Review: Owner of a Broken Heart by Cheris Hodges (2020)

The Richardson Sisters, Book 1

Heat Factor: There is a lot of sex. 

Character Chemistry: They have trust issues. 

Plot: He works for her dad, but his old boss is trying to sabotage him, and also her ex-boyfriend won’t take no for an answer. 

Overall: The writing seriously impeded my enjoyment.

Let’s start with the good things about Owner of a Broken Heart

  • Our introduction to Nina is solid – she’s a sports journalist who gets called “sweetheart” by a quarterback she’s interviewing, and the resulting Twitter furor has her needing to lie low for a few days. 
  • Nina has a great relationship with her sisters and father; the members of the Richardson family are engaging, show individual personalities, and deeply care about each other. 
  • I definitely believed the attraction between Nina and Clinton, and Hodges builds enough of a connection that while they move quickly, it never feels like instalove.

However. There were two huge issues I had with this book in terms of craft. 

(Note: While I am not an author – criticism is definitely more my wheelhouse – I have spoken with people, including Erin during her NaNoWriMo extravaganza, about writing books and these two things seem to be pretty central.)

  1. Telling, not Showing

Example: We know that Clinton and his dad have a troubled relationship. We know this because Clinton thinks, “I have a troubled relationship with my dad”; later, he tells Nina, “I have a troubled relationship with my dad.” I am paraphrasing here. This book is heavy on the dialogue, which can work – but in this case, the dialogue felt expository rather than natural. As I was reading the second half of the book, it felt to me like the only pauses for description that occurred was so Nina and Clinton could have sex. 

  1. And instead of Therefore

Here’s how the plot is structured: 

And this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened. 

As opposed to: 

This happened, therefore this happened, therefore this happened. 

Because of this structure, the plot was kind of all over the place. It didn’t feel like one cohesively structured story. Yes, real life is not a cohesively structured story, but this is one area where realism in fiction is definitely overrated. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Buy Now: Amazon

Books with similar vibes (but maybe different writing styles):

True love, southern style (ie: “I’ll make you grits for breakfast”)

Journalists, authors, and other ladies who write

I’m interested in reading books by authors of color

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