Josh and Hannah are a young married couple who are struggling. Money is tight, as Josh is a lowly paid school teacher and Hannah is a freelance writer, who needs to fit her work around looking after their four year old daughter, Lily. Josh and Hannah are best friends with a golden couple, Dan and Sasha, who are well off, attractive and who seem to have everything going for them. They all pop in and out of each other’s houses, eat out together, get drunk together and their respective children are playmates. (The other lesson in this book is probably to make sure you have a wide circle of friends, rather than an exclusive sort of friendship with just one other couple).
Dan, however, has been shagging around, and when he falls in love with a 24 year old model, he tells Josh. Josh tells Hannah, who tells Sasha and surprise, surprise, she is heartbroken. Dan and Sasha ask Josh and Hannah if Josh can move in with them temporarily, so their daughter, September, can adjust to their separation. In the beginning, Dan truly believes he and Sasha will have an amicable break up, while Sasha is convinced Dan will come to his senses and come crawling back to her. Josh and Hannah believe that they will be able to stay friends with both parties and are determined not to take sides, although Hannah hopes Dan and Sasha will reconcile.
Sasha’s unhappiness and anger grows as she realises that Dan is not coming home, and she imposes dreadfully on Hannah, who has never learned to say ‘no.’ This situation would probably have improved eventually, except that Sasha’s behaviour becomes more and more unhinged. Hell has no fury like a woman scorned and all of that.
Josh and Hannah’s marriage, which was already struggling, suffers from the added pressure Sasha and Dan put on them. All of the characters are dysfunctional in their own way, including the only person who I thought was sane, in a last minute twist which I didn’t see coming. The Broken is an apt title for a book with this particular set of characters. It is very difficult to know which of the character’s stories to believe.
To be fair to Josh and Hannah, it wouldn’t have mattered what they did when they were placed in this situation, because there was no right thing for them to do. Taking sides with their friends came back and bit them. Trying not to take sides didn’t work either. Sadly, the marriage break-downs of your friends in real life, although not as dreadful as Dan and Sasha’s, often means the loss of friendships too. Like everyone else, I know this from experience.
If you like psychological thrillers, The Broken will probably be up your alley. I wouldn’t go out of my way to read another book in this style, because I prefer more sweetness and light in my recreational reading, but that isn’t the author’s fault. I will heed the author’s warning and mind my own business when it comes to other people’s affairs. The most unlikely people can turn out to be bunny-boilers.