Praise

Cover of the novel The Broken Places

“With masterful use of craft, Peck takes readers on a journey into how devastation draws us together while pulling us apart. With moving imagery and haunting insight into response to trauma, The Broken Places highlights the flawed nature of humanity and our ability to move forward and find community after complicated, tragic loss. Above all, Peck gives nuanced, stunning characters who show readers what it means to give ourselves up to our flaws and find love and beauty in the process.”

—Kelly S. Thompson

National bestselling author of Girls Need Not Apply

“Frances Peck reveals herself a writer with seismic impact as she examines the before, during, and after of crumbling worlds and relationships. The Broken Places will scare the living daylights out of you while it yields harsh truths, heartbreak, and hope about the human condition.”

—Glen Huser

Author of Burning the Night

The Broken Places is a propulsive, terrifying novel about the sudden catastrophic upending of day-to-day life. Hillsides slump, bridges give way, apartment buildings tilt and crumble—while love, desire, greed and devotion are tested, heightened or lost forever. Frances Peck’s characters are those we instinctively understand. Beautifully layered and compelling, this novel explores the intricacies of human behaviour—what it is that makes us, and what it is we cherish most.”

—Libby Creelman

Author of Split

“Frances Peck’s wonderfully sophisticated and razor-sharp novel takes dead aim at Vancouver’s tenuous decadent dreams against an ensemble of mesmerizing characters. The Broken Places casts an unwavering eye on a city of glass and its inhabitants who must respond to a savagely cruel event that shatters some families while bringing others closer together. It’s Balzacian in its ambition and wit, raising ineluctable questions about family and wealth, love and lust, resignation and resilience, and offers hard-earned truths about the death of dreams and how we’ll fight fiercely to keep them intact regardless of the cost. A well-crafted, affecting debut.”

—John Vigna

Author of No Man’s Land

The Broken Places is a rare treat that combines high-tension narrative with true literary craft, delivering characters that readers will love to love, hate, pity and grieve. Set against the backdrop of a devastating earthquake, the story of how a diverse group of people react to their new reality is beautifully delivered, offering many moments of masterful writing and rich, sensory engagement. Layer by layer, Peck reveals the motivations, fears and desires of her characters, doling out clues that culminate in an explosive and heartbreaking climax. Yet the novel ends with hope. Not a sweet-sugary treat, but a hope grounded firmly in believable characters and situations that resonate.”

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—Ruth E. Walker

Author of Living Underground

“In her debut novel, Frances Peck masterfully brings together a cast of complex characters, each broken in their own way, and weaves a compelling story set against the backdrop of a catastrophic earthquake. It beautifully reminded me that none of us are ever on solid ground, especially when it comes to our human, and fragmented, hearts.”

—Brian Francis

Author of Fruit and Missed Connections

“Frances Peck’s dazzling debut novel snatches a cast of vividly realized, multi-faceted characters out of their daily lives in Vancouver and gathers them closer and closer as the book builds toward a dramatic, disturbing macroseismic cataclysm. Peck slides effortlessly in and out of the intimate thoughts and turbulent flux of emotion that individuals experience as they connect, as their destinies interlace, as their lives are irrevocably altered. People disappear; people are transformed. Peck’s prose is piercing with precision—here are broken people, and here is what might heal them.”

—Claire Wilkshire

Author of The Love Olympics and Maxine

The Broken Places…takes a hatchet to the trope that those who can’t do, teach. …Peck spent years teaching the finer points of language and writing to others, and her novel could serve as a wares table for inventive and inviting approaches to storytelling. Peck deftly weds second- and third-person perspectives, flashbacks and flashforwards, epistolary interludes and enough literary amuse-bouches that the form of the novel is as compelling as the content.”

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—Andrew Guilbert

Alberta Views magazine

“Once the quake hits and characters…respond, Peck muses smartly on how much one can bend before breaking as well as how much mending is possible after rot has set in. …Peck excels at keeping readers taut with anticipation. The author showcases an aptitude for complex plotting and sure-footedness about character interaction. …Not a soul emerges unscathed in this intense and absorbing drama.”

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—Brett Josef Grubisic

Vancouver Sun

“This is the novel that many Vancouverites have been half-consciously waiting for—just as they have been half-unconsciously waiting for…The Big One. …It is the way that Peck focuses on the human suffering that no doubt will make the biggest impact on most Vancouverites reading the book… Peck digs deep. For pages at a time, she submerges us completely in the minds of one character before moving on to the next. Within the confines of each mind, the author writes with ease and energy.”

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—Theo Dombrowski

The British Columbia Review

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