The Unpierced Heart Paperback – 13 Sep 2012
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A compelling tale of death, despair and obsession . . . Wildly and knowingly melodramatic but done with such energy and ingenuity that it's also tremendous fun (Sunday Times)
Richly atmospheric and rattling away in fine style, it conjures 19th century high society and its sordid underbelly with verve and flair . . . Darby knows how to write a cracking novel . . . Darkly enjoyable (Metro)
This book really is a thing of beauty - and that's before you even open the cover . . . The illusion is maintained inside, because the debut novelist Katy Darby has wrought a truly gothic little gem that could almost have fallen through a wormhole, 125 years ago... Darby manages to retain the flavour of the authors she so obviously admires - Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle - but at the same time establishes her own voice and creates a contemporary narrative . . . a rare achievement (Independent on Sunday)
A consistently engaging and suspenseful Gothic melodrama (Herald)
Thrilling gothic romance (Daily Express)
About the Author
Katy Darby studied English Literature at Somerville College, Oxford, and Creative Writing at U.E.A. where she received the David Higham Award. Her fiction has been read on BBC Radio, and she has published stories in Slice, Mslexia and The London Magazine, as well as winning prizes in several international fiction competitions. She teaches writing at City University, edits the short story magazine Litro (www.litro.co.uk) and co-runs the monthly live fiction event Liars' League (www.liarsleague.com). She lives in London.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Whores' Asylum is the first novel by Katy Darby and all in all it has quite a lot going for it. The action sequences, and the moments which have a touch of the macabre and the surreal in particular are all well handled. The book features an enraged bear dressed in a sort of harlequin outfit and kept prisoner in a cellar; it has scenes of shabby well-to-do men wearing masks and making free with ladies of the night in plush, velvet-draped rooms and it has, best of all to my mind, a description of a duel taking place one foggy morning which packs a real emotional punch; but where, for me, the book suffers slightly is with the pacing. I suspect the novel could lose twenty pages or so and would, if some of the descriptions of what the characters were thinking and feeling emotionally were slightly pared back, rattle along all the better for it.Read more ›
A book written in five parts, each part giving additional angles to the underlying story, but from a different protagonist. In every part of the book you feel sympathetic to the current protagonist, you share their opinion and heartache, trouble, worries, fear. It's an amazing example of how the same story can appear completely different depending on who tell it. But each part doesn't just repeat the same story over and over again but gives more depth to the reader's understanding of motives, history etc.
Truly amazing book that will stay on my bookshelf and that I will no doubt read again!
I really enjoyed the way the story unfolded piece by piece, one contradictory narrative following another so that the reader is drawn in to make judgements, piecing together the full picture from clues and hints.
It's a wonderfully dark story, richly evocative of the seedy Victorian underworld. I particularly admired the way Ms Darby dissects her characters' outmoded attitudes and mores without ever judging them by 21st century standards. She leaves the reader to do that, and the impact of the story is much stronger because of it.
The book is divided into five main sections, and in those sections a part of the story is told from the perspective of five different characters, whose lives and interactions with both Chapman and Fraser are destined to test not only their friendship, but their whole outlook on life. It was when it got to the fourth section, which tells a part of Stephen Chapman’s story, that I began to wonder whether I was still reading the same book, as the narrative seemed to have shifted from an Edwardian tale to a ‘gothic’ tale designed to make the beating hearts of young women of a delicate persuasion thump even harder. Such decadence, such immorality, such scandal and debauchery, you’ve never heard the like, my dear!
I read to the end of the book, interested to see where the narrative went, and I’m not sorry I read it. But it did seem to lose sight part way through of what it wanted to be, and veered off wildly off a clear path into the weeds and undergrowth, as it were.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This compelling novel was originally called ‘The Whores Asylum’ but was apparently renamed to appease a certain chain of stationery stores who thought the title a bit much, despite... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Andrew Wallace
I have read many of Dickens books, and this is in the style of that author, I enjoyed the first half of the book but then found myself skipping the pages of the rest as it seemed... Read morePublished 13 months ago by susie
Not read anything by this author before but a great gothic read. Would definitely see what else Kate Darby has written.Published 23 months ago by Janet
A skilfully written and extremely enjoyable novel filled with colourful characters and evocative Gothic settings. Read morePublished on 9 April 2014 by Chloecatcheryl2011
Really enjoyed the character development, the settings, and the storyline. I thought the illustrations made it seem a bit tacky though. Read morePublished on 26 Feb. 2014 by Jimmy