by Michelle Diana Lowe
sixteen-year-old Teisha Cole moves from London to Florida with her family. Uprooted from the place she loves, she now lives in a broken home full of secrets and lies.
After Teisha's grandmother dies, her fractured family is replanted in rural England, where a kingpin and his clan are laying in wait. What follows is a dangerous game that brings their house to its knees, as the family's wealth begins to disappear.
When her father develops a mysterious illness, Teisha turns detective to unravel the truth. Escaping onto the streets and stumbling into the foster care system may be her only hope of survival.
My heart is a black, lifeless box sitting inside me. I have no feelings, no emotions, no soul. It is the 15th of November; a cold Monday evening that rattles our bones. The time is 10 o’clock precisely. I am back with Mother after being forced to sleep at an emergency foster carer’s home for thirty nights. Social services deemed it safe for me to return home, for now. Seeing that Mum has been cleared of criminal charges following the cocoa-lacing allegations and hypnosis scandal, and Dad has been institutionalised, she is classed as fit to care for me again, at least in the short-term. Believe it or not, I wished social services had let me stay with the big brash foster lady for longer. They made the wrong call by returning me to Mother. I am not safe here, like they think I am. In fact, I am in grave danger. My life hangs precariously in the balance. Mum and I are under attack, in the middle of a bloodless war. We have been living this way for two days and two nights. Our freedom, liberty and right to speak have been forcibly removed. We live in silence. We live in fear. Travers has occupied the house with others. We are under house arrest, confined to the ground floor, forced to sleep, eat and live downstairs. What goes on upstairs is only Travers’ business. He and his men have swarmed the house like deadly bees, taking it over.
~Buy BROKEN ROOTS:
There is no shortage of drama in BROKEN ROOTS. From page one to the very end, Teisha’s life is one storm after another as her world falls apart. Every time I thought things would get better, something else went horribly wrong. At the beginning, I was very invested in this poor girl’s story.
Unfortunately, the sheer volume of terrible things got to me after a short time. I started to wonder if there was anything good that would happen to Teisha. I kept reading, becoming more and more distanced as Teisha seemed only to watch and yell about her life being ruined. I kept wanting her to take charge to fix things. When she finally showed some initiative, things picked up. My interest was renewed, but didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. Teisha soon fell back into the familiar trap of being consumed by how bad things were and doing nothing to change them.
BROKEN ROOTS was a good portrayal of a character who was too overwhelmed to take action. However, the overwhelmed just went on too long for me. Teisha’s bad attitude about everything and her continuing tendency to blame everything on fate or some other invisible force kept me from really connecting with her. At some point, I started to wonder if it would be revealed Teisha was an unreliable protagonist who’d misunderstood something somewhere or suffered from mental illness with delusions, thus bringing the book to a very different and interesting conclusion. Alas, I was disappointed on this front, as well.
All in all, I wanted to like BROKEN ROOTS more than I did. There was so much going on that could have been handled a little differently to bring out the story more. This tale of a teenage girl trying to find her place in a family more messed up than a toddler’s room after playtime left me feeling disconnected. Teisha’s parents were such interesting characters. I wanted more of their issues, but I only got to see those problems through the lens of a young girl who seemed to complain too much about how life was unfair and how she deserved better. Teisha left me wanting as a protagonist and narrator, which ultimately made it difficult for me to get lost in the story.
Born in the early 1980s, I grew up relatively poor, within inner-city London. As a kid, I always had a love of words and stories. I was a lonely and somewhat friendless child, but surrounded myself with books for comfort. The local library and classic novels were my best friends, my escapism from a world that did not quite understand me. In spite of my loneliness and humble beginnings, I felt I had a greater purpose in life. God had made me unique and different for a reason.
Being severely bullied at primary school and experiencing family problems aged nine, I dug deep, and found that, tapping into my passion for words and writing, really helped to repair my soul and aided the healing process. Barely ten years old and a voracious reader – reading Judy Blume novels such as – Deenie, Blubber, Tiger Eyes and Are You There God It's Me Margaret?, I decided to pen my very first novel, which was around 30,000 words in length. The deep satisfaction I had when finishing it, told me that I needed, not just wanted, to be a writer. I was born to be one. Inside me, I knew I had important messages to give the world, through the power of the written word. Making this dream of becoming a published author a reality, then became my long-term goal.
In my late teens and early 20s, I studied English Literature with Philosophy at Roehampton University. Whilst doing my Bachelor of Arts degree, I felt inspired by bestselling novelists, Toni Morrison and Zadie Smith. I absorbed and was mesmerised by, their stories and experiences. As my writing style developed, the positive influences of Toni and Zadie, helped infuse culture and society into my creative work.
After graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with Philosophy, I started working as a Children's Centre Administrator in East London, where I support families by signposting and referring them to key services.
It was in January 2015 that my first career break came. I was signed by US Publisher UrbanEdge for my debut novel UnShatter Me. In April 2016 I submitted my second novel Broken Roots to Creativia Publishing and I was signed by this publisher.
Broken Roots is my most successful novel to date. Not only has it been nominated for a Summer Indie Book Award 2017 in the category of contemporary fiction, but it was also named one of the Best Indie Books of 2016 on Read Free.ly's list. On numerous occasions, Broken Roots has been on 4 Amazon bestseller lists across three different territories, the UK, US and Canada. Furthermore, the Italian translation edition of Broken Roots is now out on Amazon. The Spanish, French and Portuguese editions will be on sale soon.
As an author with urban foundations, I feel I have a commitment to bring more diversity into all my books and into the publishing industry. In my writing, I also have a desire to raise awareness of young mental health, teenagers in foster care and help make a difference in people's lives.
When I am not writing, I love to unwind and relax by watching period dramas and blockbuster movies. I also enjoy reading books in a variety of genres.
You can visit my website for further information about me and my books:
Michelle Diana Lowe will be awarding one physical book copy of Broken Roots to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour (UK, Europe, US and Canada only).a Rafflecopter giveaway