Mended by Kayla Marie

mend1

three-stars

Ashley, a single mum to a near-delinquent adolescent, leaves the city and all its memories behind her. All she can hope for is that a fresh start in the quiet countryside of Alabama will help keep her son, Emmet, out of trouble.

Wade, son of an alcoholic and the brother of a convict, seems to be just the kind of role model Emmet needs to turn his life around. Luckily for Ashley, Wade is also a handsome southern gentleman with flat abs.

 

The conversation had flowed easily between Ashley and him as if they’d known each other their whole lives. They’d covered the basics of a “get to know you meal,” but the conversation also went deeper than that. Wade usually didn’t like talking about himself much, especially the aspects of his life that were personal, but somehow she made him want to talk about it. Something about her kind smile, genuine interest, and understanding demeanor made him comfortable.

 

I applaud the author on her ambition but I felt that it became a little diluted, a focus on quantity over quality as she threw in every potential scenario of a broken home and damaged relationship. The kid is a trouble maker, the mother a widower, the love interest has a drinking problem: add a splash of PTSD, a slice of abuse and swirl until you have suicidal tendencies.

Most of the past trauma to be ‘mended’ seemed to be skipped merrily over, the darker themes not given the grit that they deserved but merely serving as backstory. Which, considering the book is at heart a fuzzy, warming romance is not a bad thing, it just isn’t really for me.

The writing quality is better than most self-published submissions we get sent in, decently proofread and fairly well laid out. However, the writing isn’t amazing, and the author has a way to go to improve her craft. Two bug bears that I had were the overly scripted dialogue, and the tell, tell, tell nature of the writing.

Let me explain what I mean, so if nothing else Kayla Marie and her fans can have their fair chance to heckle me in the comment section. First, dialogue.

 

“Tell him I said hi. You know I was just messing with you about Ashley, right? I promise I won’t pursue her. I know you like her and I don’t want to get in the way of that. I think she’d be good for you.” Reid slapped him on the back.
Dialogue is one of the best tools writers have to nudge along the story but often they forget to test how the conversation sounds. Try saying the above dialogue and you’ll quickly notice that it feels strange, in reality it’s just a monologue said aloud, with no room for real character interplay.

 

Secondly, readers want to be ‘shown’ not ‘told’.

 

“Believe me, I have more than my fair share of demons. I won’t judge you. I just want to know more about you.” He studied her for a moment. She seemed curious, eager for information, but also genuine.
In that last sentence we are given three adjectives, even if we just let slide that ‘eager for information’ is simply the definition of curious it’s still an entire sentence that contains no substance. How did he study her? What is Ashley doing that made her seem curious and genuine?

 
After being initially pleased with the standard of writing, in truth I struggled to continue reading, the above bug bears weighing me down until I eventually succumbed to the desire to skim through to the end.

A final caveat, the book has a lot of good reviews, almost all from women, so perhaps it’s just not the story for me, or for men. If you’ve read it and loved it then comment below, I’m always happy to get into a heated debate.

 

Mended Book Cover Mended
Kayla Marie
Romance
Self-published
December, 2016
374

 

Four years after her husband’s tragic and traumatic end, Ashley remains heartbroken and yearning for the man who left her behind. Desperate for healing and to break her teenage son’s newfound cycle of crime, she leaves the city for a small, sleepy town in southern Alabama hoping for a fresh start. There, she finds Wade, the charming, ever genuine contractor who’s more than she bargained for.

Plagued by guilt when his younger brother goes to prison, Wade is consumed by his brother’s bleak future and his own personal demons. There’s no room for love and happiness in his world. That is, until the beautiful widow with sad eyes and a troubled teenage son moves to town.

If only her heart didn’t belong to her past.
If only his past didn’t torment him.

One great love can transform their lives.
They need only to open their hearts.

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