Review: Break Her by B. G. Harlen




“The moment she woke up, her nightmare began…”

What would you do if you awakened to find a dangerous stranger in your house? In your bed, next to you? Now your home has become your prison, and your body, a battlefield. How would you hold onto your sanity, your self-esteem, your very soul against someone determined to annihilate all three?

In the psychological thriller BREAK HER, one woman will find herself in this almost unthinkable situation, and one man will discover that he has finally come up against someone unlike any of those he has destroyed before.

On the surface, this intruder has all the advantages: strength, weapons, ruthlessness. The only way he can lose is if he finds himself responding to his victim on a human level. The only way she can win is if she rips away the protective lies she’s told herself, the hard shell of indifference she’s hidden in, and becomes again what she has not been since she lost everything that mattered to her, years ago: human.


I have struggled immensely to review this book coherently. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before and will ever likely read again. I’ve read books that break boundaries before, but this was something else. This book focuses heavily on the prolonged torture and rape of an unnamed woman by an unnamed man. It asks heavy, and often uncomfortable, questions about the very act of rape itself and will make you question things you would have thought unquestionable.

This book was a battle. Not only a battle for me to get through but also a battle of survival for our main unnamed main character. It’s a battle of strength, wits and wills. A big part of what makes this novel so interesting is the anonymity of it.

Other than the topic, something I found so dark about this book was that sometimes the writing was… funny? It felt exceptionally wrong smiling at something written in a book that’s whole purpose is to highlight the worst of humanity, but Harlen holds nothing back. This was the most unique book I’ve ever read.

It’s safe to say this isn’t an easy book to read, it’s extremely graphic and violent. I find it repulsive that people have marked this as ‘erotica’ on Goodreads. There is no romanticism in this book, despite some of its controversial thoughts of the victim, and there is nothing remotely sexual about it. Everything in this book is violence and pain.

While not a particularly long book, it takes a lot to get through and for this reason, it took me about a week to eventually finish it. As the book builds to a crescendo ending, the more mentally drained I felt by this story. I wasn’t sure how this book was going to end. Would it be the nice way out, or would Harlen carry on the way they’d gone through the whole thing and leave us feeling distraught, hollow and exhausted?

I’ve surprised myself by enjoying this book. I thought it was strangely powerful. I like a book that poses difficult questions and makes me rethink things I thought I was so sure about. However, I won’t recommend this book to anyone, due to the nature of it.

*Buy it here: Amazon UK

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6 Replies to “Review: Break Her by B. G. Harlen”

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