Chicken House have a lovely feature on the back of their publications, “This book in three words”. This gives you an indication of what you can expect from the book. It also gives you a page number to try.
In the case of The Pure Heart, it is described as “Atmospheric, Dark and Chilling”. Three wonderful words to describe this haunting tale of a maiden from St Kilda asked to leave her home to become a companion for a wealthy merchant’s daughter. As the only girl in the village who can read and write, it is down to Iseabail to travel away from her home.
Leaving behind all she has ever known, a fiancé and her family, Iseabail bravely faces an unknown journey and future.
The journey to her new home is uneasy and long, and the final destination spooks the horses so that Iseabail has to walk towards the house on her own. The atmosphere in the house is fraught with tension, and the daughter is prone to temper tantrums and illness. Believing she has only one year to spend in this home, Iseabail is forced to put up with the daughter, the merchant’s return home and strange occurrences.
Admittedly, I felt tension throughout reading, unsure what to expect and waiting for a twist or turn in the tale. Of these there were several surprises and they were brilliantly woven in. I am normally quite a scaredy-cat when it comes to a chilling novel but I could not stop reading this.
As I neared the end of the story, and a promise of no spoilers here, I was completely engrossed, shocked and surprised. I didn’t want the book to end.
If I could choose three words or terms to describe this book I might choose, “intense, ingeniously evil, other worldly”.
Add this to your reading piles! I doubt you will be disappointed!