Author: Leisa Rayven
Recently I read Bad Romeo, the debut novel by Leisa Rayven, and it left me wanting the follow up so when it arrived on my desk I couldn’t leave it sitting.
Broken Juliet picks up right where Bad Romeo left off and throws us right back onto the roller coaster ride that was the relationship between Cassie and Ethan.
Cassie and Ethan are standing on opposite sides of her apartment door, all of us waiting to see if she will open it and let him in.
This is a sequel and continues the story millions loved in Bad Romeo but there is enough back story that you will enjoy this one as a stand-alone too.
Broken Juliet takes us through the end of rehearsals and well into the play’s season. At the same time we travel through their time at The Grove Academy, from the end of their first year right through to graduation.
Rayven still writes from Cassie’s point of view but we get a more reliable insight into Ethan’s character when he opens himself wholly to Cassie by handing over all of his journals. Some of the entries make their way into the book.
The tables are turned in Broken Juliet with Cassie being emotionally closed off and Rayven explores the opposite dynamic to their relationships of the past, with the big difference that it is Ethan who has broken Cassie.
The story was beautifully written and the shifts in time were helped retain the flow rather than make the story disjointed.
Our Star-crossed lovers have a connection neither can deny, nor ignore, but Cassie has been shattered one time too many and isn’t sure there would be any pieces to put back together again if she gives Ethan another chance. Now that they are a little older and distanced from their past it is easier to recognize the connection is so much deeper than just passion.
Both Ethan and Cassie are completely different people to the college kids we met in Bad Romeo. Ethan has found patience and calm; he has worked on his issues and knows that he will do whatever it takes to have Cassie back in his life. Cassie on the other hand has shut down emotionally; she’s a smoking, swearing queen of the one night stand heavily protected in the fortress she has built around her heart.
One of the great things about this duet is that there is no guaranteed happily ever after, there’s no riding off into the sunset and you can only hope that it isn’t going to end in the same dramatic fashion as the original Romeo and Juliet. Rayven paints their picture so beautifully that you can’t help but hold out hope that they will get their happily ever after.
Cassie makes some unprofessional choices and even though you want to be outraged you find yourself mentally cheering her on and completely understanding her motivation.
The banter, the snark and the wit brings a lightness to this read that may otherwise be missing; it makes for a book that I did not want to put down. The angst and self-sabotage was at times quite painful to watch though I’m sure something most of us will be able to relate to, at least to some extent.
Where Bad Romeo was all about steamy anticipation, Broken Juliet has steam in spades. Cassie and Ethan are the leads in the play so there is plenty of physical contact on stage, and as we explore the past there is plenty of intimacy that we get a birds-eye view of to fully understand how they came to be who and where they are in the present.
Leisa Rayven has done a beautiful job of completing the story of Cassie and Ethan, we have been able to see them at their best and at their worst while we watch their separate evolutions.
Broken Juliet is a love story riddled with tragedy that will make you laugh and your heart ache for the pain of the characters and an ending that I am not going to spoil. Definitely well worth a read and what better way to spend a wet windy autumn day.
Broken Juliet is Book #18 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.
Broken Juliet is available in good bookstores and from Pan Macmillan.
Thanks to Pan Macmillan we have 3 sets of the Starcrossed duo to giveaway to our readers. For your chance to win a copy of both Bad Romeo and Broken Juliet tell us in the comments below about your favourite starcrossed love story.
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