Today will be a two-fer, with reviews for both books in Carrie Elks’ Love in London series, but I’m going to start with book two since that’s what I read first.
5 out of 5 Stars
*I was gifted an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
I’ve read some of Carrie Elks’ previously published works, and I have never been disappointed. Broken Chords is no exception. It’s the beautiful—and realistic—tale of a new mother struggling to find her way through the changes in herself and her marriage.
Lara and Alex appear to have a perfect relationship—a happy marriage, a new baby, and plenty of hot chemistry. But sometimes the outside doesn’t match the inside. Six months after their son is born, Lara struggles with her self image, sleepless nights, and a husband who doesn’t seem to want to grow up. Money problems don’t help the situation either.
Alex works in construction to help put food on the table, but his real passion is music. When his band’s big break comes up, he doesn’t think twice about taking it. He also doesn’t consult his wife, who is struggling with going back to work and mild postnatal depression.
Their problems are exacerbated by the physical distance and outside factors, until everything blows up in the form of a very sick baby and a husband who appears to not care. Alex and Lara each need to make some tough choices in order for their marriage to survive.
My first impression of Broken Chords is that it’s so real. Carrie does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life and making them believable. Within the first chapter, I could feel Lara’s despair at herself and her situation. She’s tired after six months of sleepless nights with a new baby and struggling to find her way through. As the story progresses, her despair leads to something a little more serious, something many new mothers suffer through.
Lara and Alex’s relationship is not some fairy tale that readers can’t relate to, despite the fact that they love each other fiercely. The realism continues with each interaction between the couple, and even when Lara interacts with her friends. The white-hot chemistry Lara and Alex have in (and out of) the bedroom follows through into their daily interactions, releasing itself in arguments that get more heated as time goes on.
I especially love Lara’s confusion at the circumstances she finds herself in. She is human enough to question her own opinions and ask for help. At times, I was sure she was right in her first judgment, but after reading what her best friend said I’d change my opinion. The confusion helps bring Lara’s depression to the surface, and although she’s slowly healing, she realizes she hasn’t stopped loving her husband and needs him by her side, but getting back to their happy marriage won’t be easy.
The little peeks into how Lara and Alex met were just enough to make me fall in love with them both and have faith in their relationship. When things were at their worst, I was heartbroken for each of them and quietly cheering them on … and turning page after page because I couldn’t leave them in that state.
Even the supporting characters of Broken Chords are intriguing. There is just enough of Beth and Niall to make me want to read book one of the series, and the bits of David and Andie’s relationship have me crossing my fingers they’re the topic of book three.
I also loved the setting of the book and how Carrie incorporated London into the plot. I’ve read too many books where the author force-feeds the setting, and the end result is more of a geography lesson than an enjoyable read. In Broken Chords, I was able to visualize the neighborhoods of London without overemphasis on a street name or feeling like I had to memorize a map.
There are very few editing issues that I picked up on while reading this book, and the few I did find were minor and not enough to distract from the story.
Although Broken Chords is the second book in the Love in London series, it is a standalone book. You do not have to read book one first. I read book two before book one with no problem.