I received this book for free from the TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart
Published by Atria Books, Simon & Schuster on November 21, 2017
Genres: Adult, Adultery, Contemporary, Contemporary, Family, Mystery, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Suspense, Suspense
Source: TLC Book Tours
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“If you liked Big Little Lies, you’ll want to crack open this new novel by Nicole Baart.” —Southern Living
An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.
I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn’s house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.
Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.
While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.
Little Broken Things is a suspenseful, entrancing family drama that had me engaged from the very first word until the last page. Told from the perspectives of the three Stanford women: 60-something and recently widowed mother Liz, older sister Nora, and 26-year-old Quinn tell the story of their lives changing from the entrance of one single little girl into their lives. As they come to question the lives they live and the past they’ve known, they must come to terms with some hard truths about themselves and their family members.
Nora Stanford couldn’t get away from her stern father and interfering, weak-willed mother fast enough after school, so she disappeared when she was supposed to go to college and works as a barista in town that’s three hours away from their picturesque town on a lake in Minnesota. Her parents never liked her best friend Tiffany, who didn’t have a great upbringing and was considered a bad girl in town, so Nora did her best to keep minimal contact with her family since she and Tiffany were roommates when they moved away. They were content with their quasi-family unit of Nora, Tiffany, and Tiffany’s young daughter Everlee until Tiffany fell for the wrong man. Nora was pushed out of the picture by controlling, abusive, methamphetamine-making Donovan. And when Nora thought that Everlee was in too much danger, she took the girl out of harms way to stay with the sister that she’s barely spoken to in years–Quinn.
Quinn Cruz has recently returned from California after college with an exotic artist husband in tow, and while they’re living in one of her mother’s rental cottages, her life seems to be on hold while her husband struggles to create his art as she sits by with no real purpose in life at the moment–until her estranged sister Nora drops a dirty, six-year-old-ish girl in her lap. Nora won’t tell her much about the child, not more than a name of Lucy, and instructions to tell no one and to protect her. But Quinn and her husband immediately recognize the girl’s haunted eyes–Stanford eyes–and they know that she’s family. But who is the father, and how did Nora have a child without anyone knowing about it?
Little Broken Things is ultimately a story of how far will someone go for their loved ones. No matter how broken a relationship is, when they are family, there is always something left to mend. Overbearing, outwardly perfect mother Liz wants a relationship with her daughters so badly, and Quinn wants children of her own with her husband Walker. It doesn’t take long for Liz and Quinn to butt heads, and when Lucy is thrown into the mix, Liz is thrown for an even bigger loop that leaves her reeling.
I give Little Broken Things a four out of five. This novel had so much family drama dredging up old family secrets that you could feel the years-old tension dripping off the pages. While oppressed and close-minded mother Liz tries to cobble together some kind relationship with her daughters, her character’s evolution was a really nice journey to see. Nicole Baart’s writing was fantastic throughout, and the tense atmosphere lingered on that picturesque lake and the dilapidated buildings in the countryside. The mystery of Lucy’s parentage was slowly revealed throughout the novel, and the ultimate question of who was the father was a bit predictable. Overall, I really enjoyed the suspense and different points of view. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves family dramas and mysteries shrouded in danger.
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About Nicole Baart
Nicole Baart is the mother of five children from four different countries. The cofounder of a non-profit organization, One Body One Hope, she lives in a small town in Iowa. She is the author of seven previous novels, including, most recently, The Beautiful Daughters. Find out more at NicoleBaart.com.
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