The Pierced Heart by Lynn Shepherd #BookReview


The Pierced Heart continues the story of Lynn Shepherd’s flawed detective Charlie Maddox. Regretting his behaviour towards servant girl, Molly, he is haunted by her in his dreams which are not abated by a mission to Austria, where he finds himself in a strange castle deep in the Austrian countryside. As the plot progresses the actions of his host, Baron Von Reisenberg, take us to the Gothic world of Bram Stoker and Charlie begins to descend into madness.

For me this story came to life in Chapter 4, at the beginning of the journal of Lucy, in January 1851. Describing her travels in Paris and Vienna she is about to return to Whitby, a home she cannot remember. She recounts how she has assisted her father in deceiving audiences with phantasmagoria and how gradually her health has weakened. In the style of the books of Essie Fox and Wilkie Collins, Lucy’s plight worsens with each episode we read.

At times, the novel seems too gratuitous for me, but others will relish the descriptions of a series of violent murders of young women in London, 40 years before Jack the Ripper. This is an intense, captivating book to read and the ending, though not really a surprise, was very satisfying.

The Pierced Heart can be purchased on Amazon UK


Monday Musing

I am excited to tell you about an artist and architect I had never discovered until I started reading “The Hour Before Dawn” by Sara MacDonald.  A review of her book will follow later but the artist she incorporates into her novel is Friedensreich Hundertwasser.  In fact in 1949 he adopted the full name Tausendsassa Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser which means Multi-talented Peace-filled Rainy Day Dark Coloured Hundred Waters.


Born in Vienna in December 1928, this eccentric artist loved to paint using natural organic forms such as spirals, circles, meanders and labyrinths.  He was inspired by visits to Morocco, Tunisia, Nepal, Tokyo and Siberia and his architecture was based on his belief of living close to nature.  He had strong political views and in 1968 he gave a speech in Vienna in the nude.


In later years Hundertwasser moved to New Zealand and he died while off its coast on a cruise ship in 2000.  His legacy of buildings and paintings can easily be searched on the web.

Hundertwasser house in Vienna