This novel is an entertaining, charming and realistic portrayal of modern relationships. However, the Dickens-linked murder mystery element is neither as significant as the blurb suggests nor all that necessary. In fact, whilst it is an intriguing idea, and does fit in in the context of Kit’s research, the novel would work without it – it’s certainly not what makes this an engaging read.
What does make this novel so successful and engaging is the touching accuracy with which Gowers paints Kit and her relationship with Joe. The Twisted Heart is very much rooted in reality – there’s no hint of Hollywood – even in the happy ending. The dialogue is spot on and the conversational, jumpy, almost stream-of-consciousness tone is original and refreshing, albeit a little jarring at first. It does take a while to get used to but once you have acclimatised yourself to Kit’s voice, and it feels very much like Kit’s voice, it becomes enjoyable and easy to read.
In saying that, the whole library-loving-loner character that is Kit is rather cliché and not completely believable. While she does interact with others – her flatmate and brother – you never see her with friends. In fact, it seems as though she has no friends at all, not even in the past, except, perhaps, for her flat-mate, with whom she has a begrudging relationship. She seems to share her life between the library and cinema, that is, until Joe comes along and almost drags her out of her isolation and into the pub. Even so, Kit’s aforementioned voice is too strong for the reader to not believe in her as a character, so Gowers managed to get away with it.
Overall, the Twisted Heart is modern, realistic and entertaining. It may be about a relationship but it deals with it in such a sophisticated manner, with such familiar detail that even a romance genre hater, like myself, warmed to it. I suggest you use the link below and get yourself a copy.