Review: Broken (Redemption #1) by Lauren Layne


Broken by Lauren Layne

(Redemption #1)

Date of Publishing : September 2nd, 2014

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept

Genres: Romance, New Adult, Contemporary

Links: | Goodreads | Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | B&N |

My Rating: ★★★★


When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?

My Review

Broken is a modern day fairy tale, loosely based on Beauty and the Beast. Except, in so many ways, it’s so much more.

Sure there’s a Belle who’s trying so hard to help, it almost hurts. And there’s a Beast who’s resists so hard, it definitely hurts. But Broken has something Beauty and the Beast doesn’t.

It has war.

And war never leaves fond memories. War never leaves you feeling good about your past. Hell, war has nothing going for it except hurt and pain. And scars.

And Paul Langdon has a lot of scars. If only, his father would let him deal with them alone.

Paul, a twenty-four year old war veteran, prefers to stay holed up in his castle mansion, with the company of his books to keep him occupied. Because two years ago, when he returned from Afghanistan, he hadn’t just come back with a blasted leg and a scarred face. He’d come back with his best friend in a coffin.

And to help his late friend, if all he has to do is endure the new caretaker, he’d do that too.


This girl is exactly the sort of person I exiled myself to Maine to avoid. She’s tempting. Not just in the sexual way… But with that briefest of glimpses, she tempts me with something worse: she makes me long for normal.


Olivia Middleton is completely okay with letting her “friends” from Park Avenue, Maine believe that she is now a philanthropist. That everyone thinks she dropped out of college to help a war veteran reenter society doesn’t matter to her. What she needs in penance. Redemption.

The first time Paul and Olivia meet is explosive. Like fire and ice, each trying to break the other down, none succeeding. Their banter is just everything.


“If you’re going to gawk, at least give me the same sympathy you’d give any other circus freak.”
“A dollar in the hat’s not nearly enough. You should really think charging more for the first glance. Twenty dollars, at least.”


Sure, Paul is a jerk. He’s angry and rude and closed-off and downright cruel to Olivia. But slowly and surely, Olivia finds common ground with him.

She takes him outside the house even though he hasn’t stepped out in two years. She goes running with him. She kisses him. She kisses his scars.

She teases him, and scandalizes him, and breathes life into him.

She challenges him for every little thing—even small, trivial things. And then, she leaves.

And Paul is never the same again.


“You took a wretched, broken soul and showed him how to take his life back.”


In no means is Olivia a complete saint. She’s heart-broken and unsure of herself—and with good reason. But the fact that she acknowledges her fault and is willing to do anything to atone for her mistakes? Now that’s what I appreciate.

And though Paul is a cranky little bitch at the beginning, he appreciates that too.


Paul’s father—Harry Langdon—was one character in Broken that intrigued me. The guy was all tough love but the fact that most of his interactions with Paul were in Paul’s POV itself, he was kind of made to look like a workaholic that gave absolutely no shit about his son. But that maybe because his son was a kind of an ass in the beginning of the book and couldn’t see how much his father loved him.

The only reason this book has 4 stars is because of the ending. The end of the book was kind of anti-climatic. The entire thing was set-up for something definitely…bigger that the real thing.

But Paul was just such a damn mushball in the end. Dayum. I loved it.


“Olivia hasn’t just taught me to love. She’s done something much bigger. She’s taught me how to live. And I don’t want to do it without her.”


Author Lauren Layne’s writing is riveting, with just the right pacing and the most relatable characters. Characters that have flaws and make mistakes.

Characters that you will never, ever forget.


About the Author


Lauren Layne used to work in e-commerce. She wore cute shoes and real-person clothes like an adult.

Then she was like, nope, changed into her pajamas and started writing romance novels.

She believes in sarcasm, weekday happy hours, and happily ever after.

She lives in the Seattle-area with her husband and jumbo Pomeranian.


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