Pieces of You is the second in the Shattered Hearts series, featuring Claire, the daughter of a rape victim who committed suicide when Claire was seven.
Claire is now a young adult trying to finish college, dealing with the heartbreak of giving her own child up for adoption, and trying to choose between the two men who love her. Chris is her ex-boyfriend and her child’s father, a rock star who’s trying to help her fight for an open adoption and secretly doing his best to get her back. Adam is her current boyfriend, a surfing competitor who has been essentially coerced into working for his father rather than taking a job nearer to Claire.
When Adam’s work takes him out of town for several weeks, he can’t stand the fact that he’s leaving Claire alone in the same area as Chris. So he breaks up with her, in part to take the pressure off her, but ends up hurting her badly and driving her back into Chris’s arms. Can he make things right with Claire? Or was she always meant to be with Chris all along? Can she figure out which guy she wants, convince her child’s parents that she’s stable enough to be a healthy presence in young Abigail’s life, and get her life back on an even keel?
This is a deeply emotional book, full of tension and drama. The characters are engaging, and it is possible for the reader to root for either guy – possibly even both, at different times in the book. All of them have well thought-out backstories that give their emotional issues roots in past events, making them more sympathetic than pitiful.
Claire’s grief and conflicts over giving up her daughter will wrench any parent’s heart, and her own history adds a poignant touch to her feelings of guilt. The love scenes are passionate and intense (with both men), and the ending leaves the reader on a cliffhanger, waiting to see which, if either, she ends up choosing (presumably in the sequel).
The reader who has not yet read the first book in the series would be well-advised to do so before reading this one – there are a number of loose ends left over from the first book that may confuse the reader attempting to start in the middle. Depending on the reader’s taste and perspective, also, the emotional tension that makes the book as intense as it is may end up being too much psychodrama for some.
The main characters are none of them terribly emotionally healthy, and often behave in annoyingly childish ways (understandable, given their pasts, but frustrating). I must admit that at points, I wanted to put on my best Oprah impression and hand out therapy sessions instead of cars: “YOU get a therapist! And YOU get a therapist! and YOU!”
This story is best enjoyed in its proper place in the series, by a reader who is looking for an intense and dramatic sort of romance, rather than a light and fun piece of mind-candy.
Reviewed by Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader