An autobiographical story from the heart
This is my story of first love, but it is told through the eyes of two fictional characters, Freddie and Jo-Jo. My life, like Freddie’s, was fractured by my dad’s death when I was seven years of age. As a teenager, at the end of the 1970s, I had a first love relationship that I dreamed would last a lifetime. My partner, like Jo-Jo, was strong, independent and had her perfect world dreams, but she was haunted by her own fractures. In 1980 a heart-breaking event killed our love and, for us, there has been no reunion. But I’ve always wondered, what if? This book explores that possibility. It tells the story of Freddie and Jo-Jo’s fractures, their teenage romance, their lives apart and their attempt to reignite their love after being separated for over three decades. Their story is a love story, but it also asks questions about the impact of early life trauma, the degree to which this travels with us down the years and the impact it can have on our relationship with others and the wider world.
Stephen Anthony Brotherton now lives in Shropshire but grew up in the West Midlands. A social worker for nearly thirty years, he currently works for the NHS and is a member of the Bridgnorth Writers’ Group and the Shrewsbury Writers’ Lab. His first book, Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances, was released by the Book Guild in 2021. Watching the Wheels is his first collection of short stories.
TC (Guest Review) - 28 May, 2021
A really enjoyable story about lost love, second chances and dreams of a wonderful future. I loved the nostalgia, resignating with memories of the 70's and 80's - music, nightclubs, fashion and Aramis. A vulnerable young man, so much in love, a strong, self assured woman confused with what she really wants in life and a roller outer of emotions.
This story is really well written, I particularly love how the author has dealt with sensitive subjects with compassion and respect.
I would definitely recommend this book. A great holiday read.
LK (Guest Review) - 28 May, 2021
Stephen Brotherton is right up there in growing ranks of excellent Midlands novelists. Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances explores its 'what if' premise with compassion and sensitivity. The novel spans the last four decades, and achieves a wonderful feel for the period with just the right amount of nostalgia. The dialogue is spot-on and adds to the pace of the read - and Brotherton handles the shifts back and forth in time, and the dual narration skillfully. A pacy read, recommended.
BC (Guest Review) - 03 Jun, 2021
A story from the heart
I enjoyed this novel. The characters are engaging and I quickly found myself being drawn into their lives.
On first opening the book I did wonder if the structure, which oscillates between present and past, would prove distracting – it didn’t.
The skilful interweaving of past and present is done in such a way that the characters’ backgrounds infuse the story, building up their personalities and providing insights into their frailties, which helps the reader understand their choices and in particular Freddie’s choice – the linchpin of the narrative.
Fractures, Dreams and Second Chances is a very human story, thoughtfully told, and one that kept me hooked to the end.
Andy Mullaney (Guest Review) - 04 Sep, 2023
A previous review said you could read this in a day. Not a chance said I when seeing the 300 plus pages ahead of me. But I did. I went into the night and then powered on the next day.
I’m curious as to how this was written, whether in whole for each of the characters and then broken up into small cameos and diary like entries or whether it was deliberately written with a back and forth style?
You have to get used to it, understand the characters and concentrate but it’s very well worth it. We are all products of our upbringings, our past and especially our childhood. I think there are so many underlying messages here and I’m hoping that reading it correctly is that love really is the greatest thing we have as human beings.
A book that some may struggle with but I’d say persevere, get past the first few pages, get into the writers style, mindset and you’ll be ok. The scenes are beautifully crafted telling life in a different age when choices were less complex. The book will then do the rest and you’ll be glad you read it. I am.