Review: Unbreak My Heart by K-Lee Klein

2nd Edition

Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.

JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.

JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press, 2013.

***DNF 27%***

Dissenting opinion ahead!

Well, this is painful. This book is a re-edition and the previous version was flooded with shining reviews and lots of swooning. I expected lots of swooning from my part, too. I was ready for it. But that didn’t happen. In fact, the book required a big effort from me to keep reading. I was bored to tears.

It’s not that I have something definite to blame for the fail. There is no pet peeve exactly, not a tangible reason I can point to. It’s just this tedious writing that can’t move me. Not even with the dead partner drama. Not even with the alcohol drama. Not with anything. Indifference is not a good companion. It can’t hold my interest for long.

This time the cover is much more attractive. I grant that.

But not even the plot was original. It reminded me of:

-Chase the Storm: the mature guy who had been matched up with the love of his life, who died. Some time passes, and the younger guy comes onto the scene and turns everything upside-down. They are on a ranch. They train horses. This book works from the very beginning.

-After Ben: the mature guy who had been matched up with the love of his life, who was older than him, and now that some time has passed, he still hasn’t overcome his death, and he meets a much younger guy for whom he falls without a chance of preventing it. We are in Seattle instead of in the South. We are in an Internet forum instead of on a ranch. But more or less, the parallelism is there. This book took a little longer to grab my attention for real but it never wandered.

Still, I wanted to give this a chance.

However, this didn’t work for me.

Now that I’m writing about it, yes, there was something that upset me here.

An empathetic person never says he’s empathetic . It’s arrogant and pretentious. I’ve dealt with a bunch of doctors and psychologists myself and those who say they are empathetic are precisely the ones whose face I wanted to scratch to pieces.

I speak the truth, those who don’t talk about themselves but focus on the patient are the ones I really like. Seriously, there is this untold rule that says that it’s haughty to talk so highly about yourself for no good reason, but so far, TJ hasn’t heard about that statement. We are repeatedly told how empathetic he is, how good he is at reading expressions, how he has a gift to understand people’s pain and put himself in their shoes.

But you know what? I never believed him as this other-worldly empathetic creature. In fact, TJ sounds so paternalistic in and out of his head he fails miserably at the humbling part.

That’s why he abandoned Medicine and got into Psychology. Why? Because Medicine (or Surgery, as he implies) is not empathetic at all. WTF? Have you heard about Psychiatry? Or Pediatrics? Or Oncology? How can you make a person with descompensated schizophrenia trust you if he’s hearing voices who command him to suspect everyone? How do you order a 5-year-old kid to stop crying and let himself be put the stickers on his chest for the ECG? How do you tell someone she has breast cancer and the options she has to erase it? Delicate specialties, those, but most are that way.

Surgery, not empathetic? Uhm… how can you make the person trust you to put his life in your hands? Being a bastard, maybe that works?

I’ll tell you this: I’ve met Neurosurgeons and Pediatric Surgeons and Cardiologists with more empathy than you would be led to believe. I've even met Plastic Surgeons I adored. People who reconstruct faces or give new skin to burnt people or even provide breasts after their total removal. Have you heard about those? No empathy? Really?

There is more than meets the eye.

Choosing a “prestigious” career doesn’t mean you are an insensitive asshole. Of course, I’ve also met lots of insensitive assholes. There are sharks everywhere.

And it’s funny because his teachers tell him he’s not made for Medicine/Psychology, that he gets invested too much himself. Forgetting that part (OMG, he’s so empathetic he’s making himself sick), I’m sorry, but it’s hard for me to believe that situation: a medical/psychologist student being psychoanalyzed and advised to see if he’s fit for this career and being told he’s not. Really, I’ve never heard of this before.

Well, whatever, he says he’s not made for being doctor nor a psychologist. That’s why he’s travelling so far from home.


I prefer Brett’s POV, by a long shot.

Still, the love story is a slow burning one. So slow I never got to see a sparkle. Apparently, neither of these guys are the other’s one type, but they are immediately attracted to each other. It wasn’t believable to me. Not at all.

So yes, I’m moving on.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads or Dreamspinner Press.

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