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.
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About the Author
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Holy s**t. Can one start a review that way? I feel I must, because that is the expression that exploded out of me repeatedly as I devoured this book. Each section built on the last leading to the stunning conclusion. Dark. Chilling. The sensations warred like the wallpaper which highlighted the trapped condition of the family- trapped by society and worse- by each other.
If I were to describe this work in three words, I would use the following: Elegant, Exquisite, and Dark. As such this is among the finest books I've read in a long time. Please note how I didn't say independently published books. I said books. No distinction necessary. I had been very curious about this book for a long time and when I read the first four pages, I was surprised to see my expectations not only surpassed, but shattered. This is not a light read. This is not a joyous journey of wonder. This is a beautifully dark exploration of how small decisions can get away from us and how the condition of being broken can be either inherited or embedded within a family. The story takes us through the many dark crevices within the Whitestone home. How a façade of a marriage ends up setting into motions things that will affect a family for years on end. While many books have characters that are likable, this book does not bother with likableness. Richard Whitestone, Elizabeth Whitestone, Abigail Delilah Whitestone, Emma Whitestone, and even Christopher Whitestone all have attributes that you would not be fond of, and yes, that is an understatement. Likable they are not. Fascinating they are. Unquestionably so. Some may cite inspirations of Poe due to certain aspects like clocks, the wallpaper (which is almost a character unto itself), and other details like that, but throughout, what rings true for me is the author's love for Shakespeare. Interrelationships and how one person responds to the other are the core of this work. The human condition is a complicated maze, and sometimes good intentions (or supposed good intentions) lead to awful decisions, and worse outcomes. The attention to detail in this book must be highlighted. Textures, symbolism, and words. Every word is placed where it has to be placed and sometimes a sentence can make you shiver or gasp. When I heard the name of the Dark Victoriana Collection, I was curious. When I found out the concept of the novels, all set in the same setting although linked in details if not narrative, I was even more curious. Now that I have read the first entry in this collection, curiosity takes the better of me, and unlike some characters in the book, I shall see where it leads me with Miss Stratos's next offering, for which I truly cannot wait, but for now will have to.
In a word…Wow! I didn’t know what to expect when I started to read this book because I had never been a big fan of Victorian-era books before. I always suspected that they were boring and dry, but after having read Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, I can tell you the myth is bunk. I was absolutely and totally addicted to this book from the very first sentence to the last. Whenever I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and dying to know what was going to happen. I especially enjoyed the different perspectives of events told by each of the characters, which allowed for chilling revelations and additional insight into their true personas. Whenever I thought I was starting to figure out where the story was going, it would take an unexpected turn. As the story unfolded, it became darker and even more haunting. Christie’s writing style is fluid and elegant, accentuating this Victorian work of art. I absolutely can't wait to read the next book in this series!
I was so impressed with this book, I’d never have known it was a debut novel. Christie Stratos’ writing is seasoned and refined, and she kept making me gasp with surprise, which isn’t easy to do. I love the symbolism throughout the book (in both objects and names – talk about attention to detail!), it adds so much to the story and gives it wonderful texture. The author clearly did a lot of research to get her facts right about many different aspects of the Victorian era, right down to details, which gives the story a believable quality and brings it to life. Frighteningly so. This isn’t a horror story, it’s not as simple as that – this book is a dark psychological story that asks the probing question of whether people are products of their environment or whether their nature is cast in them from birth. It’s thought-provoking, eerie, and one of the best books I’ve read this year. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more great works from Christie Stratos; she promises that this is the first in her Dark Victoriana Collection – the next four books are in some way related to Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. I cannot wait until they’re released!