Book Review: The Broken Pane

The memories I had built exploded. As the debris landed, my mind grasped at the facts.

Charlie Roy ~ The Broken Pane


In her early twenties, Tam rushes to her childhood flat only to be confronted by a tragic discovery. Anchored by the weight of family lore, she struggles to come to terms with her loss. As her life spirals, she sets off to find the one person who may hold the answers: her mother.

Tam’s travels take her far from a home which was more broken than she had ever realised.


Everyone’s childhood is different and we can’t all be guaranteed a warm, cosy upbringing. The Broken Pane looks at how our families shape who we become, the relationships we build and the choices we make.

I can’t really say that I enjoyed this book, because it’s heart-breaking, with multiple tragic events and ongoing traumatic occurrences that are quite affecting.

Told from the perspective of Tam, who is trying to piece together why her brother Nicky may have taken his own life, the story flips back and forth between her childhood and modern day, as well as other years in-between. She has her memories, but they are predominantly a child’s version of events and it’s clear that she’s misremembered or chosen to embellish the good times rather than face the sad.

Although her recollections really helped to enhance the book, it was a bit confusing as to which year we were reading about, especially as events were referenced at different times. I also found parts of the book quite irritating and even a little patronising. The author kept reminding us that Tam called her parents Mick and Ange (not mum and dad); I assume the author wanted to get this point across but it was so often I almost threw the book across the room.

That said, I was engrossed in the story and intrigued to know what happened.

Tam was a conflicted character, at times weak and feeble, with moments of strength. Her fierce loyalty to her brother was admirable, but her desire to believe in her parents’ good in spite of everything was sweet, but naïve. Her grandmother was well-written, and the author did a really good job of keeping our opinions changing. The more we learned of Nana’s own story, the more we sympathised. Her behaviour is not to be condoned, but her thought process and rationale became understandable.

Although the second part was a little rushed, as Tam goes on a journey of self-discovery, I did like the book’s ending. It was stark, real and believable. Unexpected and almost cruel, it was one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read for a while and this book will stay with me for a long time.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I was provided with a copy of this book by the author and Love Book Tours. All opinions my own.

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