Abandoned as a child and raised in a brothel, Gabriel St. Croix has never known tenderness, friendship or affection. Although fluent in sex, he knows nothing of love. Lost and alone inside a nightmare world, all he’s ever wanted was companionship and a place to belong. Hiding physical and emotional scars behind an icy façade, his only relationship is with a young boy he has spent the last five years protecting from the brutal reality of their environment. But all that is about to change. The boy’s family has found him, and they are coming to take him home.
Sarah Munroe blames herself for her brother’s disappearance. When he’s located, safe and unharmed despite where he as been living. Sarah vows to help the man who rescued and protected him in any way she can. With loving patience she helps Gabriel face his demons and teaches him to trust in friendship and love. But when the past catches up with him, Gabriel must face it on his own.
Becoming a mercenary, pirate and a professional gambler, Gabriel travels to London, France, and the Barbary Coast in a desperate attempt to find Sarah again and all he knows of love. On the way, however, he will discover the most dangerous journey, and the greatest gamble of all, is within the darkest reaches of his own heart.
Broken Wing is a heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and moving romantic tale. The reader gets to know Gabriel very well, and understand what motivates him and how terrible and difficult actions of his own and others could damage his soul. Through it all we root for him and the utmost happiness he deserves. Sarah may seem almost too perfect, but her faith and love is exactly what Gabriel needs.
It is very difficult for me to read of the suffering and cruelty even fictional characters experience, though I understand the value of such revelations and plot developments. More importantly, I realize fiction does reflect our reality and the terrible things that do happen, and I tend to dwell on this knowledge when brought to mind. On a happier note, perhaps a parallel can also be drawn to going through something extremely emotionally and/or physically challenging, yet coming through the better for it with a new appreciation of life's gifts. This is what the characters of Broken Wing, Gabriel in particular, discover and with it reveal the triumph of one's innate goodness.
I loved the time devoted to Sarah and Gabriel knowing each other and sharing their deepest hurts, and gave their eventual physical intimacy much more impact and appreciation. I love the title of the book: it is very meaningful and non-obvious romance-y. I also loved Judith James' writing in general. At times the wannabe-author in me will read a book and think "hmmm, I would have used this word instead" but with Broken Wing, the descriptions of the characters' actions and interactions always flowed smoothly and beautifully throughout the story. I am definitely looking out for Judith's next works, and she currently has details for two other books in progress.