HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson
Loading...

The Stopped Heart

by Julie Myerson

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
789218,586 (3.69)7

None.

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 7 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
This is an absolutely absorbing novel featuring two families living in the same rural Suffolk cottage in a small village, but over a century apart. Their stories are intertwined throughout and there are disturbing parallels in the characters and events experienced by the families. The chilling atmosphere of the cottage is contrasted with the hot summers in which the stories are set and Julie Myerson’s acute writing takes you to the heart of the feelings of Eliza in the past and Mary in the present. Myerson exquisitely explores the threatening aura of love, loss and impending evil that haunts both families and hints that there may be some things that cannot be explained rationally. It makes for an enthralling and affecting read.
  camharlow2 | Sep 6, 2018 |
The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson
3.5 Stars

From The Book:
A 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?

My Views:
It was a very good story...well written and well told... however the constant switching from past to present was a bit off setting. I love supernatural, physiological suspense stories and this one was building to a stunning conclusion...but then it was like the door closed and someone said "That's all folks." We never found out what actually happened to the villain or what the future was to hold for the couple or the family in the past. That was disappointing and it lost the book half a star. Still very worth the reading time. ( )
  Carol420 | Jun 7, 2017 |
As a modest yet dedicated book reviewer, I try and keep up with the cutting edge UK literary press. I've been intrigued by an emerging genre which I'll call the 'creepy yet quaint British village ghost story*'. The Stopped Heart has been touted as such -- a haunted house story set in the English countryside, with edge-of-your-seat suspense. Given its many stellar reviews and an enticing cover --I leapt in.

I know it's been overdone, but The Stopped Heart is, at first, boringly set in two time periods, and (yawn) has two narratives - one in the present with Mary and Graham Coles - and the other, over 150 years ago with the farm family who once lived in the Cole's cottage.

Delving further into what seems to be a predictable haunted tale, it's not only the Coles' cottage which is haunted -- so are Mary and Graham. They have escaped to this countryside retreat to recover from a tragic loss. In the same cottage, 150 years in the past, Eliza narrates her large family's hardscrabble farm story. Her sister, Lottie, strangely speaks of the present day family as if she knows them -- and even names her kitten “Merricoles”, a version of the name “Mary Coles”. Ghosts, spirits, a haunted cottage -- so far - so good, right? Get me another cup of tea and I'll keep reading.

Except it all starts to go very, very wrong when the mysterious red-haired James Dix enters the circle of Eliza's family. Thus begins the disturbing spiral involving both time periods and parallel stories of betrayal, underage lust and ultimately, grisly violence. And like an ill-advised roller coaster ride, you know, with dread, whats coming -- but there is nothing you can do to get off. You're strapped into the ride and you just gotta hang on and keep reading.

Ms. Myerson's narrative switches seamlessly from one time period to another. I realized midway through the novel, that the author does this deliberately to enhance the fluidity of her past and present story-lines. The Coles' modern-day cottage still harbors the violence of the past and Eliza and Lottie can sense the tragedy in the future. This can get confusing if you're not paying attention. But, pay attention you will, because while creepy and often violent -- The Stopped Heart is a compelling page turner. (Fair warning to any parents of young children out there, this book contains violence with young children as the victims.)

The modern day Coles struggle with their broken relationship, a surly teenage step-daughter and a sad flirtation with a neighbor. In the past, Eliza discovers her own budding sexuality, while simultaneously demanding her own (often funny and spunky) feminist beliefs. Meanwhile, the mysterious red-headed man disrupts everyone in both time periods. Some of the most intriguing writing involves Mary Coles "seeing" her kitchen and garden morph into the past. The smells, the dirt, the old furnishings all come alive through her eyes.

At the end of this gripping read, Ms. Myerson purposefully leaves many things unanswered - you won't arrive a pat ending - creepily, you'll continue to dwell on the events long after you've closed the book.

The Stopped Heart lead me to the edge of horror fiction, another blogger aptly labeled it "horror light". I resolutely avoid horror fiction, I'm still recovering from my one (and only) Stephen King novel many years ago.

So why did I keep on reading well out of the limits of my comfort zone?

I kept turning the pages because of the writing. This is an intensely dark reading experience interspersed with beautifully captured characters coping with loss and unspeakable tragedies -- the suffering of a stopped heart.

I recommend The Stopped Heart with caution and warnings (see above) and it had everything stacked against it for me (i.e., horror light). Yet, I had to keep reading and never once looked back. Which says a great deal about the appeal of this book - a scary roller coaster ride -- you want to get off -- but you can't stop enjoying the thrill.
See all my book reviews at http://www.bookbarmy.com

A review copy was provided by Harper Perennial

*Others in the same genre include Susan Hill, The Woman in Black and Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger...both on my TBR list -- maybe, once I recover. ( )
  BookBarmy | Apr 13, 2017 |
I really liked this book. Of course the book opens with the end so you have a good idea how the story from 150 years ago climaxes. The parallels between Eddie and James and between Eliza and Mary are creepy. I like to knit while I read and many times I had to undo my work as I had wrongly knitted on while breathlessly reading. Scary and with violence against children but a good read. ( )
  scot2 | Oct 19, 2016 |
This story was SO WEIRD, and I do appreciate originality. Ghosts and (maybe?) reincarnation wend their way through twin tales of horrible violence, often aimed towards children. Recommended. ( )
  librarianarpita | Aug 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062409328, Paperback)

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…?

(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 22 Nov 2015 13:49:01 -0500)

In this dark and mesmerizing novel, a grieving couple seeks refuge in a country cottage. But the cottage has its own history of tragedy. Are the chilling memories trapped within its walls becoming their new reality?Mary and Graham Coles move to a Suffolk cottage that hasn't been lived in for years. The large garden and beautiful apple orchard are exactly what they need to put the horror of the past behind them. Mary starts to sense something in the house-- children's whispers; footsteps; figures in the garden; a young man with red hair in the orchard. The Coles are unaware of the history of the house-- one hundred and fifty years earlier, a huge oak tree was felled in front of the cottage during a raging storm... and beneath it was a young man with a shock of red hair, presumed dead. Is there a presence-- an evil-- at work? Or has Mary's grief turned to madness?… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.69)
0.5
1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 5
3.5 1
4 9
4.5
5 2

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,837,097 books! | Top bar: Always visible