Sometimes there comes a book cover that is so beautiful that you have no choice but to want it. The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea is that book. I signed up for this lovely tour because the cover drew me in. The story wasn’t one that I tend to read but I wanted to give this one a go because I felt like it was an interesting story to dive in to. Thank you to Michael J Books for letting me be a part of this. I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea
Publisher: Penguin Michael J Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
The sky is clear, star-stamped and silvered by the waxing gibbous moon.
No planes have flown over the islands tonight; no bombs have fallen for over a year.
Orkney, 1940. Five hundred Italian prisoners-of-war arrive to fortify these remote and windswept islands. Resentful islanders are fearful of the enemy in their midst, but not orphaned twin sisters Dorothy and Constance. Already outcasts, they volunteer to nurse all prisoners who are injured or fall sick.
Soon Dorothy befriends Cesare, an artist swept up by the machine of war and almost broken by the horrors he has witnessed. She is entranced by his plan to build an Italian chapel from war scrap and sea debris, and something beautiful begins to blossom.
But Con, scarred from a betrayal in her past, is afraid for her sister; she knows that people are not always what they seem.
Soon, trust frays between the islanders and outsiders, and between the sisters – their hearts torn by rival claims of duty and desire. A storm is coming…
In the tradition of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Metal Heart is a hauntingly rich Second World War love story about courage, brutality, freedom and beauty and the essence of what makes us human during the darkest of times.
This book is far more atmospheric than I had been expecting. The lives of these two women have such beauty and complexity to them. You can feel their struggles and their pain. Living in a world of war, having to seclude yourself for your own safety only to have strangers invade that in the most simplistic yet terrifying ways. It was a wonderfully crafted novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I loved that while they were twins, Dorothy and Constance had such different personalities. They fought and survived their pain in different ways. I think the breath of human emotion can be seen in this novel and while this genre isn’t one I’m known to read or get into, this was a book that was easy to fall into.
There isn’t more to give that doesn’t give away spoilers but read this book, especially if you enjoy this genre. I don’t think you will be disappointed in the least. I certainly wasn’t. Caroline Lea has a gift at bringing you into her world and being a part of the story.
About the Author:
CAROLINE LEA grew up in Jersey and gained a First in English Literature & Creative Writing from Warwick University. From there, Caroline became a teacher of English and drama and was Head of English at a Birmingham boys’ grammar school. She now works and writes from home in Warwick, and is a mother to two young boys.
Caroline’s 2019 novel The Glass Woman was shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown, and is a gothic tale set amidst the Icelandic witch trials, dubbed an ‘Icelandic Jane Eyre’ by The Sunday Times.
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