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  • Title: The Unquiet Heart
  • Author: Kaite Welsh
  • Publisher: Tinder Press
  • Publication Date: 30th May 2019

Copy received from publisher for review purposes.

Description:

Kaite Welsh’s thrilling medical mystery THE UNQUIET HEART is the second in the gothic Sarah Gilchrist series, following a medical student turned detective in Victorian Edinburgh. For readers of Natasha Pulley’s THE WATCHMAKER OF FILIGREE STREET or Laura Purcell’s THE SILENT COMPANIONS.

This powerful novel combines a disturbing look at late Victorian attitudes towards women and morality with a satisfying murder mystery – Sunday Express

Sarah Gilchrist has no intention of marrying her dull fiancé Miles, the man her family hope will restore her reputation and put an end to her dreams of becoming a doctor, but when he is arrested for a murder she is sure he didn’t commit she finds herself his reluctant ally. Beneath the genteel façade of upper class Edinburgh lurks blackmail, adultery, poison and madness and Sarah must return to Edinburgh’s slums, back alleys and asylums as she discovers the dark past about a family where no one is what they seem, even Miles himself. It also brings her back into the orbit of her mercurial professor, Gregory Merchiston – he sees Sarah as his protegee, but can he stave off his demons long enough to teach her the skills that will save her life?

My Thoughts:

The Unquiet Heart is the second installment in the series to feature Sarah Gilchrist written by Kaite Welsh. In this series, we are once more led into the world of 19th-century-Edinburgh where a group of intelligent women are continuing their fight to be educated in the field of medicine at the University of Edinburgh.

Following the scandals that were unearthed in The Wages of Sin, Sarah Gilchrist is struggling to conform to the image her family wish to portray. Her engagement to Miles is a pretence, she has no desire to marry him, but her family hope that this will be the key to Sarah giving up her dream of becoming a doctor, and restore their name after the shame she brought upon them.

I would recommend reading the books in this series in order, this will allow readers to grasp the importance of the events that took place in The Wages of Sin. It will allow readers to fully appreciate the journey that Sarah Gilchrist has made. Not only the physical journey to Edinburgh, but the mental journey she has been on to get to the place she’s at now. There is no denying that this is a complex character, one with a past that could make her vulnerable, but instead, she uses it to spur her onward.

The plot of The Unquiet Heart is fascinating and utterly gripping. I found myself reading another chapter and another, before giving up on sleep entirely because I couldn’t possibly put this book down. The way that the action and drama unfolds is clever and intense, Welsh manages to pack the right amount of drama into each moment. She deftly weaves atmosphere and vivid detail through out the narrative, crafting a truly magnificent book. This is a treat for fans of historic fiction, the attention to detail and care that have gone into the research and writing of this book make it a delight to read. And, not only do we have a thrilling read, we also navigate the societal hurdles of the time as Sarah Gilchrist fights against the accepted norms of the time, defying the gendered stereotypical roles by being a medical student, not being married by a certain age and finding a match in the most unlikely place.

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Published: 3 November 2016
Reviewed: 25 October 2016

4 out of 5 stars

Copy supplied by Tinder Press in return for an honest review

 

Description:

Morgan McCarthy’s THE HOUSE OF BIRDS is a beautiful and bewitching story of love, war and second chances that will be adored by readers of Louisa Young and Virginia Bailey.

Oliver has spent years trying to convince himself that he’s suited to a life of money making in the city, and that he doesn’t miss a childhood spent in pursuit of mystery, when he cycled around the cobbled lanes of Oxford, exploring its most intriguing corners.

When his girlfriend Kate inherits a derelict house – and a fierce family feud – she’s determined to strip it, sell it and move on. For Oliver though, the house has an allure, and amongst the shelves of discarded, leather bound and gilded volumes, he discovers one that conceals a hidden diary from the 1920s.

So begins a quest: to discover the identity of the author, Sophia Louis. It is a portrait of war and marriage, isolation and longing and a story that will shape the future of the abandoned house – and of Oliver – forever.

My Thoughts & Review:

The House of Birds is a beautifully written book with one of the most spectacularly breathtaking covers I’ve seen in a long time.  I am loathe to admit to being a sucker for a pretty cover, but this one really does catch your eye and dares you to ignore it’s alluring charm.

Morgan McCarthy weaves together tales from the past and present so eloquently,  the stories flow well together so that the reader is experiencing the mystery that Oliver is searching for the answers to but also the memories attached to the items within the old house and how they relate to Sophia Louis.
Oliver’s search is captivating reading, the memories he unearths add a richness to both the past and the present.  The interwoven narration from Sophia gives a wonderful insight in to her character, the oppressive societal struggles for women in this time and several emotive topics are written with care and sympathy where necessary, but also detailed to show that McCarthy has done her research to ensure authenticity.   Each character in this has their own appealing qualities (or unappealing as the case may be), they are are carefully and thoughtfully constructed.

The vivid descriptions in this book are spectacular, the detail given about the house means that the reader is more than able to envision the setting clearly.  There is great care given to the description of people also, the description of a young Kate when Oliver sees her cycling on her way home from school conjures a crystal clear image of the young girl, with hair so perfect on her white bike, and the small detail of her catching his eye ‘like a unicorn’ gives the reader a small insight into the flowing prose awaiting them later in the book.

McCarthy’s writing is a delight to read, so natural and expressive which truly makes this a delight to read.

You can buy a copy of The House of Birds here.

 

About the Author:

Morgan McCarthy was born in Berkshire, UK, where she still lives. She has worked in a supermarket, a small independent bookstore, and, most recently, as a media analyst.

You can follow the author on Twitter @MorganMcAuthor

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