The Alphabet of Heart's Desire

The Alphabet of Heart's Desire

3.79 (100 ratings by Goodreads)
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A visitor calls with a gift and a message from the past in this literary, historical novel. In 1802 Thomas de Quincey, a young man from a comfortable middle-class background who would go on to become one of the most celebrated writers of his day, collapsed on Oxford Street and was discovered by a teenage prostitute who brought him back to her room and nursed him to health. It was the beginning of a relationship that would introduce Thomas to a world just below the surface of London's polite society, where pleasure was a tradeable commodity and opium could seem the only relief from poverty. Yet it is also a world where love might blossom, and goodness survive. The lives of a street girl, an aspiring writer, and a freed slave cross and re-cross the slums of London in this novel about the birth of passion, the burden of addiction, and the consolations of literature.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 392 pages
  • 127 x 203.2 x 22.86mm | 385.55g
  • United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1910688371
  • 9781910688373
  • 3,577,418

Review quote

The Alphabet of Heart's Desire imagines three utterly different lives, and weaves them through the brutal, vibrant world of early 19th century London to make an atmospheric, shocking and satisfying story.EMMA DARWIN, author of The Mathematics of Love and Alchemy; It is the wit that really draws you in. Despite the grim background and the sometimes horrific detail, the writing is vivid and buoyant, the research and the detail impressive. I was gripped. KATHARINE McMAHON, author of The Rose of Sebastopol, The Woman In The Picture, etc. NETGALLEY REVIEWS: The Alphabet of Heart's Desire is a fantastic piece of historical fiction ... My only complaint is that the book felt a little short, although that could be attributed to the fact that I loved it so much that I couldn't put it down. ;... A great piece of literary historical fiction, The Alphabet of Heart's Desire gives a well researched, believable and compelling portrait of noted literary figure Thomas de Quincey. As a literature organisation, we love reading about the reading and writing heroes of bygone times and, whilst this is indeed a fiction account of his life, it was utterly arresting throughout... A thoroughly recommended read.; ... Why couldn't this book be longer? The Alphabet of Heart's Desire" is a splendid piece of historical fiction... ; ... There is a reason I love historical fiction so much. In this genre one often learns things never known before.; ... For those who love historical fiction, this novel was a treat and gave the reader perspective, fine writing, and ultimately a greater understanding of what life was like if one was a Victorian.; ... This is beautifully written historical fiction with three captivating protagonists and some engaging minor characters. ; ... Keaney is an excellent, imaginative British writer, his descriptions and historic terminology are captivating and witty. I recommend this to all fans of Historical Fiction who enjoy traveling back in time to claim a piece of history for themselves or to learn something new, something buried underneath dust and rubble of time.;... a book that will whisk you away to historic England, with a very meaningful story and characters that will touch your heart. I award this a rare 5 stars.; ...Brian Keaney writes beautifully, the sentences can have you smiling, cringing or gagging in disgust. This was a hell of a novel! ;...This is a fascinating historical novel... It's often an unsettling read but Kearney also brings a warmth to many of his memorable main characters. I heartily recommend it. ;... The Alphabet of Heart's Desire is a beautiful work of Historical Fiction...;...Beautifully written. I liked each character and how the lives of the characters intersected. Loved the description of life in London in the 19th century. ;... What a good read this was....I finished a few days ago and have thought of it several times since. In fact my only disappointment was that I finished it too soon.;...A beautifully tragic story. The Alphabet of Heart's Desire is full of heart-aching losses from the past, lonely presents, & hopeless futures in the most beautiful way possible. ;... What a read!
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About Brian Keaney

Brian Keaney is an award-winning author, best known for his young adult and children's fantasy novels Jacob's Ladder, The Hollow People and The Magical Detectives. For a number of years he was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Goldsmiths College and at the London College Of Fashion and he taught creative writing on the Pembroke College Cambridge summer programme. He has a house in the west of Ireland where he spends as much time as possible. His writing has been translated into twenty languages.
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Rating details

100 ratings
3.79 out of 5 stars
5 20% (20)
4 47% (47)
3 26% (26)
2 6% (6)
1 1% (1)
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