Summary and book reviews of Half Broken Things by Morag Joss

Half Broken Things

by Morag Joss

Half Broken Things
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2005, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2006, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

A stunning, thought-provoking crime novel of chilling moral complexity. A gripping, haunting exploration of love and our need for it, of the damage done when we go long without it, and the deeds we might be driven to in its name.

A gripping tale of psychological suspense perfect for the readership of Minette Walters and Ruth Rendell, Half Broken Things is a novel that peers into the lives of three dangerously lost people…and the ominous haven they find when they find each other.

Jean is a house sitter at the end of a dreary career. Steph is nine months pregnant and on the run. And Michael is a thief. Through a mixture of deceit, good luck, and misfortune, these three damaged loners have come together at a secluded country home called Walden Manor. Now all three have found what they needed most: a new beginning, a little kindness, a little love. Living off the manor's riches, tending its grounds and gardens, they leave the outside world far behind and build a happiness so long denied them. That is, until the first unexpected visitor arrives...igniting a chain reaction that is at once spellbinding and disastrous.

A stunning, thought-provoking crime novel of chilling moral complexity, Half Broken Things is a gripping, haunting exploration of love and our need for it, of the damage done when we go long without it, and the deeds we might be driven to in its name.

January

Walden Manor August

This is not what it might look like. We're quiet people. As a general rule extraordinary things do not happen to us, and we are not the type to go looking for them. But so much has happened since January, and I started it. Things began to happen, things I must have brought about somehow without quite foreseeing where they would lead. So I feel I must explain, late in the day though it is. I'm going to set out, as clearly as I can, in the order in which they occurred, the things that have happened here. And I shall find it difficult because I was brought up not to draw attention to myself and I've never been considered a forthcoming person, never being one to splurge out on anything, least of all great long explanations. Indeed, Mother always described me as secretive. But that was because, with her, I came to ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

A number of reviewers compare Morag Joss to Minette Walters, as does the book jacket cover. Other than that they've both British and write psychological suspense I don't really see the comparison - I've tried a few of Minette Walters's books but found them too gory for my tastes - but I did not feel this when reading Half Broken Things.

As Joss herself says, "Although Half Broken Things has a crime in it, I didn't set out to write it as a crime novel. It's been published as a crime novel and one can see why but if it is a crime novel, it's one by accident.....I've started to feel queasy about murder as entertainment. I've begun to think there are so many more interesting things about death than the whodunnit.....I wanted to explore what people will do when they're in such terrible need of love. If there was a big idea then that was it."   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (280 words).

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A grim, courageous work that crosses into dark,interior regions American readers rarely dare to tread.

Booklist - Emily Melton

Starred Review. This is an extraordinary book--dark, painful, thought-provoking, and disturbing. Joss' masterful narrative delivers a provocative examination of good and evil, the nature of love, and the infinite variety of human behavior.

Publishers Weekly

British author Joss's brilliantly conceived, finely executed novel, which captured the CWA's Silver Dagger Award, offers psychological suspense of the highest order. This is a must read.

Reader Reviews

Miranda Spiers

Half Broken Things
This book re-arranges your normal opinion on people who are doing wrong - and what, in fact,could ordinarily could be described as doing evil. It tugs you between condemnation and compassion, and widens your conception of how needy but basically `...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Morag Joss grew up on the west coast of Scotland, completed a degree in English at St Andrew's University and then studied singing at the Guildhall School of Music. The trigger for her start as a writer was in the mid 1980s when family friend P.D. James came to stay and Joss took her on a tour of the Roman Baths in the city of Bath. While touring the baths Joss jokingly suggested that 'this would be a good place to find a body', they bounced around the idea for a minute or two and then P.D. James said 'Oh, ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Half Broken Things, try these:

  • The Girl Next Door jacket

    The Girl Next Door

    by Ruth Rendell

    Published 2015

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    In this psychologically explosive story from "one of the most remarkable novelists of her generation" (People), the discovery of bones in a tin box sends shockwaves across a group of long-time friends.

  • Love and Other Impossible Pursuits jacket

    Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

    by Ayelet Waldman

    Published 2007

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    With wry candor and tender humor, Ayelet Waldman has crafted a strikingly beautiful novel for our time, tackling the absurdities of modern life and reminding us why we love some people no matter what.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.