By Tillie Cole
Summary: Labeled a ‘Cursed’ woman of Eve from birth, Maddie has endured nothing but pain and repression at the hands of The Order’s most abusive elder, Moses. Now living with her sister in The Hangmen’s secluded compound, finally, Maddie, is free. Free from the suffocating faith she no longer believes in. Free from endless years of physical and mental torment…Flame…The man who ceaselessly watches over her with his midnight dark and searing eyes. The man who protects her with a breath-taking intensity. And the man who stirs something deep within her numbed heart. But when circumstances conspire for Flame to need HER help, Maddie bravely risks it all for the broken man who has captivated her fragile soul.
One broken boy…one broken girl…Souls Unfractured
The third in Tillie Cole’s Hades Hangmen series, Souls Unfractured takes its readers to the depths of Hell and back again as we get front row seats to Flame and Maddie’s love story. This is a story of soul mates, two broken and tortured people, in both body and soul, that find in each other the love and acceptance they need to live.
Like its predecessors, SU deals with very serious, and to quote the author, “taboo” subjects. It’s not for the faint of heart. But, SU is for anyone who appreciates a love story that is real. Our bookshelves are littered with MC books, most absolutely fantastic. And, like with every series, once having read two or more, the reader can’t help but notice a certain pattern in the plot, series of events, and unfortunately, sometimes even the characters. Not so with Tillie Cole.
Three books in, I can happily report that each of the books in the series have been different. Yes, each deals with redemption. But, despite the fact that the series needs to be read in order, Tillie Cole has given us books that are as individual as the characters that grace the pages.
And so it is with SU. We meet Maddie and Flame in the first book, It Ain’t Me Babe. Flame is violent-a killer-when we meet him. He’s downright scary, a man you wouldn’t want to meet on a crowded street, let alone a dark alley. He self-mutilates and won’t let anyone touch him. That is until he meets the long abused and otherworldly beauty, Maddie. Throughout book 2, Heart Recaptured, Flame and Maddie gravitate towards each other more and more, finally thrown together as SU begins.
When Maddie alone is able to pull Flame out of the darkness of his mind, their love affair begins with a touch of a hand. From there, it’s a slow boil as these two tortured people confront the past that broke them down.
Unlike the previous two books, SU, while violent (beware, there are some over the top scenes of violence) and laden with more F-bombs than average, is sweet. And at times gentle. While there are some action scenes, the narrative focuses on Flame and Maddie. Both characters are stripped bare for us to see, until nothing is left except Flame and Maddie, together.
Told from the dual, first person POV, Flame and Maddie’s story belongs to the masses. They’re not rich, in Flame’s case not so pretty, they aren’t educated, there’s no mansion. Flame is the guy you’ll always avoid on the street, Maddie hates being around people. This is the one theme that ran through my mind as I read every page and I think that’s what Cole was going for: to show readers that everyone can fall in love, whether you’re broken or whole, rich or poor, college bound or blue collar.
The book does go on a tad too long and a couple of events seem a bit contrived in order to move the plot forward. The sex, cursing, and the MC treatment of women is really downplayed, which I found refreshing, especially having read all three books in the last week. But, honestly, it’s a true testament to Cole’s writing that she created one of 2015’s most popular heroes in Indie publishing in the guise of a tattooed, pierced madman.
For those that have read the previous books, Rider’s story continues in SU, building up to his story which is told in book 4.
Heat Level: 3.5