cover image Broken Juliet

Broken Juliet

Leisa Rayven. St. Martin%E2%80%99s Griffin, $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-250-06419-6

The second half of Rayven%E2%80%99s contemporary romance duology (after Bad Romeo) begins with its leads tentatively giving romance another try. Cassie Taylor and Ethan Holt have been on-again, off-again lovers since college, and their job as co-leads in a Broadway play has made them confront their feelings for one another. Cassie remembers Ethan%E2%80%99s emotionally withholding past behavior in a long series of flashbacks as she attempts to learn to trust him again. Much of the book is devoted to Cassie%E2%80%99s slow recovery from her deep emotional wounds, but Ethan%E2%80%99s own, similar recovery takes place offstage, so it%E2%80%99s hard to see that he%E2%80%99s worth the effort. In addition, the pattern of codependent need that made the pairing a bad idea is shown in such excruciating, repetitive detail that it becomes difficult to believe they can transcend it. Rayven%E2%80%99s writing focuses on scene-by-scene ups and downs, and the book comes across as one long argument for its protagonists seeking therapy years and hundreds of pages earlier than they actually do. Agent: Christina Hogrebe, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Apr.)