First: I love the cover of BLEEDING HEART SQUARE (2009) by Andrew Taylor. It made me pick that book out of a huge amount of books which were all more of the "chick lit" type at the book store.. Well.. I think this book was a bit lost there - between all those single moms and single career girls with a talent for cupcakes and embarassing moments.. (Nothing bad in that though..)
You might agree with me that this is no book one would expect there since Andrew Taylor has received several awards for mystery and historical novels - including the 2009 Catier Diamond Dagger which is given by the Crime Writer's Association of Great Britain to "authors who have made an outstanding lifetime's contribution to the genre"..
Saying that I have to add: I have never read anything by Andrew Taylor before - but I will again. (Of that I am sure.) Let me tell you a bit about the novel, too:
London, 1934: Legend has it that the Bleeding Heart Square came to its name because once the devil danced (and maybe a bit more than that) with a lady and the next morning there was nothing left of her besides her heart at this place..
Well.. nevertheless when Lydia Langstone leaves her abusive husband Marcus she decides to move in at her father's home since she is sure (and will be right about that..) that her aristocratic mother does not approve of her daughter leaving her spouse ("Men have their needs" - haven't they?..) Lydia's father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis, is - though he is a kind man - more interested into booze than into his daughter and much money isn't around either - hence he lives in a shabby little flat at (you might have guessed it..) Bleeding Heart Square. So while Lydia has to deal with her financial worries and a jealous husband who also starts to take some interest in the English Fascist Movement, the dodgy landlord (and neighbour) Serridge frequently receives little parcels - which contain nothing but bleeding hearts..
Then a new neighbour moves in: Rory Wentwood - a young journalist who just returned from India after five years and is engaged to Fenella Kensley. Maybe no coincidence that Fenella's aunt once owned the house at Bleeding Heart Square until she mysteriously disappeared four years ago and was never heard from again since..
|~ another (and also nice) cover for BLEEDING HEART SQUARE ~|
I enjoyed this book very much. In the beginning I had a little trouble to follow who is who amongst all those people - but I got into it very quickly. It has not one but actually four leading characters - which could give the reader the feeling of being a little ahead of some of the characaters at some points. There was a little twist in the end - which I really loved..
|~ The German cover of the 2011 edition looks a lot like the English one..|
The German title means: The death heart ~
Andrew Taylor uses some good old clichées here - but it's ok with me. There were about two situations which made me go like "eewww..": I have a little problem when in a book someones eyes are involved in a brawl and when very, very young girls are victims of sexual harassment - well.. okay I hate sexual harassment no matter what age the involved persons are..
|~ The French version with a title meaning: The devil dances at Bleeding Heart Square ~|
The scenes of Lydia's new daily life I did enjoy very much. I loved that she read Virginia Woolf's A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN (1928) and esp. one scene in which her co-worker was talking about her prefering Robert Donat's smile in THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (1934) to Leslie Howard's in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) made my day.
|~ Robert Donat in THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO (1934) ~|
|~ Leslie Howard in THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (1934) ~|
I for one would always prefer Leslie Howard - no matter in which film.. So I might be biased here..
Sex-appeal: There are a few scenes containing sex. Not very detailed - and at some points you'll have to read "between the lines" to get what you "just saw".. Those scenes are important for the story and not used for some "extra excitement"..
Potential for Conflicts: Well.. Sexual harassment of an underaged girl, seduction (no violence!) of young teenage girls, punch-ups which at one point lead to one eye missing (*eww..*) - though the "incidents" are described not too detailed, the tone of the book is very calm and in the whole really a nice read - if you have major problems with that: better think twice. I am not a tough reader and I enjoyed this book but what you can take you have to decide for yourself - as always..
Thank you very much for reading!