I have read this novel three times now and still have no idea how to express how much I enjoyed reading it. The first time I read The Broken Road in 2012, I was simply reading for pleasure and out of curiosity because I know the author. After I started writing book reviews, I decided to read it again and write a review, but the draft sat there for months, maybe even a year. I decided to read it again in June of this year and began another review as soon as I finished reading, but obviously I never finished that review either.
The Broken Road is Amanda Johnston’s debut novel, but she has been writing stories for many years, so this beautiful work of historical fiction reads like the work of a seasoned author. I am impressed with the amount of research she did to make sure she accurately portrayed life in Colorado in 1882. Johnston included the correct kitchen items, tools, etc., but she also captured the language and manners of the area and time period. Her fictional town and boarding school are the perfect backdrop for the story that unfolds.
The information from the back cover offers a good summary, so I won’t attempt to write my own.
In 1882 Colorado, Lydia Ghering has successfully kept her boarding school open during the year following her husband’s unexpected death. Self-reliant and determined, Lydia takes pride in her ability to carry on, but her resilience comes at a price. Ethan McKinley is journeying across the country to fulfill his life’s ambition of captaining a ship when he finds himself stranded in the Colorado foothills after a train wreck. His arrival at Lydia’s doorstep looking for temporary work kindles a friendship that causes him to question the destiny he has always pursued. As their friendship deepens, Lydia must confront secrets from her past, while Ethan must decide his future. Both must seek their answers from the one who offers all they need.
I don’t want to share any more of Lydia’s or Ethan’s stories because I want you to read it yourself. The Broken Road is a moving novel of love and loss, devastation and determination. While reading this inspirational romance, I was moved to tears, but I also laughed several times. The dialogue between the characters is fascinating and made me smile frequently. The characters are well-developed and relatable because their struggles are similar to ours today. I know I haven’t done justice to Johnston’s grand tale, but believe me when I say it’s a wonderful story that will move you beyond words.
I must warn you that The Broken Road ends in suspense. Johnston has written a sequel to her epic debut novel, but it has not been published yet. I am eagerly waiting to read more of Lydia’s and Ethan’s stories.