With the opening of Shattered Poetry, we are back with Dante and Clara right where Broken English ended, as they are immediately faced with the reality of their choices. As the adult, a married woman and person in a position of authority, Clara is conflicted in many ways with feelings toward her student, Dante. Acting in the moment and trying to hide their relationship the best she can, Clara continues on a certain destructive path.
“I’d gorged myself on Dante, savouring his delicious flavour, until I had guilt smeared across my face and mind, something I could never wash off.”
Dante’s world is one that is in a constant state of flux. Unfortunately, for Dante there isn’t much he can control due his age, upbringing, gang affiliationand past but now he seems to think he has the opportunity to finally get what he’s been seeking all along. Knowing his world doesn’t adhere to strict moral codes, Dante realizes his family is much more protective than he could have ever imagined.
“Although I needed money, I needed the last shred of my sanity more”
There are many outside elements affecting how Clara and Dante can proceed and it is tense with the killing of a gang member, a rival gang is looking to find the murderer leaving Dante as a prime suspect; Clara’s failing marriage; and high school jealousies ring high as Phelia vies for Dante’s attention and will lie to get it any way she can. Of course, the fear that Dante and Clara will be discovered is ever looming. As the title indicates, many lives are shattered and the question is whether Dante and Clara can reassemble the pieces.
“Ignoring my hand, he yanked me to him, wrapping his arms around me again. “We’re gonna be like Bonnie and Clyde.”
To say I had many emotions while reading this book would be accurate. Mostly, I was angry at Clara for a host of reasons but mainly because when she made a decision, it showed Clara’s character weakness and Dante’s best interest was compromised. Being that she was the adult, I did expect more from her while still acknowledging this is fiction and that people make big mistakes. Additionally, I wanted much more from the time Clara and Dante spent together.
With Dante, his character development remained steady and the shadows in his past became clearer. Staying true to his heart, Dante showed how he is quite vulnerable and his utter need to be unconditionally accepted. Reading how Dante’s family had little boundaries yet truly fought for him was heartwarming. In fact, one particular character completely and unexpectedly redeemed himself to me when he had Dante’s well being at heart. The remaining secondary characters added to a tremendous plot footprint, bringing a range of dimension to the steady and well-choreographed narrative.
Overall, I enjoyed Shattered Poetry with all the tension, anger, despair, lust, love and immorality. Marita Hansen certainly crafted a menagerie of memorable characters that are simply human. As such, this author has solidified a place on my reading shelf and look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
The Broken Lives series is separated by two duets.
*An ARC was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
*This was an ARC (F)BR with the Shhluts read during Shh… Topick: Nov. 27: BUZZ Books! https://goo.gl/1DbB8k