Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Twisted Heart by Rebecca Gowers

Unless she was positively unwell, Kit liked to rush down this staircase one step at a time as fast as possible, giving her a buzz akin to riffling her thumb through a 900-page paperback.

In a book, she thought, her decision not to go back to the dance club would be the hilarious prelude to her going back to the dance club. But not even in her worst nightmares did she behave like a girl from a hilarious book.

The Twisted Heart
happened to me at a most opportune time; I quite liked this quirky story of Kit, a reclusive English doctoral student at Oxford and her relationship with Joe, a man she meets at a dance club on a night that she decides to do something out of the ordinary.

If I had been reading this last week or maybe next week, certain elements might not have settled well with me--the lack of details about Joe and precisely what's wrong with his brother Humpty, or even Kit's background. This is a story that takes place almost exclusively in the present, and very little about pasts--or futures--is considered.

The dialogue in The Twisted Heart was similar to the dialogue that drove me so batty in The Truth About Love (and caused me to quit it). There was enough narrative to keep the dialogue from causing that level of irritation. I do feel I missed out on quite a bit of the humor because the book is so solidly British; it might have been easier to appreciate what I suspected were funny parts if I'd had this as an audio book.

Still, I enjoyed Kit's funny attempts at protecting her heart and stepping outside her shell. Like the heroines' of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and Special Topics in Calamity Physics, Kit's embrasure of the academic endeared her to me. I expected her obsession with Dickens and Sikes's murder of Nancy in Oliver Twist would spin into something more insightful about her character, but neither hers nor Joe's character developed in leaps in bounds--just in ways subtle enough to keep my interest.

There was plenty of material left undeveloped to make me interested in a sequel, if Gowers were to write one.

Thanks to HarperCollins for sending me this one.

Now I'm being whisked off to a romantic Valentine's Day evening with my amazing husband, and tomorrow I'm leaving for Vancouver to take in some Olympic events.


bermudaonion said...

I love quirky stories, so I bet I'd love this book. The cover is fabulous too!

Happy Valentine's Day and have fun at the Olympics, you lucky duck!

Zibilee said...

This sounds like a really unique and interesting read, and I love the quotes you provided. I am going to add this to my list. Great review! Have a wonderful time with your husband and have a great time at the Olympics!!