In 1934, Lydia Langstone leaves her husband and moves in with her father at 7 Bleeding Heart Square. Four years earlier, the woman who owned the house, Philippa Penhow, disappeared, and now someone is sending Lydia’s creepy landlord Mr. Serridge animal hearts in the post. At about the same time that Lydia moves in, a young man named Rory Wentworth moves in as well. He’s looking for work as a journalist, yes, but he has an ulterior motive for moving into the house. Compounded on all of this is the fact that the Fascists are coming into power, a party to which Lydia’s husband belongs.
Punctuated by snippets from Miss Penhow’s diary, Bleeding Heart Square is primarily a story of revenge and deep, dark secrets. The story is darkly bizarre and a bit gory, to be sure, but it’s well-put-together and left me wanting more. Taylor does a wonderful job with description, too: you really feel as though you’re witnessing a Fascist rally or smelling the hearts in the front hall. Rather stomach-turning, yes, but apart from a bit at the end which didn’t sit right with me, this is ultimately a satisfying, gripping novel. The subject matter reminds me a little of the novels of Patrick Hamilton, but Andrew Taylor has a unique voice.
Also reviewed by: Caribou' Mom, A Work in Progress