In a standalone hockey romance that tugs at readers’ heartstrings, a broken ex-pro learns to live and love again—all thanks to the complicated, wonderful nurse who gives him a second chance.
Brianna Collins needs to break away from her overbearing family. Her parents expect her to “fix” her brother after a series of concussions derailed his hockey career. Unfortunately, no doctor will give him clearance to play, and she’s finished with being the person they rely on to perform a miracle that will never happen. For Bree, a six-month nursing assignment at a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, is the perfect escape.
Luke Daniels, former forward for the NHL’s Charlotte Aviators, has spent close to a year rehabbing a career-threatening injury—and distracting himself however he can. Worlds collide when Luke realizes that the girl from his latest one-night-stand happens to be the new nurse at the hospital where he volunteers in the pediatric unit. What’s more, Bree’s the only person who makes him excited about life again.
Despite her initial reservations, Luke can’t help pursuing sweet, beautiful Bree. Then he realizes it was her brother whose career he ended with an accidental hit, and he falls back on the thing that’s always helped suppress his demons: alcohol. But if Luke doesn’t kick his old habits, he just may lose the one thing he loves more than hockey.
When I decided to read this book, I was unaware it was part of a series. The fifth book in the series, in fact. Pleasantly, these books were true standalones, and I did not ever feel like I was missing information I needed from the initial books in the series. Of course, there were references to the other characters and their relationships, but those moments were so brief I brushed them off and continued with the book I was reading.
I’m quite torn on my feeling about Breakaway. I loved most of the book; I found Bree and Luke interesting and dynamic. Even the secondary characters had unique personalities, and the relationships between all the characters were interesting. However, some things just felt odd to me.
The story in Breakaway was fun and interesting. There were just enough funny moments to balance out some of the darker themes that Sophia Henry broached in this book. I appreciated that she took the risk to deal with what it’s like to love a person living with addiction, those moments with Luke, his mother, and their past were visceral and gripping. The different and authentic family dynamics she wrote about were also compelling; I particularly appreciate the way she juxtaposed Luke, Bree, and – to some extent – Mason’s struggles with their parents and their upbringings.
One of my most significant issues was the timeline. It felt very muddy to me. The author did a pretty good job of not mentioning many exact dates but the time periods over which things happened seemed to vary wildly. One of the most glaring of those times where I experienced confusion over exactly how much time had passed in regard to Luke’s time working a ‘desk job’ for the team. Initially, he went in to talk to his boss six months after his surgery then a little later he said he’d been working a desk job for the entire year since his surgery. There were other moments like this, where I wasn’t sure if there was just missing information as to what the characters had been doing in the meantime, if more time had passed than was accounted for, or if there was only a mistake in the timeline. It was this ambiguity I found hard to accept.
The sex in this book was dealt with in a way I’ve never really experienced. It wasn’t fade to black, but it wasn’t a complete sex scene either. It was jarring the way they were handled. As soon as the sex had begun – not implied, as you expect with a fade to black scenario – and I was anticipating the intimacy that can only really be experienced in that vulnerable position the scene abruptly changed to something post-coital. I’m not a huge fan of sex scenes unless they serve to move the couple forward in some way, but this was just too awkward and abrupt for me.
I’m reserving my judgment on Sophia Henry’s writing for now. Some parts of this book were great, while others were lackluster, so I feel like I would be doing her a disservice to make a decision about her as an author based off this single book. While I doubt I’ll be rushing out to purchase other her other books immediately, I would definitely pick up another if I found the blurb intriguing.
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