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Book giveaway: The Stopped Heart by Julie Myerson

(43 Posts)
UrsulaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Feb-16 16:05:07

During a ferocious storm, a red-haired stranger appears in the garden of a small farm cottage. Eliza and her parents take him in. But very soon, it's clear he has no intention of leaving.

Julie Myerson's new novel is a devastating depiction of profound loss, sexual longing, love and true evil,and has been called the finest novel to date from this most fearless and original of writers.

Vintage have asked us to find 50 Mumsnetters to read The Stopped Heart and tell us what they think about it on this discussion thread. Go to the giveaway page to find out more and apply for a free copy.

You don't have to win a free copy to take part in the discussion. Anyone who has read The Stopped Heart can post their feedback here, and all who post before 14th March will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Love2Shop voucher.

ScarlettDarling Mon 01-Feb-16 21:13:37

Sounds great!

Lariflete Mon 22-Feb-16 11:32:30

Has anyone received their copy yet? I haven't had mine and thought it would be here by now.

VicKWhish Thu 25-Feb-16 16:43:10

Just arrived today! Many thanks. 🙂

FoxInABox Sat 27-Feb-16 11:33:10

Received mine, thank you! Love the cover

ahigney Sat 27-Feb-16 17:45:29

Received the book,a beautiful edition,one to keep.Really interesting premise.Looking forward to read.

Persistentdonor Sun 28-Feb-16 15:49:20

“The Stopped Heart” by Julie Myerson, tells the story of families torn apart by psychopathic murder.

From the opening paragraph where a sunny summer’s day becomes filled with screaming and blood, the reader is caught in a tale spanning 150 years where the spirits of psychic individuals move between the centuries carrying their painful burdens with them.

The author switches continually between rural Victorian England and modern day, but by using the simple trick of mentioning [for example,] “milking time” or “the car keys”, surprisingly, most of the time I did not find it confusing.

Entirely built on pain, sadness and anger, in my opinion this is a dark but strangely compelling novel.

Lariflete Mon 29-Feb-16 14:25:43

Thank you, I received mine on Friday. I started reading it on Saturday morning and finished it last night. It was very addictive.
The book had a double layered plot that literally overlaps each other. It was a strange mixture of grooming and abuse, ESP and murder that is mirrored between two families 150 years apart.
It was very difficult to read, as I think the themes are pretty much any parents worst nightmares.
I couldn't warm to the modern protagonist Mary but I loved Eliza and Lottie. The ending was crushing and also surprising but I really think that the author did a fantastic job.

FoxInABox Mon 29-Feb-16 16:03:44

I started this morning and I'm up to chapter 3 at the moment. I mirror the pp- it is really addictive. I can already see the book is tackling huge issues,with past trauma and depression seemingly being dealt with by the more modern narrator Mary. The house gives her the creeps, and the brilliant narrative and descriptions make me weary of it too! I can already see this would make a fantastic movie or tv drama.

SnapCackleFlop Mon 29-Feb-16 21:08:35

I received the book on Friday evening, started reading on Saturday and finished late Sunday night! (couldn't stop reading it - really felt I wanted to feel some resolution by getting to the end...)

I was shocked at how brutal some parts of the book were. It was beautifully written, often written so well the reader slides into another world without being yanked out by self-conscious prose and overusing particular words (a strange pet hate of mine).

I found the book extremely challenging plot wise (horrifying violence and brutal scenes) yet insightful in subtle ways too.

I found myself preferring Mary though I liked all the characters except maybe Deborah though it's hardly a requirement to like all the characters for a book to be good.

I found it very compelling, strong and shocking. I actually found myself thinking books ought to carry some sort of classification or warning system like films and computer games..... not that any child is likely to read it but there are themes lots of adults could be horrified and distressed by.

It was an excellent book despite all this, or because of it.

SnapCackleFlop Tue 01-Mar-16 16:55:39

I also wanted to say I really liked the cover. It's somewhat migraine inducing in that it's out of focus around the centre focus becomes sharp. I think it's partly supposed to reflect Mary's experience of being able to tune in to certain people and events from other times, she doesn't seem to be able to do it entirely at will ....... I got the impression it was something like the psychic equivalent of magic eye pictures ;)

shaktar Wed 02-Mar-16 10:03:03

I came in here to write an epic review but realised its all been said already..

To summarise: unputdownable, kept me up late at night reading, blurring between past and present incredible skilfully done, kept me interested until the end, beautifully written, 'difficult' subject matter dealt with elegantly, all characters genuinely believable and 3 dimensional, however unsympathetic.

I really enjoyed it, would recommend to others and would read again purely for the intricacies of the story and the way it's written.

SnapCackleFlop Wed 02-Mar-16 10:05:44

As Foxinabox said, it could be an incredible film smile

thriftymrs Thu 03-Mar-16 11:49:07

I've just finished reading my copy. I thought the story echoed part of the heartbreaking true life case of the murder of the two girls in Soham in 2002. Very well written, incredibly creepy right from the very beginning. I found it hard to put down and had to force myself to slow down my reading as I was so keen to get to the ending. As the previous reviewers have noted, the subject matter is horrifying and the descriptions in places are quite brutal. I too loved the characters of Eliza and Lottie and the whole time-crossover theme. The author's description of the utter desolation of the parents who lost their girls is completely believable and included elements I hadn't really considered before. It's a story which will stay with me. The writing is very 'filmic' and I could see this being a very successful feature film, along the lines of The Lovely Bones.

Alidoll Sat 05-Mar-16 15:20:15

Received my copy about a week ago and am about 3/4 of the way through (finding the time between work and an active 6 yrs old) which has made it difficult to follow at times as there's two stories in the one book (and some 150 yrs apart so switches between the two). Will try and finish though as keen to see how it ends. Thanks for the copy!

shelaghh Sat 05-Mar-16 17:28:55

Not a book to read in bed- However once i had started reading, it was difficult to put the book down. I love stories that include the past and present and how time is intertwined and this was one of the best by far.

Bookridden Sat 05-Mar-16 20:06:35

Thank you MN for the book (please note my name change).

Like some of the other posters, I was the book quickly and would agree that it is a page turner. However, I found it so dark & disturbing that I any honestly say I enjoyed it. The subject matter - no spoilers - is the murder of children, so you don't expect a light read, but I found this relentlessly grim. Warning: don't read if you're depressed or anxious, but I can't deny it is a powerful & well told tale.

mrskitten Sun 06-Mar-16 14:12:12

I enjoyed this. It was well written and paced. I must say though that I found it hard to understand why Mary didn't run screaming from Eddie, he was so creepy, manipulative and fawning. Given her recent experiences one would expect her to be more guarded and less trusting. It didn't help that for some reason I visualised him as the character from Tracy Ullman's recent series who runs his app business from a coffee shop! I had expected that strand of the story to have a similarly brutal and gory conclusion than it had, in parallel to they 150 year old strand, and it came as a relief that it didn't, I'm not sure my nerves could've taken much more.

SuzCG Mon 07-Mar-16 10:33:03

I started this book about 10 days ago and my treat for Mothers Day yesterday morning was coffee & biscuits in bed whilst I finished it! It's been quite a dark read - a haunting story. Two strands to it where we meet residents in a village a hundred plus years apart - Eliza in the past and Mary & Graham in the present. The story unfolds and you find how their lives are linked. It contained sadness, tragedy and enough mystery to keep me absorbed. The characters were perfectly described and the language appropriate for each of the different eras. Overall I thought it was cleverly written and would give it a 4.5/5. I haven't read anything from this author before but shall certainly seek something else out. Thank you mumsnet and Vintage/Penguin Random House for the opportunity to read, enjoy and review this book.

FoxInABox Mon 07-Mar-16 17:31:23

Finished now- I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although that feels the wrong phrase given the subject matters are so dark and violent- every parents worst nightmares, as events seem to mirror each other a century apart at a cottage in a small village. A fantastic eerie read.

ahigney Tue 08-Mar-16 09:59:07

Finished today.A great ,fast read,of course it's dark and haunting ,but an enjoyable read.A page turner worth recommendation.

AnyFucker Tue 08-Mar-16 10:08:52

I am a long time fan of Julie Myerson's novels and have read every one.

I find her writing to be gentle (despite the sometimes brutal subject matter), easy to sink into, nuanced superbly and evocative of some of the more difficult human emotions. There is always an almost otherworldly feel to it, without being at all whimsical.

I was so looking forward to reading this latest book and it did not disappoint. The pace was perfect, the protagonists totally believable and the ending just ambiguous enough to keep you guessing but still satisfied. I thoroughly recommend it.

stormhorse45 Tue 08-Mar-16 11:52:44

very good book. well worth reading. one of those that you didnt want to put down. (just read this chapter, which lead to the next one & the one after)


llewejk Tue 08-Mar-16 21:24:43

It has taken me a while to get into the book switching between Victorian and modern day, but now I am in to it I am hooked. Quite a dark read, but I am enjoying it so far and would recommend. Thank you for my book.

mgrass Wed 09-Mar-16 00:36:00

The Stopped Heart
I was fortunate enough to receive this book in the online giveaway. It is my first book by Julie Myerson.

While a psychological thriller, this is a beautiful, haunting and very emotional book to read, with a well thought out plot that deftly entwines two stories, linked by tragedies. While the tragedies themselves are made evident at the beginning, the journey towards these events is far from predictable and I was kept guessing right to the end. This is no light, holiday read. It is an intense, dark novel which is disturbing and sometimes hard to read, though still compelling. The supernatural element is handled superbly – bringing a fascinating component to the story, whilst not overdone to the point of complete fantasy. Tension is maintained from the outset and I found the story incredibly gripping. While not all likeable, the characters are vibrant and memorable. Unfortunately for me, some questions remained at the end of the book. Perhaps this is just personal taste but I don’t like loose ends left at a story’s conclusion. I look forward to reading more from this author. Unputdownable.

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