Horror stories aren’t always made of gore or blood and guts. Sometimes they don’t have a crazed killer chasing a helpless women. Sometimes all it takes is a dark theme with emotionally charged writing and a child who is a bit off in a way you can’t put your finger on. From the beginning Abigail was different and her parents did nothing positive to make her life happy. Her mother wants nothing to do with her and all her father ever wanted was a boy, this is the making of Darkened Heart. Having little to no idea from the start what the book was about I went in with an open mind and soon discovered that this book has much more going on below the surface than I imagined.
Christie Stratos’ writing is fantastic, it pokes and prods the psychological buttons of the reader to illicit the emotions felt by the characters. The pain, the anguish and the sometimes hopelessness Abigail feels is heart breaking. Elizabeth causes pain towards her friend and she feels no better afterward, Abigail follows this same dark path in regards to her little sister with similar results. Neither realizing that the outwardly directed pain is the result of a darkened heart, one in desperate need of healing. This theme is weaved throughout the story, the writing is expertly done and this is a real treat. Along with the feeling of anxiety felt by Abigail due to her Mothers horrible treatment the emotions drawn are real enough to feel. As Abigail moves from a child to an adult she becomes her Mother’s daughter, the last person she would like to become.
I was really able to connect with Abigail, to her struggles and pain, she was such a well-developed character that I thought I knew her. Her relationship with her Mother was tangible and wonderfully constructed, that kind of writing is what makes this book a great read. The distant and mostly non-existent relationship with her Father only added to her struggle to find her way in life. This book is filled with what makes us what we are, the relationships we have with others, and this message wasn’t lost on me. It didn’t hit me over the head but instead it was perfectly placed just below the surface as the story was told.
Christie Stratos has written this story in such a wonderful way and brings the 19th century to life. With details encompassing the Whitestone’s home, to the way her characters lived, to their erstwhile communication, the writing is amazing. As the story neared its conclusion I was so wrapped up in the Whitestone’s I started to get that an all too familiar feeling. I was going to miss them and I didn’t want them to vanish back to the lonely pages inside a closed book. This is when I know I’ve read a really great piece of writing, connecting to the characters in this way I know the story will stay with me for a very long time.
I was completely mesmerized by this slice of the 1800’s as Christie presented it to us. She wrapped up the story in such a great way that when I turned the last page I immediately wanted more. But all was not lost! I discovered there is more to come in the next year and I can’t wait to take the way back machine to the 19th century again. Anatomy of a Darkened Heart is a fantastic book and a very excellent debut novel. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, well done Christie…very well done.
Length: 204 Pages
Publisher: Proof Positive Publishing
Release date: September 18, 2015
Blurb: A pair of eyes underlined in weary darkness and punctuated with a knowing stare. These are not the normal eyes of a newborn baby. Abigail Delilah is the firstborn of three Whitestone children – and she is the most regretted.
But is it really her fault?
She can’t help that the revelation of Father’s wretched secret coincides with her birth. She can’t help the fear she feels during Mother’s psychological – and physical – assaults. As the shadows grow stronger over her soul and the noose of pain tightens around her neck, Abigail will find out which is stronger: her family’s wicked assumptions about her or her true self.
Take your first step into the Dark Victoriana Collection with Anatomy of a Darkened Heart.
Multi-layered with motifs, symbolism, and psychological depth, this tale of dark Victoriana will appeal to the literary reader and the leisure reader alike, combining key facets of several popular genres. And don’t be afraid to get addicted – the collection continues exploring the intertwining threads that weave together the complex tapestry of the Whitestone legacy.
Christie Stratos, Biography-
Christie Stratos is an editor and award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies, and is an audiobook reviewer at AudioBookReviewer.com. She is also a writer of published short stories, poetry, and novels. She dabbles in all genres. Christie can be reached through her editing business, Proof Positive, her author website and blog, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Connect with Christie Stratos at the following links
Author website: http://christiestratos.com
Editing website: http://proofpositivepro.com