BROKEN WING by Judith James

Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St Croix has never known tenderness, friendship, or affection. Although fluent in sex, he knows nothing of love. Lost and alone inside a nightmare world, all he’s ever wanted is companionship and a place to belong. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy façade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy’s family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother’s disappearance. When he’s located, safe and unharmed despite where he has been living, Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own.

Becoming a mercenary pirate and a professional gambler, Gabriel travels to London, France, and the Barbary Coast in a desperate attempt to find Sarah again and all he knows of love. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.

MY THOUGHTS: This was published by Medallion Press in November 2008. I was very surprised to see on the copyright page that they tell who the cover model is. His name is Ryan Young. This is Judith’s first published novel. The hero is the very wounded Gabriel St.Croix and the heroine is widowed Sarah Munroe. The story spans about four years, beginning around 1798 and begins in Paris, France.

I had high hopes for this one but was let down by it. I give it 2 1/2 stars out of five. The hero was abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel as a prostitute. He has nothing and no one. He doesn’t even know his last name so he chose to use the name of the street that he was abandoned on, St. Croix. Knowing he was all alone and forced to prostitute himself called out to me immediately and made me want to read his story. It didn’t live up to my expectations at all. After about a year of him living with Sarah’s family he goes off with a family friend and gets knocked into the ocean by a runaway cannon on the ship. From then, he’s taken prisoner and sold. There’s a lot of war and violence for a good part of the story. Once he escapes his captors he lives as a free man. I just found all of that to be very boring and hard to get through.

The synopsis from the back cover is very misleading. It says that Gabriel travels, after he’s free, in a ‘desperate attempt to find Sarah’ and that simply is not true. He never once tried to find her or contact her via letter. He allowed her to believe he was dead for three years for no apparent reason. They find each other and he’s very cold and rude toward her. They secretly married right before he left three years before yet now that he’s face to face with his wife, his behavior towards her makes no sense at all and I don’t understand it. Needless to say, they have their happily ever after.

One thing that really bugged me is that their ages were never given. It was said many times that he was ‘young’ so I’m assuming he’s in his early 20s, and the same for Sarah. I feel as though I never got to know Sarah at all. We got absolutely no backstory on her. I don’t like or dislike her because I simply feel as if I don’t know her. But you read it and be the judge.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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