The Broken Ones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 9 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

What an amazing book! Thank you so much Serpent’s Tail for sending me this early copy of The Broken Ones in exchange for my honest, unedited feedback.

Everyone has a past. Some are forever haunted by theirs. This is the case for Nell Way, previously known as Penelope Wendall. 

This book has 2 storylines:

1. Then: Nell*s past. Her daughter disappeared 10 years ago and Nell was charged with her murder. What really happened?

2. Now: Nell is a True Crime writer and is working on her latest book. Creepy things start happening. Nell and her sister Lindsay are being threatened. Is this related to the book or to their past?

I was totally hooked on this mystery. Couldn’t rest until I found out what happened all those years ago. This was the first book I’ve read from Ren Richards, and from now on, I’ll keep an eye on her. I read that this is her debut in the mystery/thriller scene and boy was I surprised! I see a bright future for her in this genre. Great style, completely unpretentious and cool. Great character writing: I could relate to the MC, for a change, and the way the author described each character’s traits was incredibly clear. I loved how she wrote Lindsay. Great female characters!

One line I highlighted from straightforward Lindsay: There is no “love him enough”. You love someone or you don’t. Love is an emotion, not a unit of measurement.

I highly recommend this to everyone. You will not be disappointed. I wish I could say more about the plot, but I don’t want to give too much away and ruin your experience.

This will for sure be on my top books of the year.
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WoW............The Broken Ones by Ren Richards was Just.............a brilliant but haunting read! Once I downloaded it and started to read it I was Hooked! The characters  were very interesting and you learnt about them throughout this book. You read about them in the past and present which brings this book together. As I've said before It was Just brilliant.

I highly recommend this book and definitely check out more from this author in the future.

Big Thank you to Serpent's Tail / Profile Books, Viper and Netgalley for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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She didn't know if she loved her baby... but did she kill her?
A bestselling true crime writer, Nell tells other people's stories. But there is one story she won't tell. Ten years ago, she was a teenage mother with a four-year-old she found desperately hard to love. Then the little girl disappeared.
As Nell begins to interview the subject of her next book, a woman convicted of murdering her twin sister, it becomes clear that someone has uncovered her true identity. And they know that Nell didn't tell the truth about the day her daughter vanished...

This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuousluy.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Wow wow wow!

I could not put this down. it definitely had me on edge from beginning to end, with a slower pace narrative exactly where it needed it. We are transported from the now to the past filling the gaps of the story along the way but still keeping the tension in both timelines, a difficult task that Ren Richards (or otherwise known as Lauren DeStefano) does beautifully well!

I am quite new still to this genre but I have to admit I loved it, it kept me glued to my Kindle and I was not expecting the twists and turns. And to learn that this novel is a debut for the author in this genre makes it very promising if they decide to delve into it with more books. Such a moody, emotional and gripping writing, I am happy this book made me curious to read more of the author which says a lot about the writer's talent! It makes me so happy when that accidentally happens, in the sense that I was only intrigued by the blurb and had no idea about the rest making an unexpected surprise that kept me awake at night (and a bit terrified of mannequins)

‘Murderers are humans too. That’s the part people forget.’
'You just look at me like I'm a bank page in your book and you haven't decided what story you're going to tell me'.

Thank you to Netgalley, Ren Richards and Serpent's Tail for this free advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. 

#Netgalley #renrichards #serpentstail

Trigger Warning: descriptive dead baby references
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I struggled with the book. It wasn’t as gripping as I first expected. This genre needs to be outstanding in order to receive 5 stars. Sorry
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Nell writes True Crime novels and is living with her boyfriend Sebastian. But will she ever be able to tell him the truth about the darkest part of her past in order to have a real relationship with him? Or will telling him mean she looses everything anyway?

When things start turning hairy, is Nells past about to catch up with her or is a violent ex of her sister Lindsay back?

I did enjoy this and I am pleased to say that there were some pretty cool twists I did not see coming. That being said, I feel like the end is incomplete. Perhaps there is a sequal in the works.

On another note there are a lot of editing errors. I did get this book as a pre-release so I can only hope that these have been corrected for the books release tomorrow. Otherwise the absence of capital letters for names and the starts of sentences is going to get very annoying and possibly off-putting for a lot of readers.

Overall, for me this story is a solid 3 stars. I like the story line, the twists, the range of characters and how well developed those characters are. The plot was convincing and well paced , easy to read and compelling. It just needed an extra chapter or two to wrap everything up properly.
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This is a really good thriller. There is a lot of action the whole way through and great characters. I read this book in one sitting. It is a really good page turner which kept me hooked right up to the end. There are a lot of twists in the plot which keeps adding to the suspense.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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WOW. I didn’t expect that.

This is a great start for Ren Richards’ dream of breaking into the adult suspense/thriller genre.  I’ve not read any of her YA novels.

I read this in 24 hours.... got lots of things to do however I couldn’t put this down.  Nell Way and her sister Lindsay are great characters, in fact all of the characters are believable. However, the plot is built around Nell Way and Lindsay.

The first two sentences draw you in straight away.

‘Murderers are human too. That’s the part people forget.’

Born to a mother in jail, who tried to murder her alcoholic father, Nell was brought up by her sister during their time in foster care homes.

Both girls ended up quite wealthy, one through marriage, Lindsay and Nell through being a crime writer.  However Nell has a dark secret which you don’t get to find out what happened until the very end.

After getting pregnant at 14 and giving birth to a daughter, Reina, who was a little devil 😈 the father, Ethan and his wealthy family took over her life.

The plot thickens and it takes you from Now to Then, two timelines and explores the lives of the two women.  What happened then and what is happening now.

It starts to get personal when Nell takes on a new female criminal who found out about her past which she brought up when Nell interviewed her for her next book.

It makes you think who and why are Nell and Lindsay being targeted? Is it something to do with Lindsay’s past or the new jailbird, Easter, Nell has started to research? Easter is a Russian psychopath, or is she? Ren keeps you guessing until the end.

Sebastian, Nell’s boyfriend, is the stable pin throughout, sounds like my kind of guy, Nell’s rock, however he doesn’t know about her past and is about to learn, does he stay?

Loved this book, easy to read, a poetic style of writing and Ren keeps the suspense going until the end.

Would definitively recommend. 5*

There’s quite a few typos and grammatical errors in my manuscript which will naturally be rectified before it is published..... 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest unedited feedback.
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I wasn't able to put this book down.

"The Broken Ones" begins inconspicuously, introducing Nell Way, a true crime writer who is in a happy relationship, and has a knack for humanising the otherwise infamous in her work. However, as she begins interviewing Easter Hamblin, the murdering half of a formerly conjoined pair of twins, her initially perfect life begins to unravel before the reader's eyes, and we quickly learn that she has  a past just as tormented and troubled as that of those whom she interviews. A past that resurfaces and culminates into life threatening. 

The aptly titled novel, with its rapid twists and unexpected turns, is one that reflects on our imperfect nature. The protagonist, is in her own way, 'broken', as are some of the other characters (who will remained unnamed for spoiler purposes). Richards' writing is one that any thriller fan will appreciate - fast paced, tense and able to create a mood of desperation that envelopes the reader until the last page. I was torn between sympathising with characters, while disliking them at the same time. The strength of the novel ultimately lies in the moral greyness of its lead : Nell is emotionally scarred, which leads her to make questionable decisions, which are easy to judge as the reader, but at the same time, painfully relevant and relatable. 

Recommended to thriller lovers.
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4.5 stars - Eloquently haunting debut thriller

"Murderers are human too" are the first words. A captivating and compassionate glimpse into the dark edges of our humanity, and our broken secrets safely tucked away for survival.

Really loved this story. There is a lot to be said. The writing is brilliant. I was hooked instantly. 
This author's debut into the thriller scene will not go unnoticed. Ren Richards has a gift for writing edginess and poetry. The atmospheric setup of each scene, and complex character development would be suitable for a TV series. 

The writing is so immersive, emotionally tense and suspenseful that the discomfort crawled inside me and made home there as I read. I applaud the author for that ability. One example is in the scenes where Nell is interviewing Widow Thompson in prison, the mental toying felt like she had me under a spell of physical tension. Unbelievable! I didn’t know a book could do that! 

It's a tragic story, told from a past and present perspective, and I really felt the depths of this characters pain, as well as from others around her. So broken. So spooky.  Nell Way is a true crime writer, in search for honest stories. Her career brings unwanted backlashes, as well as her own unwanted past when someone leaves disturbing clues too close to home.

I love how each character took an edge, mystery, and darkness of their own: 
"Her eyelids shimmering with hints of silver. It was a deliberate sort of beauty, meant to prove a point... Silver, the colour of knives."

I also love how the writing made everything feel discretely but carefully orchestrated to make the protagonist seem isolated, fearful and hunted by the ordinary people around her. For example: "Mrs Eddleton floated into Lindsay's apartment like an apparition, her violet crepe skirts rustling and full of whispers... Mr Eddleton was a hunter...and he had the pelts fashioned into presents for his wife." 

I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. It didn't give me a feeling of satisfaction, nor did I dislike it. It just wasn't what I expected. It felt rather easy, ordinary or lacking a counterbalance to the majority of the book. But maybe given the circumstances, it was the perfect choice. I don't want to disqualify the authors intentions, as I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book.

Ultimately a very brave and intoxicatingly moody story. Ren Richards writes deeply into the most wounded parts of humanity. Words blooming flowers out of the ugliness. I have high hopes and will be following closely!

Thank you to Netgalley, Ren Richards and Serpent's Tail for this free arc in exchange for an honest review. 

TW: descriptive dead baby references
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Ren Richards
The Broken Ones 

The shape of this file is hard to read so I didn't finished the book. 

Thank you NetGalley for this arc.
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I love a book that switches narratives between the current day and the past - it is a great way of revealing more and more about the characters but in a subtle and effective way. This book uses this narrative to great effect by switching between the successful crime writer Nell and her as a teenager, when she was called Penelope.  The very fact that she has changed her name instantly made me want to know more.

In the current day, Nell and her sister are being harassed and it becomes more and more dangerous, and even threatens their lives. There are many options as to who may be behind it; from one of the subjects of Nell's books to her sister's ex husbands. However, I found that I guessed the outcome of that plot as it seemed obvious to me.

In the past, young Penelope has had a tough upbringing and she has a child at 14. She moves in with the overbearing and wealthy family of the baby's father and her life is not pleasant. She does not bond with her child and it is uncomfortable to read her negative thoughts about her own child. However, it is so well written to evoke such strong feelings in the reader. We know quite quickly that Penelope's child goes missing but we don't know the circumstances until the very end. I was hooked to find out what happened and spent hours rushing through the book. However, I was left a little unsatisfied and frustrated with the reveal.

It felt like the two timelines did not quite tie in together and could have been two separate books in their own right. That said, it was a page turning read and enjoyable - I just didn't feel satisfied with the outcomes in either timeline.

Thanks to Serpent's Tail / Profile Books, Viper and Netgalley for the chance to read this ARC - I'll definitely check out more from this author.
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This was an incredible thriller that I had a great time reading. Exquisite character development and fast flowing story make this book a success
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Nell writes true crime stories, interviewing convicted killers and telling their stories.  While investigating a woman convicted of killing her twin, Nell's own story and secrets are uncovered.  The story is gripping and the characters are interesting, and the move between past and present allows the story to come together perfectly.  Recommended!
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I flew through this book and really enjoyed it. For those who enjoy mysteries and crime novels this will keep you wondering right up until the end. There were many different threads, some which I found plausible and others a little less so. I did find some aspects easy enough to guess but others had me wondering right up until the very end. My heart went out to Nell & Lindsey who were like chalk and cheese but united despite their differences, because of their fractured past and because of all that life threw at them. The references to Nell’s previously completed works contributed well to the storyline. I enjoyed this read and am looking forward  to more from Ren Richards
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Then - Penelope Wendall was only fourteen when she gave birth to her baby daughter Reina. Because Penelope and her older sister Lindsey had grown up in the care system, Penelope had really wanted to give her daughter all the love that Penelope had never received from her own parents. But from the moment that she was born,all Reina did was scream and Penelope found that she couldn't summon up any love for her chld. In fact, she hated her daughter and she felt that the feeling was mutual. Penelope was convinced that there was something wrong with her daughter,something evil but no one would listen to what she trying to say. Then one morning, Reina mysteriously disappeared and Penelope found herself the number one suspect in a murder investigation.

Now - After changing her name to Nell Way, Penelope is living with her loving boyfriend and is the best selling author of two true crime novels. She hasn't told her partner the truth about her tragic past and never intends too. But when she goes to interview the woman who is going to be the subject of her next book, Nell is shocked when the woman asks her about her missing daughter. Then Nell and Lindsey are the victims of some terrifying incidents. Who would want to hurt the sisters? Could it be Lindsey's violent ex husband? Someone who was upset by one of Nell's controversial books? Or someone who knows the truth about what happened to Reina ten years ago?

The chapters of this utterly enthralling thriller flip back and forth between then and now and is voiced entirely from Penelope/Nell's perspectives. I couldn't help feeling a lot of empathy for Penelope during the chapters that were set in the past. I was eighteen when I gave birth to my oldest son,I brought him up on my own for five years and didn't have any support. Although Penelope and Reina lived with Reina's father and his parents,she also didn't have any real support. The father was able to carry on attending University whilst Penelope was trapped all day,every day with a screaming baby,no friends,no life and nobody listening to a word that she said. Essentially she was a child,who was trying to raise a child whilst going through the hormonal change that we all experience when we are teenagers. It raised the question,was both mother and daughter damaged in some way? Did Reina sustain some type of brain injury during her traumatic birth and no one could see it but Penelope? As for Nell in the chapters that were set in the present day, I had mixed feelings about her character,just like I had mixed feelings about her sympathy towards the mother who murdered her children in the bathtub. As a parent, I was horrified that Nell refused to criticise the woman's abhorrent behaviour but as a fan of crime thrillers,I know that there has been cases where parents have gone into dissociative fugues, have killed their children and then been shocked and upset when they discovered what they had done. There are many grey areas where mental health is concerned, there is a very thin line between sanity and being criminally insane. 

The Broken Ones is a extremely well written debut thriller from a obviously very talented new author. I was hooked in from the first page and didn't want to put this brilliant book down. It is a mesmerising story of families, siblings, manipulation, deception, mental health and secrets which has some intense danger scenes, keeps the reader guessing and frantically turning the pages. The swapping between the two time frames is smooth and at no point interferes with the flow of the story. I loved this brilliant thriller and would have given it far more than five stars if I could. This is definitely going to be one of my favourite reads of this year. Very very highly recommended.
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Another new author for me, thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish, a truly gripping read and I will definitely be reading more by Ren Richards
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A very dark and cold story. It was fantastic though and I literally couldn’t put it down. Well written. I’d definitely read more by this author xx
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The Broken Ones had me gripped from the beginning.

Following Nell a true crime writer who has her own dark past this book is full of heartbreak, deception and some juicy twists! Told in the past and present the two storylines work perfectly together drawing together for some shocking conclusions. I loved how gritty and dark The Broken Ones is and can highly recommend!
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What an incredibly good read this book turned out to be and while it took me a few chapters to get into it once I did I was gripped in the clever and intriguing story. Nell is an successful author of true crime books and she starts to research her latest one a story of once conjoined twins in which one is convicted of murdering the other but while this is a very strange case Nell has secrets of her own and while researching the story of the twins she soon gets the feeling someone has been looking into her own past and her true identity and from there on in we are thrust into a dark and gripping story that races along. 
This is a book that’s exceptionally well written, fabulous characters and full of atmosphere with two storylines running parallel making it one hell of a great read and what more do you ask from a mystery thriller.
 So very well recommended and I look forward to reading more from  Ren Richards in the future and many thanks for an excellent book.
My thanks also to NetGalley and Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books, Viper for giving me the chance to read the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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