Title: Broken Silence (Rock Bottom #1)
Author: Felice Stevens
Publisher: Self published
Release Date: May 13, 2019
Page Count: 275
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Justin Molina has secrets. He’s served his time but remains a prisoner of his past, unable to forgive himself for failing his family when they needed him most. Justin’s grief is overwhelming, but he keeps silent and focuses on his goals. About to graduate college, he tries to keep his head above water—no matter how many times life keeps knocking him down. When he’s forced to register for a poetry-writing class, Justin discovers putting words to his feelings might be exactly what his fractured heart needs to heal. Or is it the older professor with the bow ties and gentle smile who gives him a chance when no one else will?
Professor Foster Faraday Harding is a broken man. His divorce is final, and he’s reverted back to the safety of his books. Even his poetry no longer brings him joy; he’s sleepwalking through life. The raw emotion of Justin’s poetry awakens Foster to desires he thought long buried in the ashes of his marriage. When he discovers Justin is struggling financially, Foster offers him a solution that benefits both of them. Soon it’s Foster who’s struggling with emotions he can’t understand: Justin is his student. And a man. One crazy night years earlier doesn’t mean anything. Foster is straight.
After months of denying the growing attraction between them, an unexpected kiss changes everything. Justin and Foster are no longer only professor and student—they’ve become lovers, but the strain of hiding their relationship increases with each passing day. Words have the power not only to hurt but to heal the greatest pain. If Foster and Justin listen to what their hearts are saying, they might break through their silence and live their own love poems—together.
The book blurb summarizes the book well enough I won’t repeat the overall plot.
I think I’m going to be in the minority here: I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t love it. The characters are well written, the plot is engaging, there is a strong emotional component, and it’s a solid read. Lots of wins.
However, for myself, I found the story to be too long. I started to grow weary of repetitive emotive aspects such as Justin repeatedly putting himself down, Foster telling Justin to stop putting himself down, Ross (Foster’s best friend) telling Foster to pull himself out of his funk, and class differences. I quite got that Justin was picking himself up out of the gutter, I quite understood that Foster had screwed up by marrying, I got that Ross is still recovering from the loss of his husband. I didn’t need it repeated quite so much.
And I’m just not a fan of the doctor/patient, professional/client, professor/student trope and reading the whole “We can’t do this, it’s unprofessional, we can’t see each other…” push and pull of emotions yet the characters end up in bed anyway with all the OMG What Have We Done?!? That comes with it.
But yet, I read this anyway. And it was good. I did enjoy watching Justin blossom under Foster’s kind words and actions, I enjoyed Foster breaking out of his funk. I liked the dynamic Justin had with his mother and neighbor. I enjoyed the progression in the poetry – a nice touch.
I think this is a book worth a try, there were aspects that I bounced off of, but you might quite enjoy.