Imagine feeling a deep and unending loneliness, one that is so strong that it compels you to leave everything you’ve ever known. This is where the main character, Alia, is at – emotionally speaking – at the start of Broken. The loss of a loved one, a person she was deeply connected to, is what started her extreme loneliness. This painful experience has caused her to question why God permits atrocities to happen. One might say she has lost her faith, but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate.
Now, reread the first paragraph with the knowledge that Alia is a fallen angel. The emptiness and hopelessness she feels compel her to leave heaven in search of something that will fill her. She becomes a mortal woman and puts herself in a location, and time period, that is certain to evoke strong emotions. Alia is in France as World War II is starting.
Alia seeks solace in the light she finds in the humans she meets. In this “universe” angels are beings of light. She quickly discovers that she is unlike the people around her. Alia has power that they do not. She can cause a man (or woman) to deeply desire her simply by touching them. This works out well for her because humans produce the light she is seeking most strongly when they are in the throws of orgasm.
As such, Alia quickly finds plenty of lovers, some whom are more special to her than others. Afterwards, the humans are never quite the same as they were before. They are changed in a way that they do not understand. The people a fallen angel has sex with spend the rest of their lives seeking that unique, ecstatic, experience.
In short, she’s really not supposed to be fornicating with the humans. She doesn’t care, though, because doing so eases her loneliness and sense of loss. Alia is aware of what is about to happen to the people she is getting to know, but almost has pushed that from her mind.
The other way that Alia is not exactly human has to do with her connection to heaven. She is visited by the Archangel Michael, whom she was once very close with. He questions her about her decisions. Why did she choose to be in France right before the Nazis takeover the country? Both are aware of what will happen to the people Alia has befriended, slept with, become family with. Why this time and place?
She doesn’t really give Michael a straight answer, so the reader is left to sort that out. My personal viewpoint is that Alia is trying to punish herself for desiring more than what she had in heaven. She becomes a fallen angel, a “loose woman”, who hangs around with poets, writers, musicians, and artists who are equally depraved. At the same time, she is aware that this point in history, when the people almost know what is about to happen, but ignore it, is an intense time. Passions are at their height, and this gives her access to the light she is seeking.
Archangel Michael reminds her that she has one miracle left to her. Alia can use it as she sees fit. There it sits, unused, because she is enjoying herself. In addition to her lovers and odd assortment of friends, Alia has befriended a neighbor. A woman, who looks a lot like Alia, has an adorable daughter. They become Alia’s new family.
Then, things change and grow dark. France is overrun with German soldiers. Alia, unfortunately, learns that sexuality between humans is not always consensual or enjoyable. She ends up stuck in a situation where forced sexuality enables her to save the people she cares about … for a while. When all looks completely lost, and everything has gone tragically wrong, Alia remembers her miracle. What she does with that miracle unexpectedly leads her to the comfort and wholeness that she has been missing for so very long.
Broken is a book about passion and power. There are erotic sex scenes in the book, and there also are scenes of horrible violence. One cannot read this book without feeling something. This is the type of story that could make a person find their lost faith in whatever they have stopped believing in.