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Little Broken Things

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An engrossing and suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany about an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.

I have something for you. When Quinn Cruz receives that cryptic text message from her older sister Nora, she doesn’t think much of it. They haven’t seen each other in nearly a year and thanks to Nora’s fierce aloofness, their relationship consists mostly of infrequent phone calls and an occasional email or text. But when a haunted Nora shows up at the lake near Quinn's house just hours later, a chain reaction is set into motion that will change both of their lives forever.

Nora’s “something” is more shocking than Quinn could have ever imagined: a little girl, cowering, wide-eyed, and tight-lipped. Nora hands her over to Quinn with instructions to keep her safe, and not to utter a word about the child to anyone, especially not their buttoned-up mother who seems determined to pretend everything is perfect. But before Quinn can ask even one of the million questions swirling around her head, Nora disappears, and Quinn finds herself the unlikely caretaker of a girl introduced simply as Lucy.

While Quinn struggles to honor her sister’s desperate request and care for the lost, scared Lucy, she fears that Nora may have gotten involved in something way over her head—something that will threaten them all. But Quinn’s worries are nothing compared to the firestorm that Nora is facing. It’s a matter of life and death, of family and freedom, and ultimately, about the lengths a woman will go to protect the ones she loves.

356 pages, Paperback

First published November 21, 2017

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About the author

Nicole Baart

16 books1,310 followers
Nicole Baart is the author of eleven novels, including Everything We Didn’t Say (an October 2021 Book of the Month selection and Amazon Editor's pick) and The Long Way Back. Best known for her “race-to-the-finish family dramas” (People), Baart is also the cofounder of a nonprofit and mother of five. She lives in Iowa with her family.

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nicolebaart/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NicoleBaart/
Twitter https://twitter.com/NicoleLynnBaart

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 860 reviews
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
November 11, 2017
Little Broken Things is indeed the next desirable novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany; I could spot so many similarities in their writing styles and, while Baart is a new to me author, I felt like I had come home to a familiar story all the same. Little Broken Things is a story filled with emotion, tension, and domestic drama. The book itself had some dark secrets spilled into the narrative and did manage to maintain an overall heavy feel, but I would still characterize this as a lighter read in the sense that it didn’t contain the graphic violence that many readers like to avoid. If you enjoy suspenseful mysteries without all the added grotesque flair, this one is for you!

The story is told through multiple POVs that were easy to follow; I found it an intriguing way to reveal the secrets and story piece by piece to the reader, a clever twist in itself. The characters were very onion like; not necessarily everyone will like them but they are multilayered and add flavor to the book. Personally, I thought they brought the story to an entirely advanced level and appreciate what the author accomplished; knowing her background and her advocacy for adoption and children, I could feel her knowledge wrapped up in this fictional story as a way to bring attention to very real issues.

There’s not much I can say about the plot without spoiling things, but the pacing was a bit up and down. Obviously the beginning with the text messages and the big conclusion were compulsive to read, and the middle was fairly steady, but may be a bit slow to the reader who is used to a high octane thriller as their go to read. I could just as easily see this book enjoyed on a beach vacation as I could picture someone curled up under the covers in a mountain cabin by a warm fire reading it. The story was neither full on fluff or total heavy darkness; it had a nice balance to appeal to a wide array of readers and would highly recommend to the fans of dramas surrounding family secrets. Bonus- you get to stare at that gorgeous cover every time you pick it up!

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my copy; it was a pleasure to provide my honest thoughts here.
Profile Image for Holly  B .
851 reviews2,020 followers
October 30, 2017
4.5 Stars

I have a new favorite author to adore! I was immediately drawn into the story from the first pages. It is beautifully written and captivating, I was engaged by the mysterious texts from the start!

I could imagine myself getting a text from my sister, "I have something for you" and immediate panic strikes! This is possibly not good! The story and characters are multi-layered and ultimately reveal their inner motivations that drive them to make decisions they will later question. I really enjoyed the different point of views as it gave me their perspective.

The family is successful and lives in a small, quiet suburban neighborhood near a lake, but beyond the the outward appearance, secrets and past mistakes will threaten to change their lives forever.

This story explores how one family members decision can snowball and entangle the entire family. Just how far would you go for a precious member of your family? Do you pull together or fall apart?

I would highly recommend to fans of family based mysteries that reveal hidden secrets and motives that may have you asking yourself- What would I have done?

Traveling sister read with Brenda, Diane, Susanne, Jan, and Lindsay. Another great sharing of our "thoughts". I respect everyone's opinion, although we didn't all agree.

Thanks to Netgalley, Nicole Baart, and Atria for the ARC
Publication expected on 11/21/2017
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,157 followers
September 17, 2017
"I have something for you."

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a perfect title for this novel revolving around a family in need of repair....honesty and understanding.

It begins with a desperate and mysterious request from one estranged sister to another to keep a haunted little one safe....and hidden....from both family and the worst kind of evil on the prowl.

It's the story of one mother's powerful love and sacrifice for a daughter in distress, and another mother's mission to reunite with her own daughters.

This multi-charactered, multi-narrated suspenseful story is ultimately a tangled web of mystery and danger, and is filled with nasty secrets that keep the reader engaged and guessing in search of the truth.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Norma.
551 reviews12.7k followers
December 28, 2019
3.5 stars rounded up!

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS by NICOLE BAART was an engaging, suspenseful, and a slower paced mystery novel which had an intriguing storyline revolving around family secrets and the sacrifices and bond between mothers and daughters.  Little Broken Things I thought was the perfect title for this novel which is filled with familial broken relationships and the sacrifices of a mother’s love for her family.  With a little honesty, hope, and understanding maybe all the little broken things can be repaired with truth and love.

NICOLE BAART delivers a beautifully written multi-layered story here which is told in multiple points of view which started off quite strong for me but lost me a little in the middle and then picked up again in the end.  The story starts off tense with a sense of impending danger from a cryptic text message that Quinn receives from her sister Nora, “I have something for you.”  Unfortunately, that sense of danger and tense feeling didn’t follow through the whole story for me but Lucy captured my heart and I was totally invested in the safety and fate of the little girl.  

Even though some of this story was a little slow moving for me in the end this book touched my heart.  Would recommend to readers who appreciate a safe, steady-paced, and suspenseful family drama mystery story with hidden secrets that are revealed with no shocking moments.

Publication date: November 21, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books and Nicole Baart for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:
Profile Image for Lindsay L.
679 reviews1,325 followers
October 31, 2017
3 stars.

This was a story about a mother’s love and sacrifice for her child and a family coming together after years of separation. At times, the book had my heart pounding, my worry intensifying, my stomach churning and my hope growing. There were some wild twists and turns that caught me completely off guard.

I liked the main characters Quinn and Everlee. The remaining characters I had more of a hard time connecting with. Some ended up growing on me, while others began to irritate me and a few relationships felt awkward and forced. I also found some situations questionable from a realistic perspective, but I was still able to endure and enjoy the story unfolding.

This book started off stronger than it ended. The beginning captured my attention and had me drawn into the storyline and characters. The last third of the book lost its spark for me as there was so much aimless going back and forth chasing after characters.

Overall, I’m happy I read the book and enjoyed the story, but it wasn’t a standout novel for me. I loved reading this along with my Traveling Sisters – that experience never fails!

A big thank you to NetGalley, Atria Books and Nicole Baart for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Expected Date of Publication: November 21, 2017

To find this review, along with the Traveling Sisters review, please visit Brenda and Norma’s fabulous blog at:

Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews692 followers
November 11, 2017
Copy furnished by Net Galley for the price of a review.

The title of this book is spot-on for a family that has grown apart for various and sundry reasons. A mysterious text from one sister to another will set things in motion for a reunion that may prove to hold some answers and possibly repair damage done.

This was a little on the tepid side for me. A mite too predictable, and an ending too pat. On the upside, I liked the notion of how guilt acts as a scavenger, seeping in and feeding on scraps of discontent and melancholy. The author's acknowledgements were well worth reading, very touching.
Profile Image for Diane S ☔.
4,782 reviews14.2k followers
October 29, 2017
2.5 I am not going to rehash the plot, and I really wish I could have liked this more. It was very slow moving and very predictable. The last third of the book held the most interesting for me, but I also found it unbelievable. Nora and Tiffany, their story just didn't hold together. Nora and Quinn's mother was a piece of work, lived in her own la la Land. Everlee though, the little girl I adored.

Another sisters read that had us a opposite ends of the spectrum. Also my review doesn't reflect the writing, which was fine, it reflects my feelings toward the plot. Many have rated this very highly, I just couldn't.

ARC from Edelweiss.
October 31, 2017
3.5 Stars

Traveling Sisters NetGalley Group Review by Brenda with Norma, Lindsay, Holly, Susanne, Jan and Holly

I read Little Broken Things along with six of my Traveling Sisters and it left us in different coulees once again. We were mostly split into two different ones, some sisters were lost in the lush coulee and enjoying this one and others were lost in the dry coulee and finding themselves bored and napping leaving them uninterested in this one.

Little Broken Things starts off suspenseful and caught the attention of some sisters and then slows down quite a bit in the middle leaving us a bit disappointed and then picks up near the end and wrapped up quite nicely for the sisters in the lush coulee. We would have liked it to have been a bit better paced.

Nicole Baart delivers a quieter suspenseful mystery novel with some family drama that is free from using any shock value to surprise her readers, making this one a nice safe read. There is a little dark to the story to add to the dynamics of the family, however, there are no surprises here. The sisters in the dry coulee found that to be predictable and were bored with the storyline. The story is a refreshing yet a little dark that explores the complicated relationships between flawed women and what ties a family together. The story revolves around a little girl Lucy who captured our hearts and we enjoyed the relationships she had with the women in this story.

Norma and I recommend this one to readers who are looking for a safer, suspenseful story with some family drama with no real surprises to shock you.

Publication date: November 21, 2017

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Atria Books and Nicole Baart for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Traveling Sisters Reviews can be found on our sister blog:
November 1, 2017
2.5 stars, definitely not a 3, but since half stars aren't possible, I'll round up

The premise is intriguing: Quinn's estranged sister, Nora, drops off a little girl named Lucy, who bears an uncanny family resemblance, and tells Quinn to keep the little girl's presence a secret. Nora then disappears without explanation.

Secrets tend to be revealed sooner or later, and this one is no exception. Just how does one hide a little girl? There are mysteries to be solved: who are her parents? Why is she being hidden and why must it be kept a secret? Where has Nora been all these years? The story is gradually revealed through each character's point of view in alternating chapters. More secrets are revealed, secrets that have caused damage in the family.

It's a great set-up that failed to completely deliver. The pacing was uneven and often failed to keep my attention. I found some character arcs predictable and I simply didn't buy into some of their actions. Donovan was a caricature of a "bad guy", and Nora's actions and dedication to Tiffany all the years she was gone simply made no sense to me. Not only did they make no sense, they obviously traumatized Lucy, which made Nora a very unsympathetic character.

The so-called twist at the end was anti-climactic. It was so obvious from the very beginning and my only emotion was puzzlement that it was such a surprise to the characters.

However, although this ended up being a just OK read for me, all wasn't lost. My favorite character ended up being Liz. I think the author did an excellent job with her character development. I liked how not every story thread was tied up in a neat bow at the end, and the novel ended on a hopeful note, even if some of the scenes leading up to it were implausible.

In an attempt to draw on the popularity of Big Little Lies, the blurb compares this book to Liane Moriarty's best seller. The only similarity I found was one: there are secrets. I wish publisher's would stop comparing books, as it does both the author and the reader a disservice.

I read this with the Traveling Sisters, Brenda, Norma, Diane, Holly, Susanne and Lindsay, and, as always, it was enjoyable to talk about the book and our differing opinions.

(edited to add link) The Traveling Sister review, and others, can be found on their blog here:

* many thanks to Netgalley and Atria books for a copy of the book for review
325 reviews302 followers
April 10, 2018
After over a year of avoiding her family, Nora sends her younger sister Quinn a cryptic text: "I have something for you." Quinn is eager to see Nora after all this time, but she's surprised when Nora shows up to their meeting with a six-year-old girl. No explanations, no timeline—just a plea to keep the girl safe and hidden for a few days. Nora flees before Quinn has the chance to refuse. What has Nora dragged Quinn into?

Sometimes the surface is not an accurate indicator of what lies beneath. 

The Sanfords appeared to be a typical suburban family to the outside world, but there were deep fractures forming behind closed doors. The chapters alternate between the perspectives of the three Sanford women:

Quinn and Nora's mother Liz is a problem-solver, though she's never been comfortable examining any problem too deeply: "sometimes getting lost in the details was better than stepping back to look at the whole, ugly picture." Anytime her thoughts get too close to the heart of an issue, she immediately shifts her attention elsewhere. Over the years, she made many compromises trying to keep her family together and maintain their perfect facade. It cost her; time flew by and everything she was trying to preserve disintegrated. She centered her identity around being a wife and a mother, but now her husband is dead and her children want little to do with her. After years of taking a back seat in her own life, she's finally in charge. She's determined to fix her family's problems, even if things have to get a little messy first.

Liz was no idiot. She knew that their lives were far from perfect, that things simmered just beneath the surface of their shiny facade. Shadowy things that hinted of discontent, of darkness that she could only begin to imagine. Weren’t they all just a knife blade away from madness? From obsession? From giving in to every lust and desire and impulse? Or even just one. One slip would be more than enough.

But life was hard and self-flagellation was for the weak. People pitied those who refused to help themselves. Who couldn't make a mistake and then, proudly, stand back up in the middle of their own mess and smile. I meant to do that. I knew all along.

Liz chose dignity.

Nora (27) is the middle child. She's rebellious and passionate. She escaped her family as soon as she could.

Quinn (26) is an eternal optimist and eager to be loved. She idolizes her older sister Nora who is kind of a mythic figure to her. Quinn craves stability and will do anything to keep the peace. It surprised everyone when she ran off to Los Angeles and married an artist. Now both Quinn and her husband Walker are unemployed and temporarily living at her mother's rental property in Key Lake, Minnesota. Not only do they have financial stress, but Liz has made no secret of her disapproval for Walker.

[Liz] was a good peacekeeper. Shush now, be content, let it go.
Peacemaking—now that was a different thing altogether. That was bombs and battles, wars waged for the sake of starting over, from the scorched earth up, on something pure and worthy. Peacemaking meant casualties, and Liz was all too willing to fall on a sword of silence if it meant life could go on the way it always had.

• This book is recommended for fans of Liane Moriarty. Both Baart and Moriarty have a talent for examining complex emotions and uncomfortable thoughts, but what I like most about Moriarty's writing are the moments of lightness and her wicked sense of humor. Little Broken Things didn't make me feel the same range of emotions, though I liked the rare moments of joy that appeared.
• Nora's character was elusive to me. I never fully understood Nora's complete devotion and self-sacrifice for her best friend. The one thing that would have made sense to me didn't pan out. It was interesting that all the Sanford women experienced uneven relationships, or at very least felt on unequal footing with their partner.
• I liked when Liz reflected on her marriage and her alienation from her children, but overall she was so unlikable and��self-serving that I kept looking to see how many minutes were left in her chapters. I was not interested in her party planning, even though her focus on the superficial made sense! To be completely fair, I think my recent reading of Celeste Ng's Little Fires Everywhere reduced my tolerance for this type of character (and for meaningful art projects at the end). One small thing that endeared me to Liz was her reflexive impulse to make passive aggressive comments or offer unsolicited advice and the immediate regret she felt as she was doing it! Nora and Quinn both have positive manifestations of Liz's most annoying qualities, so it would've been interesting to get more of a glimpse of pre-marriage Liz.
• The characters had a tendency jump to conclusions and repeatedly assert those conclusions as fact. This is especially annoying when it happens so early in the story that you can assume they're probably misguided!
“I think I have a God complex.”  These characters had a frustrating habit of trying to handle HUGE problems on their own. I often wished they would consult the police, a lawyer, or even each other and let me get on with my life. :D
• Predictable. I figured out all the twists as the characters were introduced, so the reveals were underwhelming.

Kids grow out of the sweet mommy stage so quickly, morphing overnight into titles that sound more adult. Don’t be fooled—it’s a sort of letting go, that moment when the near-perfect queen of the universe becomes a little more human, a little less divine. 

• I enjoyed Baart's writing and insights. I wanted to see how the story played out.
• Quinn! I related to her the most and I really liked her character arc from beginning to end. I especially enjoyed reading her conflicted feelings about marriage, motherhood, and her sister. One of my favorites scenes was when she becomes overwhelmed during a gathering of old high school friends. She no longer fits into the small town life that she once reveled in. She has difficulty being surrounded by all the young families while she is trying to get pregnant.

Quinn was not a woman who knew. Who had crossed the divide and bore the scars to prove it. She both loved and loathed herself for it.

• The BEST part was Quinn trying to win over six-year-old Everlee—all the painful rejections and the small victories. If you read the "Acknowledgements" section at the end, you'll understand why those scenes were so special!  While Quinn is trying to bond with Everlee, Liz is trying to reconnect with Quinn and failing. She wants so badly to have a relationship with her daughter, but she can't overcome her own flaws to make any progress.
They were too far apart and far too close all at the same time. Perpetually missing each other.

Who is Everlee? What is Nora running from? What tore the Sanford family apart—was it one big explosion or the build-up of multiple tiny fractures? Will this broken family be able to put themselves back together again? Will the Sanford women learn that it's okay to be vulnerable? I preferred the small family conflicts over the big central drama. This book is at it's best when dealing with conflicted family relationships. The characters can't help feel the inescapable pull towards their family (biological or chosen) even after they've been hurt numerous times: "How could she begin to explain the way she felt for her husband? The pretty layers that peeled back to reveal something dark and rotting beneath? They had lived a good, solid, respectable life. But that didn’t mean that she loved him. That she would mourn his loss. And yet." I've overdone it on the suburbia/"behind closed doors" type books lately, so that might have affected my enjoyment. Fans of domestic dramas like Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt and The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo might enjoy this story.


I received this book for free from Netgalley and Atria Books. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. It's available now!
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
October 28, 2017
2.25 Stars* (rounded down)

Quinn gets summoned by her sister Nora via text: “I have something for you.” Never in Quinn’s wildest dreams does she imagine that the summons involves a little girl. Or that Nora needs Quinn to hide her and keep her safe – without any explanation. It is clear that something sinister is going on, yet Quinn has no idea what. And then Nora takes off leaving her with a little girl she calls “Lucy.” Hiding “Lucy” however, proves quite difficult.

Nora is clearly in danger. The only person she can turn to is her employee and friend Ethan. Soon things go from bad to worse and everything Nora holds dear is threatened.

For me, unfortunately, this novel was a quite a let-down and was extremely predictable. The pacing was very slow and the writing just never came together.

This was a Traveling Sister Read and it included: Brenda, Norma, Diane, Holly, Jan and Lindsay.

Copy furnished by NetGalley.

Published on Goodreads on 10.28.17.

Profile Image for Amy.
1,944 reviews1,899 followers
December 11, 2017

Have you seen the buzz surrounding this gem of a book? I sure have, especially on Instagram and I haven’t missed the comparisons to Liane Moriarty and as much as I usually hate when books are touted as the next (insert name of huge, best selling book) I can definitely see why the comparison is being used. Fans of books in Moriarty’s vein will adore this one, I can see it being picked as a book club read very easily!

This is told using various points of view, you have Liz mother to Nora and Quinn and all were extremely well rounded and well written. You know how you sometimes read a really great book and by the end you feel like you truly know the characters? That’s Little Broken Things in a nutshell. The depth of characterization is outstanding, this was a multifaceted story written in a heartbreakingly gorgeous manner.

As much as the beginning of the book hooked me, it had that steady quiet type of suspense that requires some patience. BUT, if you stick with it I really believe the payoff is worth it in the end. Don’t get me wrong, I was still very engrossed and I found it to be a compelling read, I just want to give a warning to those who may be expecting a super intense and fast paced read.
Profile Image for Heather Gudenkauf.
Author 18 books6,806 followers
July 28, 2017
Beautifully layered...gives readers everything they could possible want in a novel - vivid, engaging characters, a town filled with dark secrets, a mind-twisting mystery and the ferocious power of a mother's love. Original and gripping, Little Broken Things is a stunner that will linger with you long after the final page is turned."
Profile Image for Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine).
189 reviews230 followers
December 7, 2017
There is a GIVEAWAY for this book at Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine!

I was quickly drawn in by the first few chapters. After all, it’s not every day that a sister alters the appearance of a child, assigns her a new name, and drops her off at her semi-estranged sister’s house with no explanation. But that’s exactly what Nora has done to Quinn. It’s up to Quinn determine who this young girl is and, more importantly, why Nora has gone to such lengths to disguise her and hide her away. It’s easy to be captivated by a novel that begins with a child in real or potential danger.

The pacing slowed a bit after the first twenty-five per cent or so but remained steady and enjoyable.

The story was told from the several points of view which worked well. The author’s style of writing was a bit more straightforward than is my preference and there were a few times that I felt it was a bit cliche, but overall it was solid.

As for the characters, they were a mixed bag. I really didn’t care for Liz, the mother of the girls. She was a bit stereotyped and whiney throughout most of the book. I did appreciate that toward the end of the book, she seemed to have developed a backbone and a sense of purpose. I thought Quinn was sweet but not as strong as I would have liked. Nora’s character was well-written, though. She frustrated the heck out of me with all of her cryptic messages and lack of communication in a good way. There is another integral character (who I’ll not name here) whose point of view makes appearances less than a handful of times. I LOVED that character’s point of view and voice and feel that Nicole Bart’s talent as a writer shined most in those brief paragraphs. I would have been very happy to hear more from her.

There was some predicability within the story but I thought the plot was very original. I could have done without some of the romantic stuff but that is just personal preference. As you may know, I’m all about the thrill and mystery. Love just makes me roll my eyes. The ending, though, was great and that always weighs heavily in my overall experience in reading a book. It gave me the warm and fuzzy feels!

3.5/5 stars

Many thanks to Atria Books and TLC Book Tours for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,044 followers
August 3, 2017
LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a novel about family secrets. The mystery begins when Nora, who is estranged from her sister, Quinn, drops off a little girl, only saying that Quinn can’t tell anyone that the girl is in her care, including her husband. Nora disappears just as quickly as she briefly came back into Quinn’s life, not explaining what her sister should do with this little girl and why all the secrecy.

The writing is beautiful. Told from multiple points of view—Quinn, Nora, their mother, Liz, and Nora’s friend, Tiffany. The mystery unfolds nicely and the pacing is well done. I can’t say more than that without giving away too much.

RELEASES: November, 21, 2017.

Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to review this book and for introducing me to a new-to-me author.

For more of my reviews, please visit: http://www.theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
747 reviews1,792 followers
October 10, 2017
Heartbreaking what the world can place on the shoulders of children. I appreciate the circumstances that lead Baart to write this... however, I felt a bit more disconnected that I would’ve liked and the ending fell a bit flat. All-in-all, just ok for me... 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Judy Collins.
2,684 reviews376 followers
June 13, 2023
A compelling multi-layered story of family, LITTLE BROKEN THINGS by talented Nichole Baart —a beautifully written story of secrets of the past, motherhood, and sacrifices. Those desperately trying to protect those secrets.

Triumph over tragedy. Loss, hope, and forgiveness.

Set in Minnesota the Sanford family. Two estranged sisters, Quinn and Nora. They have never been close and Quinn is shocked when she receives a cryptic text message from her older sister Nora.

Nora shows up with a six-year-old girl. Her name is Lucy. (Everlee) She instructs her sister to keep her safe and not mention the child to anyone. Particularly their overbearing mother, Liz.

Quinn is married to an artist. Nora always thought her sister was the perfect one. Quinn was the beauty of the family and JJ was the brains – where did Nora fit in?

Turns out Nora was the whole package: whip-smart and lovely, bighearted and wise. She is hiding a secret. Who is she protecting?

Quinn does not understand where this child came from and why is Nora leaving her in her care? Everyone wants answers.

They must protect the child. Slowly the family mystery is unraveled and the parentage of Lucy.

Told from three POV with highly charged topics. When nothing is as it appears. A family hiding behind a façade.

Haunting and heartbreaking, the painful past is revealed. A tragedy turns into something beautiful, bonding a family from the sins of the past.

Powerful, emotional, and suspenseful. Love and friendship. An inside look at a family. A relationship between a mother and two sisters. The lengths one sister will go to protect the ones she loves.

“Broken things are the loveliest.” —Sara Teasdale

For fans of domestic suspense and authors Amy Hatvany, Karma Brown, Joshilyn Jackson, and Heather Gudenkauf.

“We are all broken—that’s how the light gets in.”― Ernest

My first book by the author, and looking forward to reading more. I would encourage you to read more about the author on her website!

Impressive. Truly, her stories celebrate the triumph of the human spirit and beauty amid brokenness.

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

December 2, 2017
Wow this book was fantastic! I was at the edge of my seat with this one and was turning pages all through the night! I really enjoyed this author’s writing and multi-layered characters. This was a book that can show you how quick family secrets and deceit can spiral down into chaos! I give this book 5 out of 5 stars and would definitely recommend checking this book out.
Profile Image for Erin.
3,094 reviews484 followers
November 10, 2017
2.5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced ebook in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The writing was fine. Unfortunately, I just wasn't wowed by this story. Was it a thriller? A family drama? A romantic dramedy?

Movin on!
Profile Image for Sue .
1,700 reviews101 followers
November 14, 2017
I predict that this book will be one of THE books to read this winter. Thanks to the author for giving me a chance to read an early copy to read and enjoy early. I have read other books by Nicole Baart but in Little Broken Things, she is absolutely at the top of her game - it's a wonderful story about family and love and the secrets that we keep to protect our family, even when those secrets cause more harm than intended.

This novel is told by three women Quinn, who lives near her mother, with her artist-husband Walker; Nora, the oldest daughter and the wild child who ran away right after high school and the mom Liz, who has spent her entire life trying to be the perfect wife and perfect mother and made herself into a person that her daughters are unable to trust or connect with. Add to these three women, a small girl, Lucy, who Nora leaves with Quinn for protection but protection from what or who? Quinn doesn't know and her mother isn't supposed to find out about Lucy. Overall, this is the story of love in families and how far family members will go to protect those that they love. It's suspenseful and kept me turning the pages long into the night to find out the true story behind Lucy and her involvement with other family members.

This is a must read book for readers who enjoy well written family drama and suspense. I highly, highly recommend it!

I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own
Profile Image for Marisa.
1,180 reviews72 followers
November 21, 2017
Wow I need to take a moment to formulate the words in regard to this heartbreaking beautiful novel.

LITTLE BROKEN THINGS is a thriller based around a shattered family that is filled with secrets. At the heart of the family is estranged sisters and a little girl who is with one sister and left in the care of another. Who is Lucy? Is that her real name? And what is she being hidden from?

I loved this story. It was layered and intense. Every page held a different mystery and the unraveling makes my heart break. I loved all the characters and Ms Baart's strong use of imagery through her setting and beautiful language allowed me to picture everything. For the first time in a long time I didn't figure out the twist.

Even the title has me guessing. Who is broken? Or is it what was broken? And what fractures can be healed?

Outstanding. I loved this novel and can't wait for it to be released on 11/21/17 so I can share it with others

I've read all of Nicole Baart's stand alones and her trilogy. This novel is different than anything else she has ever written. A masterpiece and a novel that will stay with me for a long time
Profile Image for Mary.
1,570 reviews508 followers
December 28, 2017
⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5 - rounded up to 4 for Goodreads.

My reviews and (maybe) some other random thoughts can also be seen at


This was my very first novel by Baart, and once again, I have very mixed feelings (go figure).

I should mention that I basically read this in 2 sittings, and I stayed up until 2 AM to finish it because I couldn't put it down. That's part of the reason why I couldn't give it less than a 3.5 star rating. At first it wasn't really holding my attention, but after I hit around page 100 I got sucked in and couldn't stop.

Family drama, secrets, lies, and a whooooole lot more is what you will find in Little Broken Things. The story basically takes place over a series of 4 days and at the end there is an "After" which is essentially the epilogue. There is so much going on in that 4 days that it felt like it should have taken place over at least 30 days.

I loved that this book is set in a (albeit fictional) town in Minnesota named Key Lake. I am from MN and just recently moved away, so it added a little something for me to have this book set in my home sate. Even though most of the places talked about are fictitious, which I was a little bummed out about, it was still fun seeing New Ulm and Rochester mentioned. I'm always the one that is like "I've been there!!" when I see some place I am familiar with in a book. It is always an enjoyable feeling.

Told in alternating viewpoints, the story mainly focuses on sisters Quinn and Nora, and their mom Liz. I am a huge fan of alternating viewpoints so it was nice to have that in this book.

As far as characters go, I kind of struggled with liking many of them. Everlee of course was adorable, and I felt so bad for that little girl. At first I really didn't find Liz to be particularly likable, but then she actually ended up being my favorite character in the book. Her development was definitely the best of any character in the book in my opinion.

My biggest caveat with this book was the fact that the characters were SO shocked by the ending. I feel like you have to be pretty dumb to not understand what was going on. They all acted so confused and surprised, and that just felt really unbelievable to me. I even figured out what was going on, and that is rare.

Random Observation: The phrase "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" was repeated quite a bit in this book and seeing it repeated so many times started to irritate me. I'm probably being irrational, but I just noticed that and it started to bug me for whatever reason.

Final Thought: A lot of people really loved this book, and I totally appreciate the time and effort it must have taken Baart to write this. It wasn't my favorite, but I'm sure a ton of people will like it. If you like family drama with some hidden secrets you should give it a shot. It was suspenseful and the story moved at a decent pace, but I wouldn't say it was super twisty or anything. I definitely want to read more from Nicole Baart though. Besides the fact that she seems like an amazing, generous person, there was nothing wrong with the writing of this book, it just wasn't completely for me. Hopefully I can have some better luck with other novels from her!

Also, trigger warning for rape and child molestation. It was mostly eluded to and wasn't described in depth, but wanted to throw that out there.

*The paperback was first published on 21 Nov 2017*
Profile Image for Susan Peterson.
1,633 reviews279 followers
June 14, 2017
I'm so full of emotions right now, having just finished reading Little Broken Things by Nicole Lynn Baart...my feelings are a jumble, just like they were for the characters who live in this book. Such a mixture of joy and sadness, hope and doubt. This book is mesmerizing and suspenseful; my heart was in my throat while reading, compelling me to keep turning pages. At the heart of this story is a family; a family which has been torn apart and scattered for a myriad of reasons; when a forlorn little girl comes into their lives, surrounded by mystery, they know they must keep her safe and help her heal. But by protecting her, will their family grow further apart, or will they, despite the pain of the past, become whole again? The characters in this book are as broken and as beautiful as a piece of sea glass; their relationships with each other, the love and sometimes the frustration that they feel for each other are poignant and real. This beautiful book reminds us that there is beauty to be found even in things that were broken; that our lives are filled with dark and light, love and loss, faith and despair. These characters and the journey they take will live on in my heart always.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books318 followers
February 13, 2019
Two and a half stars.
When Quinn receives a cryptic message from her older sister, she is puzzled as to what it means. Nothing prepares her for the reality. Only hours later Nora, turns up with a child who she leaves in Quinn’s care before Nora disappears again. Who is this young child with familiar eyes? Why is Nora carrying on as if it is a matter of life and death, demanding Quinn keep the child secret? Just what has Nora got her into?
I was easily hooked from the beginning of this story. But then, things changes. The pace was very uneven so that at times I even wondered whether I would continue to read. I’d worked out early on what I thought was going and who the little girl’s parents were. So a lot of the novel was rather predictable and not the tension filled read I initially expected it to be. My heart went out to the little girl, introduced to Quinn as Lucy. But the rest of the characters didn’t engage me and too much of the plot was obvious a mile off. And I struggled to believe in the friendship between Nora and Tiffany.
Though initially it seemed like it would be good, pacing was an issue throughout and I was left disappointed. Certain aspects of the end were just way too convenient. I didn’t even feel satisfied that I had guessed who the child’s parents were as it was all telegraphed beforehand. I could be reacting differently to others on this book. Others may get into this story more, but I was expected a stronger read.
Profile Image for Sonja Yoerg.
Author 9 books1,136 followers
August 6, 2017
Estranged families make for rich stories; no matter how much we might yearn to be free of our relatives, an undeniable attachment remains. Little Broken Things is a tension-filled story in which family secrets, mistrust, and allegiances threatening to swallow up the loyalty and love that has somehow survived. Baart is a thoughtful, sensitive writer who creates a realistic and complex dilemma surrounding a child in jeopardy. At several points in the novel, it would've been easy to veer into melodrama or reach for a trite resolution, but Baart is too seasoned and too honest for that. Instead, she delivers an intriguing mystery wrapped up inside a family's journey through loss, forgiveness and hope. We are all of us little broken things and rely on stories such as this one to show us something about how to mend ourselves.
Profile Image for Ronak Gajjar.
263 reviews94 followers
December 26, 2017
I was compelled by this appealing mystery, read it out of literal cover-lust. Being flipped with mixed feelings by salient features of characters and POVs my liking graph nearly flickered variations very five pages.
Depth Points :
It moderately lives up to expectations painting the vivid family colors capturing the whole picture. The struggle of motherly love ending up in devastated decisions hits mind with how, when, why, what? Family bonding easily perforates when it is based on Secrets, but indeed the only promised protection also emerges from it.
Quinn & Walker – I loved this cute pair, making me believe love is real.
Nora & Ethan – Just one word for them “Friendship goals”.
Tiffany & Donovan – I can’t imagine the more hate.
Everlee – I pray no child would ever face what she did.
Liz – The Motherly love which she showers is so gullible.
Drawbacks :
Total predictable end-twist.
Also, the mystery isn’t made just by putting words cryptic and justifying that scene or text or situation is inexplicable.
At certain points, it seemed so senseless to camouflage the unique virtues of characters with the daily routine.
Profile Image for Kim Kaso.
298 reviews60 followers
January 21, 2018
3.5 rounded up to 4 stars. My first book by this author, and it was enjoyable enough, but it was no Big Little Lies, a book which sticks with me more than a year after reading it. BLL grabbed me, impressed me, made me laugh, cry, care...the book much more than the excellent series. The book made the men more fully realized characters than the series, and that made all the relationships deeper and more compelling. It was a book that spoke to me and my husband, as friends, lovers, parents, partners. It transcended its chick-lit marketing. This book does not, and that’s ok. But the publishers are setting it up for disappointed readers when it fails to meet expectations as the next BLL.

This book has a decent story, but it did not grab and hold my interest as I wished it would have. The men were stereotypes, the women somewhat less so but no one made me identify with them or care enough...I did not feel like this was the book I really wanted to be reading and started others while reading it. Also, I was not surprised by anything in the plot, it all played out as if I had the outline in front of me. And I just talked myself into removing a star. So, 3.5-ish rounded down. It’s an ok read, it just needs more heart. The author’s explanation of its origins made me feel more in a few sentences than the book did. I wish it had found its way on to the page.
Profile Image for Nicole.
Author 16 books1,310 followers
June 29, 2023
"If you liked BIG LITTLE LIES, you’ll want to crack open this new novel by Nicole Baart.”
Southern Living

“The mesmerizing story line is rife with mystery… an accomplished exploration of the fragile bonds of a family as they attempt to overcome obstacles they never saw coming.”
Publishers Weekly

“Part psychological thriller, part women’s fiction, Baart’s latest novel is wholly compelling… The intricacies of family relationships, love and friendship are all skillfully explored, layered in all the right places and captivating in its entirety.”
Romantic Times 4 1/2 Stars, Top Pick!

“Baarts novel of familial ties, betrayals, and long overdue confrontations ventures into the territory of Paula Hawkins, Mary Kubica, and Kimberly Belle. Full of twists and turns, this is a great addition to the recent surge in suspenseful domestic fiction.”
Profile Image for K~Terror.
389 reviews82 followers
January 19, 2018
I know this book won't be for everyone but I enjoyed the author's writing style and was intrigued getting to know each of the characters. There was so much beauty that came from these pages that it somehow over-shadowed the ugliness. This is one of those stories that will stay with me.
Profile Image for Jamie Rosenblit.
945 reviews533 followers
November 14, 2017
10/31/17: It’s 4:30 AM and I need to be up in an hour for work, yet I had to finish this. That’s how great this was.

More to come when I’m a functioning human again!

11/14/17: It’s been two weeks since I finished this book and it has stuck with me, a rare feat given the volume of the books I read. Told from the alternating perspectives of sisters Nora and Quinn, and their mother. I tend to most enjoy books written in this format and this was no different! I had theories from early on, some true, some not and I enjoyed figuring out where the story would go. This is my first book of Baart’s and it reminded me of a Diane Chamberlain book which is the highest compliment I can bestow!

I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought’s Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.
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