Rebecca Gowers - The Twisted Heart (3 stars)

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Rebecca Gowers - The Twisted Heart

Kit is a gangly Oxford literature student, immersed in her thesis about the fictionalisation of real-life murders by Victorian authors. To let off steam, she goes to a dance class and meets a mysterious bloke called Joe, embarking on a relationship complicated by many factors, not least his wayward brother Humpty. ‘Will Kit make the leap of faith?’ the blurb ponders, soporifically.

So far, so chick-lit. Yet, Rebecca Gowers is actually a very original author, and unravels this modern romance in cleverly non-linear style. The dialogue is refreshingly free from clichés with her characters having real conversations which flow and then falter, as sentences ramble and trail off, hinting at all kinds of flaws, secrets and uncertainties. Kit’s obsession with Charles Dickens – one murder mystery in particular – reflects a passion of Gowers’. She flaunts her expertise in the field too eagerly, but it adds nice echoes of intrigue to a story that’s real without being mundane.

(Canongate)

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