The Stopped Heart – Julie Myerson

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…?

I have just finished ‘The Stopped Heart’ by Julie Myerson and I am left bereft and emotional, overwhelmed by the storyline after realising at 96% how the book tied to the beginning and the knowing of the horror to come dawning on me.

The book has left me dazed and in awe of both storyline and author, I have spent days consumed by the intricacy of the unfolding story, the absorption of one time line into the next the delicate strings that tie everything together suspended over the abated breath of ‘oh my god what is next’

Such a poignant title for such a beautifully crafted novel

Myerson has you captivated at the end of the opening paragraph and bound until the full stop as the last sentence ends. After reading that final sentence I went back re-reading the sinister words of the first chapter visiting it in a whole new light.

Myerson is clearly a gifted writer, she has written a beautiful atmospheric almost gothic piece of art, a tale so harrowing and tragic but so consumed with love and hope.

The writing a continuous flow the settings delicately descriptive allowing the reader to ‘feel’ everything as though a character walking amongst the pages themselves.

Praise for Julie Myerson, I can’t recommend ‘The Stopped Heart’ enough, I will most certainly be reading Myerson’s previous novels and adding this one to my top list of 2016.

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