A Shattered Heart (Fractured Lives #2), by Tiffany King
Publish Date: September 28, 2015
Publisher: A. T. Publishing, LLC
Format: paperback, provided by the author
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * iTunes
Rating: 4 STARS
(From Goodreads) A Shattered Heart is the story of Kathleen "Kat" Darby who discovers that although you can run away, you can never escape the ghosts from your past.
Physically, Kat Darby walked away relatively unscathed from the tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation. Emotionally, her scars run much deeper from the loss of two of her best friends and her longtime boyfriend, Dan. Unable to face the constant reminders of the person she thought she would love forever, Kat leaves for twelve months to study art in France before returning home to start her life again.
Life in Florida proves more difficult than Kat anticipated with remnants of the accident still lingering. The only solace she can find is in her love for art until she runs into Brian, the younger brother of her deceased former boyfriend. Finding they can lean on each other, Kat and Brian find comfort in their emotional common bond. When an unexpected romance develops, Kat must decide if she is willing to face the ghosts from her past in order to love again.
A Shattered Heart picks up where book one in Tiffany King's Fractured Lives series, A Shattered Moment, left off - with Kat Darby standing on the doorstep of her former best friend's house for the first time in nearly two years. I knew after having read A Shattered Moment that A Shattered Heart would be even more heartbreaking, more tear-jerking, and more angst-ridden. I was totally right. Surprisingly, it was also way more frustrating.
To catch you up, the Fractured Lives series starts in the past - with an incredibly tragic car accident involving six of the closest friends there ever were. The survivors of the accident are left with some serious physical and emotional scars, and all of them are finding it difficult to move on in the wake of something so devastating.
On the surface, it seems like Kat is the one who lost the most. She lost her soul-mate Dan and her closest girlfriend Jessica. Unlike Mac and Zach, who both have serious physical limitations due to the accident, Kat's scars are all of the emotional variety. She had these big plans for her life, and every one of them involved Dan. Now, faced with a life without him, she's completely lost and floundering. She's not happy doing anything she used to enjoy. She shuns everyone who cares about her, because it hurts too much to let people in when you could just lose them later. She has no regard for her personal safety, because there are times when she thinks death would be a better alternative to the life she's living now.
You know, it has to be monumentally hard to write a character like Kat - to allow her to be angry and guilt-ridden and sad (all justifiably so), without turning her into a total bitch. And, to allow the reader to empathize with her and hope for a better future. And, there were definitely moments that I did those things. I shed more than a couple tears at Kat's plight, because everything she went through sucks so much. I can't even imagine what it's like, and I can't believe that I would've handled things much better than she did. But, I also spent a lot of time being pissed off at her for how she treated nearly every person around her - especially Brian, the boy she spends much of the book trying not to fall in love with.
And, I get it. Brian reminds Kat so much of his older brother, which is exactly what Kat does NOT want, especially when she develops feelings for him. And, yet, there's this pull to him that can only be born out of a comforting sense of familiarity. This is someone who knew her before, and probably the only other person who could come close to understanding her loss. And, Brian was wonderful with Kat. He was patient and understanding and careful with her feelings. He also was one of the few people who didn't walk on eggshells around her and had the guts to call her on her crap.
It's for that reason that I was so frustrated at Kat a lot of the time. She so obviously was having trouble getting over what happened. She was so angry at everyone - at Mac for actually moving on, at Brian for not allowing her to continue wallowing, at her therapist for making her face the things she wanted to keep buried. And, Kat responded to all these people with seething rage that caused her to lash out with hurtful words and uncalled for physical reactions. There was this one scene on Dan's and Brian's birthday that had me actually having to close the book for a bit and walk away because I was so angry at Kat's actions.
As always, Tiffany King's writing is wonderful - goodness, I love it. Despite my issues with Kat, I did love Brian. He was a good balance to Kat, and much needed for the story. I'm so glad he wasn't a Dan clone. Although the brothers were only one year apart, they were very different in appearance and personality. I thought that was important to the story.
I loved catching up with Mac and Bentley. And, I especially loved the growth in Zach's character. He still has a ways to go, and I'm hoping we get his story next.
Be prepared for an emotional ride. Have a box of tissues at the ready, and when you reach those frustrating parts, just breath through them. I promise there's all good things on the other side.