Brake Failure - Alison Brodie - Book Cover

Brake Failure – Alison Brodie

This is a refreshingly different contemporary novel with a twist! Ruby dreams of moving to Paris but ends up in Kansas living a life she never imagined! 


Love this novel! Ruby, whose dreams of living a sophisticated life are those of her sister and mother, finds herself in Kansas City of all places! She didn’t want to go, she wanted to move to Paris, but once in Kansas, everything falls in place: who she is, what she likes, what she craves for in life. Follow Ruby and those she touched along her rocky path in Kansas – just sit back and enjoy a dazzling ride!


The moment you open this novel you are made aware of the fact that there is “a dead man at the door” of the Shady Acres Retirement Home in Kansas City. What caused the dead man to end up there is obvious: a bullet. In between the blood, his words are a whisper “Don’t do it, Ruby.” Why he is whispering these words and what Ruby’s involvement is we do not know. For that, we have to go back in time.

The place is London, the time five months ago shortly before Ruby marries Edward. First, she has a dinner date with her (half)sister Claire, the one she always competes with though never successfully according to Ruby. Tonight is different because Ruby has a bombshell to drop: once she is married she will move to Paris. Living in Paris has always been a dream for Claire and the closest she has reached is her “elegant seventeenth-century apartment” in Brussels.

Sometimes dreams just refuse to come true and it is only after Ruby and Edward are married that she finds out it is not Paris in Europe where she is going to live but Kansas City in the American state of Kansas. She is determined to hate it there and to do whatever possible to make her dream of living in Paris come true. The opportunity poses itself when her husband has to win over a new client but for that Ruby has to improvise. If she succeeds, Edward will be posted to Paris.

However, events take another turn and it seems she will be stuck in Kansas City for a bit longer. Gradually Ruby finds her way around Kansas City and she hates to admit it but perhaps she could even like it there – just for the time being of course. Ruby makes some friends like the unconventional Molly and stray dog Rowdy. Besides that Ruby meets two men who are quite different from one another: the sexy Red Indian Chief Payat and the grumpy Sheriff Hank Gephart who brings out the worst in her.

For the first time ever Ruby is far out of reach of the influence of both her mother (who adopted Ruby as a child) and Claire. Somehow the distance between them liberates Ruby and we see the inner Ruby hidden deep inside gradually emerging. Is she able to become herself for the first time in her life? To lose whatever control her mother, sister and mother-in-law, as well as her husband Edward, have over her?

Plus there are lots of things Ruby worries about: what illness she has (yes maybe she is a hypochondriac but you can never know, can you?) whether the Millennium Bug (also known as the Y2K meltdown) will strike and endless more troubles. According to Ruby’s aunt, she has got “the devil” inside of her – beware Kansas City because Ruby is getting out of control and heading for brake failure: her ‘ inner devil’ is about to break loose!

My Thoughts

Because of the layout of the book and the events going back and forth, it takes you a while to get into the storyline and Ruby’s life but once you are in you just want to keep on reading. Ruby is a fascinating character, I grew to love her as I gradually understood who she was. Hers was not an easy childhood and the competitiveness with her sister is hard to take in.

Only in the end you fully perceive the extent of their sibling rivalry. I will refrain from saying more for fear of giving away too much. The more I read the more I loved the story and was so thrilled by the uniqueness and refreshingly different tale before me I just kept on reading. It was nothing like I expected and such a pleasant surprise!

Love the book. If you need something different to read: this is it. It comes recommended.

Other books by Alison Brody:
Zenkamy review 
The Double
Sweet Talk 
Face to Face

About the Author

Alison Brodie Author Image

Alison Brodie is a Scottish author with ancestors going back to the French Huguenots. Hence her moving to France, where she is living at the moment. But she has lived all over the world, including Yemen and Kansas City, where ‘Brake Failure’ is situated. Her dream: living in America permanently. Before becoming a writer Alison has taken on jobs like modelling and playing a vampire in a commercial. Among Alison Brodie’s books are ‘Wild Life’ (Aug. 1, 2015) and ‘The Double‘ (Jan. 19, 2016). Alison Brodie writes, in her own words: “contemporary romance novels with a strong plotline, set against the background of a world-changing event, coupled with touches of humour, sexual tension and character transformation.

Book Info

Buy from Amazon UK Icon

 Pages  323
 Publisher  Clipboard Press (9 Jan 2017)
 ASIN (e-book)  B01MRQVFGA

One Comment

  • alison brodie

    Thank you Caroline for this fantastic review of Brake Failure!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Have a great 2017! xx

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