“In our brokenness, we are made strong. In our brokenness lies our true beauty.”
Those aren’t words from Nicole Baart’s latest – and perhaps best to date – novel, LITTLE BROKEN THINGS. The words are mine and they were the first words that came to me when I had turned the last page, closed the book and set it on the bedside table.
LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is the story of three women and the events that have intertwined their lives irrevocably and unforgivingly. It is a story of truths and lies and deceptions… of secrets hidden away and buried beneath the weight of years. Until one day the appearance of an innocent child forces the exhumation of a past that has been denied for far too long.
LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a beautifully layered mystery, one that showcases the author’s story craft as well as her deep understanding and empathy of the human condition. With shifting points of view between Quinn, Nora, and Liz, chapter by chapter, the reader is drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery of Lucy. Each page turn is a slow reveal as the author draws the reader further and further into the lives of a family charitably described as broken.
Liz, the matriarch, for whom appearance is more than just important; it is the only thing that matters and she would drown in the waters of denial before letting anyone see even a hint of imperfection or brokenness.
Quinn and Nora, the daughters, whose idea and ideals of life have always been divergent must now come to terms with a past they didn’t ask for but, to a small degree at least, they were complicit in.
Ms. Baart weaves these women’s stories together, layer upon layer, revelation upon revelation, building to a surprise ending more than worthy of any best-selling suspense novelist currently in the market. The tension throughout is palpable and reminiscent of a Mary Kubica or Heather Gudenkauf novel in its deftness and execution. With her seemingly inexhaustible compassion, sensitivity, and understanding of the human condition, the author tackles such once taboo subjects as sexual assault and abuse in a manner that others in her field could take notes from.
Breathtaking in its depth, LITTLE BROKEN THINGS, cast through the eyes and hearts of a complex, multi-faceted cast of characters, tells the story of family broken by the flaws and imperfections of humankind. It is a story of love and betrayal, a taut unveiling of their brokenness and the search for redemption.
LITTLE BROKEN THINGS marks the author’s official debut to a favorite genre of mine… suspense. Hitting all the marks, this insightful and well-paced mystery is a ‘must-read’ that more than satisfies and one I recommend without reservation.
Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw
10 February 2018
(Writing under a large mushroom somewhere in the Pacific Northwest)