“Bloody brilliant.”—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
Internationally bestselling author Julie Myerson’s beautifully written, yet deeply chilling, novel of psychological suspense explores the tragedies—past and present—haunting a picturesque country cottage.
Mary Coles and her husband, Graham, have just moved to a cottage on the edge of a small village. The house hasn’t been lived in for years, but they are drawn to its original features and surprisingly large garden, which stretches down into a beautiful apple orchard. It’s idyllic, remote, picturesque: exactly what they need to put the horror of the past behind them.
One hundred and fifty years earlier, a huge oak tree was felled in front of the cottage during a raging storm. Beneath it lies a young man with a shock of red hair, presumed dead—surely no one could survive such an accident. But the red-haired man is alive, and after a brief convalescence is taken in by the family living in the cottage and put to work in the fields. The children all love him, but the eldest daughter, Eliza, has her reservations. There’s something about the red-haired man that sits ill with her. A presence. An evil.
Back in the present, weeks after moving to the cottage and still drowning beneath the weight of insurmountable grief, Mary Coles starts to sense there’s something in the house. Children’s whispers, footsteps from above, half-caught glimpses of figures in the garden. A young man with a shock of red hair wandering through the orchard.
Has Mary’s grief turned to madness? Or have the events that took place so long ago finally come back to haunt her…?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have just finished 'The Stopped Heart' by Julie Myerson and I am left bereft and emotional, overwhelmed by the storyline after realising at 96% how the book tied to the beginning and the knowing of the horror to come dawning on me.
The book has left me dazed and in awe of both storyline and author, I have spent days consumed by the intricacy of the unfolding story, the absorption of one time line into the next the delicate strings that tie everything together suspended over the abated breath of 'oh my god what is next'
Such a poignant title for such a beautifully crafted novel, Myerson has you captivated at the end of the opening paragraph and bound until the full stop as the last sentence ends. After reading that final sentence I went back re-reading the sinister words of the first chapter visiting it in a whole new light.
Myerson is clearly a gifted writer, she has written a beautiful atmospheric almost gothic piece of art, a tale so harrowing and...
I did not enjoy reading this book. I started speed reading about 20% in as the pace was maddening. By 60% in, I hated just about every character. At that point I had decided to give it 2-3 stars, until I got to the end. There was no end. It just stopped and after all that build up, all that potential. Thus the 1 star grade. There was potential for brilliance, I love supernatural thrillers and this was building to a stunning conclusion that might have overcome the overly long drawn out telling of the story. But as I said.... no ending, it just stopped. Be warned.
A truly creepy ghost story about a large 19th-century farm family alternates with the modern-day family that lives in the house 150 years later. The characters of James Dix - a red-headed farm hand who appears out of nowhere during a storm - and Eddie - a troubled husband and family friend - will both make your flesh crawl, in an oddly endearing way. You can't help but like teenager Eliza, the first-person narrator of the 19th-century family, who is so clearly defined that you can practically see the pattern of her dress. Not so for the main character of the modern family, Mary Coles, whose habit of answering a question with a question becomes an annoyingly obvious artifice very early on. She is a grieving, desperate soul, and I wanted to love this character, but I just couldn't quite get there. She's likeable, especially with her rebellious stepdaughter, but hopelessly naive, a character trait that didn't seem organic to her personality and felt like merely a way to advance the...
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