Broken Beauty (#1, Broken Beauty Novellas) by Lizzy Ford
Published February 3rd 2017 by Lizzy Ford
Broken World (#2) available on WattPad
Broken Chains (#3) available on Radish Reading
Broken Beauty Synopsis:
Just a broken girl in her broken world.
When socialite party girl Mia Abbott-Renou wakes up in a garden she has little recall of the previous night -- except that she is naked...hurt...terrified. Not only has she been raped, but she knows one of her assailants: the son of a wealthy politician who happens to be her own father’s political ally.
Mia wants and needs justice. Except this privileged boy has an alibi and her father forbids her from going to the police. It’s a critical election year, one that his party might lose if his image as a doting father is soured due to Mia being labeled a lush or worse, promiscuous.
Devastated at not having the support of her family, Mia finds herself in a tug-of-war with her conscience over what to do, especially since she can’t remember exactly what happened that night. Worse, the men who attacked her have hurt several other girls, and Mia may be the key to stopping them.
Mia tries to forget, until the unthinkable happens, and she’s left reeling once again, faced with a new challenge that will force her to take more control of her life.
Broken World Synopsis:
A confrontation is brewing …
Mia realizes the aftermath of her rape is not over when she is rocked by another challenge, one that will put her publicly at odds with her father, a U.S. Senator who has made her the poster child for his re-election. But the public face he wants her to wear can’t be farther from who she is inside.
The latest rape victim is expected to die soon, and only Mia can identify the attackers. With pressure from the police to come forward, Mia is distraught when her father forbids her from speaking out.
She is surprised to discover new allies in her siblings, who break ranks with her father to support her. But even they have their own agenda.
Before Mia turns eighteen, she’ll face the ultimate choice: betraying her family or her conscience.
Broken Chains Synopsis:
The truth will set her free...
But first, it might suffocate her.
After a brief reprieve and a quiet birthday, Mia once more becomes the center of media attention. This time it's because the charges against her rapist go public - before Mia and her team are ready/ Thrust into intense publi cscrutiny again, Mia is faced with a new difficulty from the direction of her father, who follows through with his threats and forever alters the dynamics of her world.
Her desperate need to be loved by her father is crushed once and for all. But it's the great family secret she discovers that offers her the first piece of real hope she's experienced since the incident. For the first time in months, she's starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel - and that light includes Dom.
All she has to do is survive the trial - and a terrifying confrontation with Robert Connor.
Broken Beauty is, as far as I understand, a revision of a previously published work under the same title. This is not a novella, nor even a short story, as there is no structure - we are introduced to the main character, Mia, and the plot starts off with conflict, but there is no character arc. It is, instead, a sampler of a longer work that ends at the end of an inciting incident, when the reader might think that Mia is finally going to see some character development.
I do think the story deserves credit for addressing rape, the recovery process, as well as rape culture. Ford excels at description, particularly the movements of people, but I thought there was sometimes too much description and not enough of moving the plot forward.
I do think this series has potential, and "Novella" #2 (available on WattPad) definitely is a stronger work than the first in the series, with actual character development. I enjoyed the strong friendship between Mia and her best friend, Ari, as well as witnessing Mia's relationship with her uncle, Chris, develop. Unfortunately, the most interesting characters are Chris, uncle and lawyer extraordinaire, and Dom, police officer to the rescue. Mia is rather...bland.
I understand that she's been sheltered, hidden, and purposely trained to view herself as a possession or a prop her entire life, but her steps towards agency are rather limited. There's also not much of a sense of her personality. She is described as sporty, one who enjoys playing basketball and soccer, but I was surprised when I read that she was one of the co-leaders of the cheer team, since as someone who professes to like physical activity, she didn't think of exercising as a way to relieve stress until suggested by someone else.
The narrative finally reaches a conclusion in "Novella" #3, which was released on the Radish app, a mobile app for serialized fiction, where you can read the rest of the narrative chapter-by-chapter on a weekly basis, or all at once for a nominal amount through the purchase of coins (the number of coins purchased at once determines the cost per coin). As an aside, I liked the layout and design of the Radish app, but found the works there to be of vary quality - mostly middling.
Unfortunately, the plot doesn't really go anywhere for 7 of the 8 chapters. Overall, Mia just comes across as a boring young woman of privilege with a too quick, too neat wrapping up of a conclusion. I don't need likable characters, but I do need characters who make more of an effort. Perhaps being released on the Radish platform contributed to the problems in "Novella" 3, since the serialization of works prevents a big picture edit.
I received a copy of the Broken Beauty "novella" through NetGalley in exchange for a review.
2 stars (Broken Beauty)
3 stars (Broken World)