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New Release Review: Broken Bonds by Demelza Carlton

Release date: 19 April 2022

Rating: 3.5/5


Anemone's certain fate has it in for her…until a huge man bursts into her house, insisting he's been woken from his centuries-long sleep to be her personal protector.


Young widow Anemone buries her grief in the distant past, in her job as a museum curator. Until a hero appears from nowhere, saving her from a freak accident.

Dun doesn't remember anything before the moment he saved Anemone. But from the moment he saw her, he knew he'd stop at nothing to keep her safe.

Can they break the bonds holding them back to pain in the past, and find a new future?



Carlton’s second installment in the Heart of Stone Trilogy focuses on the first book’s main character, Catena’s, neighbor across the hall, Anemone and her very own gargoyle protector, Dunstan. At less than half the length of the first book, I was pretty disappointed that much of what was introduced as the main mystery of what happened to the brothers to make them turn into such creatures was not at least elaborated on in this one. This installment still addresses the issue, but it does not give any more details than the first book did. I still feel it is a nice addition to the trilogy, though.

Broken Bonds is a very fast-paced contemporary romance and the second in a trilogy about brothers who are cursed to be gargoyle protectors. It’s spicy; I’d give it about 3 peppers out of 5 on the heat scale. Anemone, a museum curator and scientist at a historic prison site, has lost her husband to a shipping accident and still mourns him to the point where she can’t bear to work with ships like she used to. One day, while messing around with the foster cat she has in her bathroom, the ceiling collapses in on her, and her gargoyle guardian awakens and saves her from the fallout in the same instant.

Taking into consideration that people are different and therefore characters will also be different, I will still voice my preference for Catena, the main character in the first book, over Anemone, the main character in this one. It’s not by much, though. The fact of the matter may be that there is much more story to the first book and I got to know Catena a bit better. Anemone goes about her days on autopilot trying to force life into herself again, but her grief keeps her stilted and in a dazed fog. She comes alive more and more after her first encounter with the gargoyle in her house, and eventually learns to live again with his help and love, but I don't really know her as well because of the brevity of the narrative.

Dunstan is quite the leading man. Though he is different from Tor, with a touch less chivalry and propriety than his brother, he has no less concern for his charge and falls for her in an instant of mutual despair. The connection between he and Anemone is not quite as believable, in my opinio The first conversation is very matter of fact, and Anemone accepts the existence of a winged, horned man coming out of her walls with no reservations, and there really isn’t any thought about it after the first moment of their introduction.

I do quite like the mystery incorporated into this book that complements the underlying one involving the brothers. Duncan does the legwork for Anemone in finding out more about what happened in one of her major life events, and she in turn helps him figure out (or starts to, as she initiates the looking at the end of the book) what has happened to him. It’s an uncomplicated plot, but it still managed to hold my attention enough to get me through the book in one afternoon.

I do hope the next book in the series is a bit longer; there are a lot of things that need discovering and loose ends that need tying up. I enjoy the historical aspect of the book; the contemporary parts are not my cup of tea, though. That’s just my preference, however. I like things set in the past or in fantasy worlds much better. Overall, the book has a fantastic premise; I just wish this one had taken more time getting to know the two main characters and fleshing out the plot for both. I’ll still recommend it. 3.5/5 stars.

My sincere thanks to the author, Demelza Carlton, for the review copy, for which I willingly give my own, honest opinion.

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