exactly, not a tangible reason I can point to. It’s just this tedious writing that can’t even move me. Not even with the dead partner drama. Not even with the alcohol drama. Not with anything. Indiference is not a good companion. It can’t hold my interest for long.
This time the cover is much more attractive. I grant that.
But not even the plot was original. It reminded me of:
-Chase the Storm: the mature guy who had been matched up with the love of his life, who died. Some time passes, and the younger guy gets into scene and puts everything upside-down. They are in a ranch. They train horses. This book works since the very beginning.
-After Ben: the mature guy who had been matched up with the love of his life, who was older than him, and now that some time has passed, he still hasn’t overcome his death, and he meets a much younger guy for whom he falls without a chance to prevent it. We are in Seattle instead of in the South. We are in an Internet forum instead of in a ranch. But more or less, the parallelism is there. This book took a little longer to grab my attention for real but it never wandered.
Still, I wanted to give this a chance.
However, this didn’t work for me.
Now that I’m writing about it, yes, there was something that upset me here.
An emphatic person never says he’s emphatic. It’s arrogant and pretentious. I’ve dealt with a bunch of doctors and psychologists myself and those who say they are emphatic are preciselly the ones whose face I wanted to scratch to pieces.
I speak the truth, those who don’t talk about themselves but focus on the patient are the ones I really like. Seriously, there is this untold rule that says that it’s haughty to talk so highly about yourself for no good reason, but so far, TJ hasn’t heard about that statement. We are repeteadly told how emphatic he is, how good he is at reading expressions, how he has a gift to understand people’s pain and put himself in their shoes.
But you know what? I never believed him as this other-worldly emphatic creature. In fact, TJ sounds so paternalistic in and out of his head he fails miserably at the humbling part.
That’s why he abandoned Medicine and got into Psychology. Why? Because Medicine (or Surgery, as he implies) is not empathic at all. WTF? Have you heard about Psychiatry? Or Pediatrics? Or Oncology? How can you make a person with a descompensated schizophrenia trust you if he’s hearing voices who command him to suspect of everyone? How do you order a 5-year-old kid to stop crying and let himself be put the stickers on his chest for the ECG? How do you tell someone she has breast cancer and the options she has to erase it? Delicate specialities, those, but most are that way.
Surgery, not empathic? Uhm… how can make the person trust you to put his life in your hands? Being a bastard, maybe that works?
I’ll tell you this: I’ve met Neurosurgeons and Pediatric Surgeons and Cardiologists with more empathy than you would be led to believe. I even met Plastic Surgeons I adored. People who reconstruct faces or give new skin to burnt people or even provide breasts after their total removal. Have you heard about those? No empathy? Really?
There is more than meets the eye.
Choosing a “prestigious” career doesn’t mean you are an insensitive asshole. Of course, I’ve also met lots of insensitive assholes. There are sharks everywhere.
And it’s funny because his teachers tell him he’s not made for Medicine/Psychology, that he gets invested too much himself. Forgetting that part (OMG, he’s so empathic he’s making himself sick), I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to believe that situation: a medical/psychologist student being psychoanalyzed and adviced to see if he’s fit for this career and being told he’s not. Really, I’ve never heard of this before.
Well, whatever, he says he’s not made for being doctor nor a psychologist. That’s why he’s travelling so far from home.
I prefer Brett’s POV, by a long shot.
Still, the love story is a slow burning one. So slow I never got to see a sparkle. Apparently, none of this guys is the other’s one type, but they are immediately attracted to each other. It wasn’t believable to me. Not at all.
So yes, I’m moving on.
***Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***