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Broken    by Megan Hart order for
by Megan Hart
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Sadie is living multiple lives. No, she's not suffering from multiple personality disorder. If she does have a malady, it's that her fantasy life is perhaps a little too rich. But it's not her fault ... not really. The blame lies squarely with Joe.

Sadie met Joe almost two years earlier. Their friendship - if it can even be called that - revolves around the stories he tells her. These are blunt, detailed tales of his sexual conquests. Every month, Sadie and Joe meet on a bench in an arboretum. Joe talks, and Sadie listens. Then she goes home and relives every detail of his story, placing herself in the starring role. Their monthly sessions help Sadie add a little spice into a life that includes a quadriplegic husband and a seemingly never-ending series of broken dreams.

The title of Hart's second book for Harlequin Spice is extremely fitting for this emotional, highly charged read. Every one of the characters is broken in some way, whether physically or psychologically. Watching them come to terms with those fragmented pieces of themselves is both a joyous and a painful experience at times, especially since Hart doesn't shy away from difficult and sometimes downright grim situations.

Readers get to experience Sadie's world through her eyes, and the first-person point of view works beautifully here. Hart's decision to filter our understanding of the other characters in Sadie's world is nothing short of brilliant. Sadie's descriptions of the events unfolding around her, of her hopes and dreams and of her sensual fantasies have the ability to transcend the page and truly bring her plight to life.

With her previous novel, Dirty, Hart established herself as an extremely skilled author of literary erotica. Broken uses her strengths by drawing on the author's ability to pen a tightly-plotted, vividly detailed and heartbreakingly emotional tale. This is not an easy read by any means. Readers looking for fun fantasy escapism won't find that here. However, fans of literary erotica craving a poignant, unidealized story will love Hart's novel.

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