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Black Heart Blue by Louisa Reid
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Black Heart Blue

by Louisa Reid

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Twins Rebecca and Hephzibah Kinsman are not identical...at least not in appearance. Hephzi is beauiful, Rebecca has a facial deformity caused by a rare syndrome. Their life is a very unhappy one. Their father is a zealot....a controlling and violent preacher and their mother is weak and compliant to her husband's demands.

Rebecca and Hephzi have no existence outside of the vicarage. Constant chores and regular beatings are common and much, much worse. The reader knows from the start of the novel that Hephzi is dead and their story is told in alternate chapters from before and after her death. We learn that, by some miracle, they are allowed to start college, albeit for a short while, at sixteen and have a glimpse of the outside world. Hephzi even has a boyfriend. Sadly, her closeness to her twin is threatened as she becomes ashamed of Rebecca's appearance, a consequence of assumed peer influence. This, for me, was one of the most upsetting parts of the story.

In the worst way, Hephzi's death has released her from their misery, but Rebecca is stronger than she thinks. The reader is urging her on to try and forge a new life for herself and to understand that her deformity is not what defines her. The writing is excellent and the twins' story is emotional and compelling. Certainly one I would recommend, but with a warning that the content is harrowing and, sadly, believable.

This book was made available to me, prior to publication, for an honest review. ( )
  teresa1953 | Apr 25, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141342706, Paperback)

Hephzibah - You've no idea what it's like having a freak for a sister. Rebecca Born first, prettier, Hephzi's always been the more popular one. The Father - When he was busy with his bottle we were usually safe. Usually. The Mother - Her specialist subject was misery and lessons of painful silence...Hephzibah and Rebecca are twins. One beautiful, one disfigured. Trapped with their loveless parents, they dream of a normal life. But when one twin tragically dies, the other must find a way to escape. Because if she doesn't, she'll end up like her sister.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:19 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hephzibah - You've no idea what it's like having a freak for a sister. Rebecca Born first, prettier, Hephzi's always been the more popular one. The Father - When he was busy with his bottle we were usually safe. Usually. The Mother - Her specialist subject was misery and lessons of painful silence...Hephzibah and Rebecca are twins. One beautiful, one disfigured. Trapped with their loveless parents, they dream of a normal life. But when one twin tragically dies, the other must find a way to escape. Because if she doesn't, she'll end up like her sister.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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