Sunday, November 12, 2023

Book Review: THE BREAK

Title: The Break

Author: Katie Sise

Publisher: Little A

Pages: 347

My GoodReads Rating: 

Rowan O’Sullivan, a writer of murder mysteries, has a newborn daughter, Lila, with husband Gabe, also a writer. The birth has been traumatic, and Gabe hires a 22-year-old babysitter, June, to take care of their baby while Rowan is treated for her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. June is in a relationship with Harrison, who is Gabe’s literary agent.

The help is necessary as Rowan has had dark spells before, and she has blocked out a particular trauma she has faced recently. Rowan is afraid that something terrible has happened, and that something terrible will happen. Grappling with her mental instability, Rowan accuses June of hurting her child, and then June disappears.

While Rowan is immediately considered a suspect, she decides to unravel her twisted memories to see if she can get to the bottom of the mystery that surrounds June’s disappearance. But how can she even begin to sort through her memories when her mother is in a care home on account of her dementia, and Gabe seems to be a changed man.

The book is written from the PoV of Rowan and June at different timelines.


The characters didn’t really stand out for me. The friendship between June and Rowan didn’t seem all that strong. For the greater part of the book, they seemed like acquaintances, employer and employee at best.


I lost interest in the book for a greater part of the middle section when nothing seemed to happen. I plodded through for the themes of post-partum stress disorder, mental illness and dementia. We do need writing that talks about difficult issues and traumatic lived experiences. Unfortunately, the experiences described in this book didn’t hit the right note.

I was also interested in this book because of the dedication, which was:

For every woman who has experienced a traumatic birth.
For anyone whose path to creating a family has been marked with loss.
For every woman who has battled postpartum mental illness.


The writing was beautiful in parts. Sample this:

We all make our choices and send our fates spiraling.

Imprinted onto my life like ink stains.

We’re all walking around with these big brains that can misfire and split and repress and obsess or hurtle into insanity at any second.


The author threw a lot of red herrings at us, leading us down various paths, until the twist finally emerged at the end, but not in way that seemed organic to the plot. It was like the truth hit the main character all of a sudden. I also found it unreal how slow the investigation proceeded. Despite being a suspect, Rowan wasn’t really made to feel pressured at all. The police had a good lead with the CCTV footage in which June was last seen but they didn’t work on it convincingly. Also Gabe’s mother, Elena, attacks June, and she isn’t held accountable for that.

I was confused about the title of the book. What does the Break refer to? June is an aspiring actress, who is looking for her big break into acting, which she gets, but it has no bearing on the main plot. 


 (I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 

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