Broken Chords by Carrie Elks
Series: Love in London #2
Published on February 26, 2015
Genres: Adult Contemporary, Contemporary Romance
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Lara knows she should feel lucky. Married to the man of her dreams, with a gorgeous new baby, she should be enjoying her happy-ever-after. But she never expected motherhood to be so difficult, or for her life to change so dramatically.
Alex has it all: hot, tattooed looks, a beautiful wife, and a band that's finally getting noticed. A lucrative offer of a US tour should be the icing on the cake. But as he leaves the country, distance isn't the only thing that starts to pull their relationship apart.
With half a world dividing them, Alex and Lara have to battle for a marriage they once took for granted.
Author Note: Broken Chords is the second story in the Love in London series but can be read completely as a stand-alone.
Broken Chords is a truly great book. It’s very well written, it’s emotional, it’s sexy, and it’s so incredibly realistic. That said, I had such a hard time with it at some points. I can honestly say I’ve almost never had such a hard time trying to rate a book and sort out my feelings.
“It was supposed to be easy, it was Alex and me against the world.”
Lara and Alex have been happily married for years and now have a six-month-old little boy. They are both still adjusting to life with a baby and how much their lives have changed. Alex is working a job he hates to support them, but what he really wants is to be focusing on his band and his music. Lara is getting ready to go back to work at the drug clinic where she’s a counselor and she’s definitely having a hard time.
I’ve never known exhaustion like this. It’s as if I’m walking around in a constant haze; everything seems slowed down, deeper, heavier. Each movement requires an effort I’m not sure I possess.
Alex and Lara have a very intense relationship. It’s very clear that they love and care so deeply. They are very attracted to each other and have so much passion and chemistry. I could definitely feel their connection throughout the whole book and never questioned whether they were right each other.
When the mist clears, and we are sweaty and breathless and all but collapsed on the sink, he whispers low in my ear, dirty and sweet. “I fucking love you. And I love fucking you.”
Alex and I love hard and we fight hard, and though that kind of relationship isn’t for everything, it works for us.
Most of the time.
Fight hard is right. Some of this book was just so painful to read! I know everyone says things they may not mean in the moment and wish they could take them back, but wow. There were parts of this, after certain things were said that I had to put the book down because I was so upset/mad. View Spoiler »
“You’re the one who wanted him in the first place, not me.” I’m breathless. Stunned. What a truly horrible thing to say. ← That’s exactly how I felt when I read it. It kind of knocked the wind out of me. « Hide SpoilerI have to explain that I have a six month old baby boy, just like the couple in this book does at the beginning. I didn’t think it would affect me the way it did, but I was super sensitive to some of the things that were said when Lara and Alex would get into it. There were several times I can honestly say I did not like Alex at all. I had a very hard time separating this book from reality. So much of it is so close to home for me right now with the new baby and my husband travels for work like Alex does with his band at one point. I couldn’t stop thinking how I’d feel during different parts of this if I were Lara and it just made it really hard. Obviously I know that this is a book, but emotions and hormones definitely got to me with this one!
“…You just compared your bloody band to our son. You think I should understand how important music is to you because you understand how important Max is to me. But that’s bollocks, because Max should be important to you too….”
Even though some parts were very hard to read and made me see red, there was a lot of great about this book. Lara is an excellent narrator for this story, so raw and relatable. I could understand her struggles and how she thought about things. That is a huge part of what made this book feel so realistic. There is no drama for the sake of drama. There’s definitely drama, but not for no reason. It all fits very well with what they are going through and feels right for their story.
Both characters are very well developed. There are so many layers to both of them and even though there were times I wanted to throttle Alex, he did win me over by the end. I’m not sure I will ever fully understand some things about him, but I love how he grew. There were many times I had a huge smile on my face because of him and that’s saying a lot considering how much I didn’t like him a certain moments. He’s an interesting mix of sweet and cheeky with this darker, rough sexy side.
He’s an enigma. A mixture of hard and soft, of bitter and sweet. My Dr. Jekyll with a dirty Hyde mouth.
I loved seeing Alex and Lara together when they were happy and also during the flashbacks to when they first met. Things definitely get steamy in this book, but all the sex scenes serve a purpose and fit so perfectly with everything else going on.
“I want you to take a good look at that view,” he whispered into my ear. His breath tickled and caressed.
“Why?” By that point I was all sensation. My front was cold as it pressed into the glass, my back hot with his presence. His fingers slipped inside my knickers.
“Because you won’t be looking at it again for awhile. I’m not one of your city boy hook-ups. I don’t do sweet, I don’t do respectable. When I’m finished with you, Lara, you won’t be able to open your eyes, let alone appreciate the fucking vista.”
I’m a fan of books about married couples. I’ve read a few really great ones and I think they can be very hard to get right. There isn’t that initial anticipation, it’s all the stuff after their happily ever after, which usually turns out not to be all roses and unicorns. Broken Chords definitely shows an interesting dynamic of a woman changing when she becomes a mom and a guy not having to change as much. Even though my situation is totally different than this one and I haven’t dealt with all the same issues, I could really understand it.
This book was very well done in showing the harsh reality for this specific couple. I definitely had a lot of feelings about it. I loved parts of it and absolutely hated parts of it. It just wasn’t any easy read for me and took me awhile to get through, I didn’t always want to pick it back up. BUT, this is a fantastic book. Part of me wants to give it 5 stars just for the emotion is brought out of me and how for how well written it is. Any other time in my life this probably would be a 4.5-5 star read, but I just have to go with my gut and what feels right.
I know this review is all over the place… Bottom line, I highly recommend giving this book a chance. The only reason I’m giving it 3.5 stars is I just can’t separate my feelings, as unfair as that may seem. This has a great love story, flawed, realistic characters, some steam, and so much emotion packed into it. I’m really looking forward to Carrie Elks next book. Like I said in my Coming Down review, I’m definitely a fan.
“You want one?” he asked, cupping his hand to shade his match from the slight breeze.
“I don’t smoke. It’s a disgusting habit.” I smiled, letting him know I was flirting more than anything. Trying to wind him up.
He stared at me, throwing the burnt-out match into the ashtray. Already, I’d noticed Alex had this intense way of making me feel as if nothing else mattered. That I was the only interesting thing in the room—or in this case, the street.
“You’re one of those, then,” he said.
“One of what?”
“A crusader.” He inhaled deeply, then let the smoke drift out of his lips. Even I had to admit he looked sexy.
His words made me grin. I was anything but; smoking rarely bothered me at all. “I don’t kiss boys who smoke,” I said.
The corner of his lip twitched up. He leaned forward, still staring intently. “That’s good. I don’t want you kissing them.”
“You’re a boy who smokes,” I pointed out.
This time a full-on smirk broke out on his face. “I’m the exception that proves the rule, sweetheart.”
The way he said it made my heart hammer against my chest. There was something about Alex Cartwright that made me feel breathless. I wasn’t used to boys like him, ones who oozed sexuality out of every pore. Until then my boyfriends had been more friend than boy. Low key, almost feminine
Alex didn’t have a feminine bone in his body.
“What makes you think I want to kiss you, anyway?”
“You’re the one who brought up kissing, not me.” Another cocky response. “Not to mention the fact you keep looking at my mouth and licking your lips. I can tell you want to eat me for breakfast.”
The image his words conjured up made me choke on my coffee. I spluttered the hot liquid out. Alex started to laugh.
“Kissing. I was still talking about kissing.”
(These CAN be read as stand alone novels.)
Broken Chords (Love in London #2) – (Lara’s story)