Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
“We were the villains of everyone else’s story. We were the hardened, darkened core that did whatever we had to in order to survive. To come out on top. But here, together, we were something else. Something more. Together, we could move mountains.”
What do you get when one game maker marries another game maker? Fireworks. Explosions. Emotional Upheaval, and two people with fractured souls waiting on the other to help fill in the fissure. For this reader, that is my most favoritest type of romance. Why? Because it’s life. Life is full of moments that tear away little bits of our soul, and we are waiting for people to use “soul glue” to help fill in the gaps whether it be through friendship, praise, or love. When romance authors (or authors in general) such as K.A. Linde reflect that pain beautifully AND offer it through the vehicle of love and romance, it’s magic on the page for me. And K.A. Linde does this well in her newest book, The Breaking Season. I began reading Linde with her last book, The Hating Season. This left me at a disadvantage as I had to quickly understand the relationships she had curated in the books leading to Court and English’s story. Even though it’s one of my favorite tropes (enemies-to-lovers), I struggled with these two. While they had clear chemistry, it felt like something was missing. YET, in the midst of their story, I was drawn to Court’s friends, Camden and Katherine, and their “arranged marriage.” Having missed out on Katherine’s story with Penn, I had to use my powers of deduction and some of the explanations from Linde to determine the wound inflicted on her soul from that relationship. That Linde wrote this book, The Breaking Season, to unpack Camden and Katherine piqued my interest. Immensely. And, in the end, this book did not disappoint. In the least.
I’ll be honest. I was a little trepidacious about reading the book, given my warm feelings about the last book. From the first chapter of The Breaking Season, though, I was gone. I could not put this book down for even one minute. I rearranged my day because the pain of these two inflicted on each other drew me in. I needed a happy ending for them; I needed them to realize that they were two sides of the same coin. As such, as they spewed ire and pain at each other, I kept turning the page. Linde so easily crafts a chemistry between Katherine and Camden that is equal parts lust and pain and you can’t turn away from it. One minute, she eeks out pieces of hope that they could possibly be in love with each other; in the next moment, that hope is washed away in a moment of anger and hurt. Over and over again, you watch and wait for the magic to begin, and Linde craftily grabs the moment from you. Until she doesn’t. Now, I’ve read this before in other stories, and the author takes it too far for too long and it feels like manipulation, not storytelling. Not here in The Breaking Season. In this book, Linde edges you to a point, and then she finally reveals the true gravity of Katherine and Camden’s love for each other. It’s inevitable that these two end up together because they are so alike, carrying the same life burdens.
Interwoven with Katherine and Camden’s story is a deeper one about control and its effects on choices (I don’t want to give it away, so I won’t say what it is). Know that it’s a serious life situation, and again, it adds to the gravity of this story. Both Katherine and Camden find redemption eventually when they stop trying to control everything in their lives, including each other. And this is where, I think, real-life resides in The Breaking Season.
While most of us aren’t Upper Eastsiders living lavish lives, becoming social media celebrities or CEO’s of billion-dollar companies, we are people who like to maintain control of situations so that we aren’t hurt by them or by others. However, as K.A. Linde aptly illustrates for us through Katherine and Camden in The Breaking Season, control causes us to relegate relationships and experiences to a back burner. We cannot fully fall and feel unless we allow others to hold our troubles in their hands. When we stop trying to control every moment or everything in our lives, what we might find is true happiness and relief from someone else helping us carry the burden of our world. This is the ultimate glorious truth of Linde’s latest book.
In love and romance,