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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
Breaking The Barrier by H.B. Butler is a moving tale set in the Australian outback. When Elise McKinnon finally breaks free, with her young son, Harley, of the abusive and violent behaviour of her husband, a member of an infamous motorcycle gang, the Death's Disciples, she finds herself drifting from town to town across Australia, seeking only to put distance and time between her and her ex-husband. She is convinced he will stop at nothing to make her pay for her slight of leaving him and taking away her son. Severely traumatised by years of abuse, Elise is closed and private to everyone around her. When she arrives in one small country town, though, she has no idea of the support and love she will receive from the residents there. Local Jamie Jennings will offer her more than friendship - to him, Elise is the woman he's been waiting for all his life. It will take time to break down Elise's fear and reserve, but the residents, Maisie, Earl and the rest, are determined to see that happen and make Elise and Harley welcomed and loved residents of Sandy Plains.
Breaking The Barrier is a wonderful chick-lit romance that H.B. Butler uses to expose the hidden side of domestic violence and the long-term effects it has on those who are subject to this pernicious treatment. I'm certainly not Butler's prime demographic for this story, but I am a sucker for romance and I absolutely loved this story. The slow and simmering development of the relationship that neither Elise nor Jamie could deny took some time to come to fruition, but the climax was spectacular and the mildly erotic scenes Butler gave us were well written and exciting. I thought the idea of regularly switching perspectives between chapters from Elise back to Jamie and vice-versa was one that suited the story and was managed well by the author. In some ways this lifted the story out of the pure chick-lit genre by giving voice to the strong, moral and, of course, extremely gorgeous Jamie. This book is all about good, old-fashioned family values and Butler gave us those in spades. Jamie's family showed us what strong, loyal family can achieve. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to more from this talented debut author.