Brought to you by OBS reviewer Dawn
*Beware of Spoilers*
Deadly Witchcraft. Ghostly Threats. Doomed Romance.
They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Fallen Oaks. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse.
When sixteen-year-old Shiloh Trudell—a hereditary witch from the Broussard family—takes a summer job at Craven Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan, and immediately becomes enchanted by his charms.
Finally, Shiloh’s met someone who is supercute and totally into her, but Trent is immersed in the cunning deception that surrounds the mysterious Craven Manor. So much so that he may lose sight of what is truly important to him. And she can’t decide whether she wants to shake him or kiss him. Yet neither one of them can deny the immediate, passionate connection growing between them.
But underlying everything is the fear that Trent may be the next victim on a supernatural hit list, and Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him… With cryptic messages from a pesky wraith, Shiloh will finally begin to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist and decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.
Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.
Another home run for Sherry Soule. I first read the version of Beautifully Broken released in 2011. I loved it, to say the least. I contacted Sherry about the series and she explained she had enhanced the book. The new version was released in August. I am relieved it is finally here. I have been jonesing to read Beautifully Broken with more detail. I was not at all disappointed.
Shiloh is a layered character. She is 15 with a scar that people call the devil’s mark. Shiloh is snarky, a smart-ass, witty and over-all pretty self-aware. She is solitary because of her gift but also because she is consistently misjudged. She is labeled “weird” at school. Since a near death experience, Shiloh can see as well as speak to shadows, shades, wraiths, auras etc…She is a powerful witch but not in touch with that part of herself just yet. I think it scares her to death. She is young, making it difficult to face these very adult issues.
It sucks that Shiloh has lost touch with some of her mother’s relatives including her Aunt Lauren and grandparents. She could really use their support at this time in her life. It is especially important because Shiloh has a bizarre relationship with her mother. She believes she is unlovable because of how her mother treats her. My heart broke for her in this regard. If you are ignored enough, you think it is your fault. It negatively effects her self-image. I wanted to hug her and tell her it would be okay.
I enjoyed Soule bringing Shiloh’s Native American ancestry into the story. She gets many talents from both sides of her ancestry.
Shiloh has developed a telepathic shield to protect herself from the beings she sees. They want to feed off her emotions. Aside from the shield, she has not developed much else in relation to her gift. It is kismet when she lands an internship at Craven Manor with Anthony Evans. He agrees to tutor her in the ways of magic. Shiloh agrees as well but only if he teaches her more about architecture.
Trent lives at Craven Manor as they restore it to its former glory. His father travels a lot but his uncle is there to keep an eye on him. Trent appears to be arrogant, smart, and flirty. But he also seem oblivious to the weird things happening around him. It wasn’t until I read Trent’s point of view (at the end of Beautifully Broken, it was added by Soule) that I realized he is in denial, not oblivious. It is a choice on his part but it puts distance between he and Shiloh. She feels she cannot share that part of herself with him.
Trent also has impulse control issues; there is a bit of darkness in him although we do not know how it will play out as the story progresses. I do see he has trouble tapping into his emotions. He is fearful of what it might unleash. It is clear that something is different about Trent but you will have to finish the series to see what it is all about. Trent has mother issues; it is something he and Shiloh can bond over. Trent’s mother seemingly committed suicide when he was very young. I think not having a mom around is detrimental to Trent. He speaks French, which is a huge turn-on. I cannot be too lecherous but he is hot for a kid! LOL 😉
Before being enhanced, Beautifully Broken was a good book. The bones of it stood out. The enhanced version is even better. I was able to get to know both Trent and Shiloh much better. There is more flirting aka foreplay. Trent seems more interested in Shiloh’s life in this version. I felt he was disconnected previously. It seemed more one-sided before; Shiloh seemed to be more interested in him than he was in her. I was glad to see that is not the case. I am dismayed that they already keep things from one another but it makes for a damn interesting plot.
The plot is layered and intricate. I cannot say too much or it would ruin the story. Suffice it to say it is action-packed, never a dull moment. The layers are pealed away slowly, so it kept my interest. The revelations are stunning. The book ends on a cliff-hanger which is good because I am already dying for the next installment.
I am addicted to the series, to Shiloh and Trent’s story. I think it will appeal to women and young adults.
It is a must read in my opinion.