Welcome to Pump Up Your Book’s Virtual Book Tour for A Soul Less Broken
Catherine Wilcox had nearly completed her law degree and already had a job lined up with a prestigious law firm when she was savagely attacked late one evening in the law library parking lot. Miraculously, she survived her physical injuries, but the psychological and emotional scars were deep and showed no signs of healing until she was introduced to Madeline Jessops, an intuitive crisis counselor by the physician who saved her life, Alan Peterson.
The moment Alan saw Catherine in the emergency room — bruised, bloodied, and barely clinging to life — he was inexplicably drawn to her. He longed to spend time with her and get to know her, unable to shake the feeling that he had met his soul mate — if, in fact, such a person even existed. But because of the trauma Catherine has survived, she is not ready to accept Alan’s love. Will she ever be able to trust him and express her feelings for him?
Madeline and Catherine form not only a strong therapeutic bond, but a profound friendship. As their relationship deepens, Madeline reveals details about her own past that illustrate just how much the two women have in common. They support each other unconditionally, as each struggles in her own way to heal her body and soul.
Author Helen Laibach relates that A Soul Less Broken was “initially inspired by an interview I saw with a woman who had been viciously attacked in Central Park. The interviewer asked her how she was not bitter and why she didn’t hate the man who did that to her. She responded that the attacker took one night of her life, but she refused to give him any more.” Laibach knew that she wanted to “wanted to write a story about a woman transcending being a victim to getting her own life back and regaining her own personal power.”
In A Soul Less Broken, Catherine Wilcox is, at first, very much a victim, unable to pull herself from the depths of despair after surviving an unspeakably heinous attack that Laibach describes with restraint, but sufficient detail to convey its brutality. Catherine’s career aspirations are derailed as she copes with post-traumatic stress. Her struggles are credible, lacking exaggeration and heartbreaking.
Every day that you let love in, even just a little bit, will be a day that your soul feels a little less broken.~ Madeline in A Soul Less Broken
Meanwhile, Alan Peterson, the physician who was on duty in the hospital emergency room when Catherine was discovered by a campus security card, is obsessed with his patient, but determined to wait for her condition to improve — and another doctor takes over her care — before revealing his burgeoning feelings for her. His intentions are thoroughly honorable and sincere, as demonstrated by reactions of some of his colleagues when he confesses that he is torn about whether to accept to accept a prestigious position because it would require him to relocate from California to New York, leaving Catherine behind.
The two female characters, Catherine and Madeline, forge a strong and lasting friendship when Madeline becomes Catherine’s counselor. They find that they have more in common than they originally realized and their shared experiences take a decidedly eerie turn that suggests fate has brought them together. They stand by and support each other through challenges and crises. Although the friendship seems to develop quite suddenly with little exposition, its power quickly becomes the centerpiece of the book, relegating the on-again, off-again romance to a supporting role.
For the most part, the book’s characters and plot points are credible, but Laibach’s depiction of the criminal trial of Catherine’s attacker is completely inaccurate. She would have done well to perform a bit of research into criminal procedure to learn that the prosecutors represent the state, not the crime victim — who is not a plaintiff or other named party to the proceeding. Moreover, the victim would not be present at counsel table, along with a non-attorney support-giver, throughout the proceeding. Such mangled details detracted from the powerful emotional punch that the subplot about the trial should have delivered to Laibach’s readers.
A Soul Less Broken invites comparisons to the classic Bette Midler film Beaches because of its illustration of the power of female friendship and message about the healing power of love. Laibach says that she deliberately made the book a short, quick read because she hates reading books in which the author spends too much time “describing the scenery.” Rather, in A Soul Less Broken, “what’s written either advances the story or develops the characters in some way.” Her characters are resilient and tenaciously hopeful about the future. The story packs some heavy emotional punches, but Laibach handily attains her goal of making a statement about how one responds to challenges: “You always have a choice in how to respond to adversity . . . you can decide that you are not going to be controlled by the situation.”