Title: Home (Broken and Home #2)
Author: Dawn Kimberly Johnson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: 234 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
This sequel to Broken, which continues to examine the relationship between Alec and Eli, was well written but I didn’t like Eli as much as I had in the previous book.
Eli Burke and Alec Sumner are finding out that falling in love isn’t the happily-ever-after they expected. Their efforts to move forward as a couple and put their broken pasts behind them are made all the more difficult by new fears and old secrets.
There are other stressors too: disagreeing over where to live, dealing with other men intruding into their relationship, and deciding if they must abandon the families of their pasts to build one for the future.
It may hurt, but being honest about what they fear, what they’ve done, and what they want may be the only way to forge a happy home.
Broken and Home Series
Home is a sequel to the excellent Broken which I reviewed here and gave 5 stars. Whilst I still enjoyed Home, I didn’t like it as much as Broken because I found the character of Eli frustrating and a little annoying at times.
The book begins a few weeks after the end of Broken. Alec and Eli are finding their way through the beginnings of a relationship, and Alec especially is finding it hard to find enough proper alone time with Eli. They still have separate rooms in the house, with Alec getting fed up of sneaking out of Eli’s ground floor room, half naked, to get ready for work in the morning. There are other changes too as Lyle and Tony move out into their own flat. Eli has put his past with Bennett behind him and moved on into his relationship with Alec, but an almost insane jealousy of one of Alec’s friends, plus an unwillingness to compromise puts a strain on the tender shoots of their relationship.
In the previous book I had a great deal of sympathy for Eli. I understood his grief and rejoiced in the way Alec slowly pulled him out of the mire and allowed Eli to live again. In this book, I had less sympathy for Eli. I liked that Bennett no longer seemed to dominate his every thought, and that he’s enjoying his relationship with Alec, but he seemed much more selfish in this book than the last, possibly because he no longer has his grief as an excuse. In many ways this book is Alec’s story, rather than Eli (who was the main focus of the last book). In Home Alec has come to realise that he loves Eli and wants a new life with him. To me this seemed reasonable, and Eli’s reluctance, and even worse, Ilsa’s emotional blackmail irked me. For once, I wanted Eli to look beyond his own selfish thoughts, and give something to Alec in a way that didn’t involve Alec having to cajole him. I also found Eli’s inability to open up to Alec a little annoying at times. Alec is still incredibly patient with Eli, and often Eli rewarded that selflessness with silence or rejection. Yet, outside of their relationship, in his job as an interpretor for the deaf, Eli is shown to be kind and selfless. Ilsa was another character who I didn’t like as much as I did in the first book. Her relationship with Casey formed a sub-plot, and mirrored in a way that of the relationship between Alec and Eli, which meant I also had a great deal of sympathy for Casey.
Alec remains pretty constant as a character. He’s bewildered by Eli’s jealous tantrums, hurt that Eli doesn’t want to move forward in their relationship and tired of always being the one to compromise. The scene where he visits his flighty friend Mirabell and gets some good advice was one of my favourite in the book, especially as he acted on that very sensible advice! I was pleased that Alec took the step to act in his own interests, but also that throughout that time he was still thinking of Eli and trying to arrange things so that once Eli came to his senses, everything would be in place for their happy future.
Like Broken, one of the strengths of this book is in the secondary characters who form a tight friendship with Alec and Eli. Their stories are just as important as the main characters, and I thought the way that the secondary characters, including Alec’s family, directly impact on the lives of Alec and Eli very realistically done. Another strength was in the way that Eli’s disability continued to be sympathetically handled.
There were a couple of niggles to the story, one very minor. The minor point was that occasionally Eli, who is British, would use an American word, which jolted me out of the story. The part that niggled the most was in the character of Dray, who I felt became far too over-the-top by the end.
Despite those niggles Home is still a solid read, strong on characterisation, emotional content and story. For those who have read Broken, this story is an absolute must and I highly recommend it. If you haven’t read Broken then I recommend that you read that book first to really get the benefit of this book and the lives of the characters.