Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Book Review: "Little Broken Things" by Nicole Baart + Giveaway

Little Broken Things Nicole Baart
Date Finished: December 4, 2017
Date Published: November 21, 2017
ISBN: 9781501133602
Genre: Thriller
Source: TLC Book Tours

You might enjoy this book if you like: Thrillers, family dramas, family secrets

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. 

My Thoughts:
I don't think I've ever done this before, but I want to start my thoughts off with managing some expectations.  This book is touted as being in the same vein as Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies.  Because of that, I went into this book with a certain set of expectations.  I don't think it is fair to say that my expectations were unmet, but rather that they were misplaced.  To me, a far more accurate "readalike" book for this title would be Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train.  These two books are far more similar in scope and feel than Big Little Lies.

Now, the good news is that I found this to be a much more enjoyable book than The Girl on the Train.  While I don't want to get into my thoughts about that book, I will say that Baart's story crafting is vastly superior and I found myself far more satisfied with this book than I was with Hawkins' novel.

For some reason, I've been reading a lot of novels set in Minnesota lately.  I've spent time in that state and have genuine affection for it and I love the small town Baart created for this novel. Most of the time I've spent in Minnesota was in small towns like that and Baart hit the nail on the head.  (However, I am a little surprised that broasted chicken was never mentioned!)

Her characters--notably Nora, Quinn, and their mother Liz--are expertly drawn.  Each has their own distinctive voice and are fully fleshed out.  I found myself sympathizing with all three, but in very different ways.  I did wish that some of the secondary characters were fleshed out a bit more than they were, but I didn't feel dissatisfied with the people in this story.

So, here is where my problem came in.  I enjoyed this book as a story--the characters were fabulous, the setting was perfect, and the plot was interesting.  However, I never felt that sense of urgency that is needed in a thriller.  While I wouldn't say that the plot was predictable, I have to admit that I "figured it out" before the reveal...but that's fine  In fact, that almost always happens to me  However, I just never got that adrenaline rush that makes me feel that thriller tension with this book.  So, while I felt that this book should be thriller, it just didn't feel like one with me.

Still, I enjoyed it as a novel and do not regret the time I spent reading it.  Baart is definitely an author I would read again and I would recommend to anyone, with the understanding that it is best read as a novel and not a thriller.

About the Author:
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, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I have one print copy to giveaway to one of my readers (US Only).  The giveaway will run through Monday, December 18.  To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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