Break My Fall by M Mabie ~ Sarah A’s Review

“The first time I returned to Lancaster was for my brother’s funeral.
The second time was for Myra.”

For twelve years, I lived alone in my cabin, building a life with my two bare hands. I was free from their rules, their policies, and their lies.

They are a cult.

My father is their leader.

To protect my brother’s widow, I’m making her my wife. It’s her only way out.

But drawn to the purity in her deep blue eyes and the innocence of her gentle voice, I wonder if I’m not the biggest monster of them all. I have to save her from them and myself. Because every second I spend with this timid woman, I fight the urge to claim her.

Own her.

Make her truly mine.

And I know it’s wrong.

I will break her fall—if I don’t break her first.

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I have a secret to tell you; I am obsessed with cults like to a dangerous level. I find them fascinating and Break My Fall fed into my fixation, partly because I find cults based on biblical fallacies and call themselves Christians the most interesting. M. Mabie delivered an engrossing and complex world with Lancaster and The Banded Church of God.

I am a little in awe of how sinister M. Mabie was able to make the town, the church, and its members feel without delving much into who they were. She did a fabulous job of conveying how intrinsically evil everything that was going on in Lancaster was with short conversations, body language, and an eerie sense of perfection. Even the name she chose for the town, Lancaster, brings to mind a particular way of life I could never hope to understand, nor want to experience.

Both Abe and Myra were compelling characters. Abe had a darkness in him – a direct result of being raised by the leader of the cult – that called to me, he did a fabulous job of suppressing it, but I can feel the anger and need caused by those compulsions festering beneath the surface, and I can’t wait to see how it manifests. I’m sure he will do good with his rage, as his instincts are to help and save rather than hurt and destroy. Myra is a little more of a question mark, at this point in their story, since all her actions are still colored by the brainwashing teaching she received in the cult. The little glimpses we’ve seen of what her true personality are have been promising, though, and I have no doubt she’ll work with Abe to do whatever they can to prevent another generation of people to be abused by The Banded Church of God.

I loved that M. Mabie didn’t throw Abe and Myra headlong into a physical relationship. Their connection was evident from their first meeting, but they were both dealing with so many things regarding their families, the Church, and Myra forging a new life, they needed a minute to absorb everything, learn how to interact, and Myra had to have the time to begin to discover who she was when she was able to make all her own choices.

Break My Fall is the first book in M. Mabie’s Breaking trilogy. This book is not a standalone and does end with a bit of a cliffhanger. These books will all follow Myra and Abe, and the trilogy will need to be read in its entirety to experience the entire story. Break My Fall is written in dual first-person perspective, narrated by Myra and Abraham.

M. Mabie won me over with her Wake series and has yet to let me down. She writes intriguing, complex stories with fabulously sympathetic, flawed characters. I’m impressed with the originality of this story in particular and can’t wait to see what she has in store for us as the series continues.

A cloud of smoke followed the silver-haired woman out the door of the main building onto the covered porch outside, and she shot the butt of her cigarette into the dirt in front of the semi.

“Your mother’s been trying to reach you.”

My phone had died two days earlier, and I’d forgotten to bring a charger. Mom was the only person I still spoke with from Lancaster, but it was rare for her to call me, and I only reached out a few times a year.

“Say what she wanted?” I asked and slid my hands into worn leather gloves.

“Honey, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your brother passed away last night.”

Ted Grier hung back in the doorway, watching. Both of their faces wore sympathy.

“Pardon?” 

“Your brother passed, Abe. You should call her back. Come on in and use the phone.”

I hadn’t spoken to my brother in years, but when I left home with no plans to return, I just assumed things would stay how I left them. They’d cling to their Bibles and bands and keep living in their own warped version of reality. They’d stay tucked under the strict thumb of the Legacies and God, or at least the way they interpreted him, and I’d live my life in the woods, free of their judgment and rules.

Alone and how I liked it.

They lived how they wanted, and I did the same.

I squinted in the mid-day sun, and the tension in my neck pinched even tighter.

“Jacob died?”

Ted limped to the stoop, tapped a Camel from his pack and lit it. “Son, you wanna come inside for a minute? Call your family?”

I did not. Calling them was the last thing I wanted.

It was almost noon, and I still had more than half day’s work to finish. The tobacco in the air was thick as I pulled it into my chest. “I’ll call when I get home.”

It was supposed to rain for the next four days in the hills, and there was work that needed to be done. Calling in the middle of the day wasn’t going to do anything but put me behind, and my brother would still be dead that evening.

M. Mabie lives in Illinois with her husband. She writes everything from steamy romantic comedies to angst-filled, pull your hair out drama. She enjoys it all. With her unconventional love stories, she tries to embody “real-life romance.”

She cares about politics, but will not discuss them in public. She uses the same fork at every meal, watches Wayne’s World while cleaning, and lets her dog sleep on her head. She has always been a writer. In fact, she was born with a pen in her hand, which almost never happens. Almost.

M. Mabie usually doesn’t speak in third-person. She promises.

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