The Metal Heart

The Metal Heart : The beautiful and atmospheric story of freedom and love that will grip your heart

3.8 (768 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Description

Wild, beautiful and spellbinding, this is the compelling wartime story of freedom and love on the windswept islands of Orkney

'Powerful . . . Lea writes beautifully of island life and love, and the sacrifices that both demand' THE TIMES

'Deeply evocative of Orkney and its wild beauty. A stunning tale of sisters, salvation and sacrifice' Emma Stonex

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, freedom and the essence of what makes us human during the darkest of times.
___________

'Confirms Lea as a highly original and inventive writer' Sunday Times

'A tense, passionate and deeply atmospheric novel . . . Caroline's beautiful transported me entirely to another time and land' Susan Fletcher

'A beautiful, heart-breaking tale of grief, love and the bond between sisters' Louise Hare

'Myth, legend, fear and superstition all play a part in this intensely atmospheric novel' Choice Magazine

'Atmospheric, heart-wrenching, evocative' Gytha Lodge

Praise for Caroline Lea:

'Enthralling' Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars and The Foundling

'Fantastic' The Times

'Memorable and compelling' Sarah Moss, author of The Times Book of the Year Ghost Wall

'Intensely written and atmospheric' Daily Mail

'Gripped me in a cold fist. Beautiful' Sara Collins, author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton

'Brilliant' Daily Express
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Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 36mm | 514g
  • Michael Joseph Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241423309
  • 9780241423301
  • 598,895

Review Text

The remoteness of the Orkney islands intensifies the hopes and fears of war. The Metal Heart is a story of passion and separation in which the isolation of twin sisters within a tight-knit community threatens tragedy. A deeply atmospheric novel of hope and redemption.
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Review quote

A tense, passionate and deeply atmospheric novel about a community in wartime - and two defiant hearts. Orkney was so perfectly realised, too, that I almost felt windblown. I loved it all the more so for having read it during lockdown: Caroline's beautiful transported me entirely to another time and land -- Susan Fletcher A powerful Second World War love story. As tensions grow between the Italian PoWs and the Orkney men, the scene is set for a dramatic reckoning. Lea writes beautifully of island life and love, and the sacrifices that both demand * The Times * Atmospheric, heart-wrenching, evocative - this is a gorgeously written story about the scars we carry with us, and how they can be overcome -- Gytha Lodge Uses the true story of the building of the chapel on Orkney by Italian prisoners during the Second World War to fashion a fast-moving and very touching story of sisterly devotion and passionate love -- Adele Geras A stunning novel . . . impeccably researched, gorgeously written, and deeply evocative of Orkney and its wild beauty. I loved this tale of sisters, salvation and sacrifice from the first page -- Emma Stonex, bestselling author of The Lamplighters Confirms Lea as a highly original and inventive writer * Sunday Times * A story of innocents caught up in the machinery of war. Exquisitely researched, beautifully told, this tiny corner of Scotland came alive -- Mary Beth Keane Myth, legend, fear and superstition all play a part in this intensely atmospheric novel * Choice Magazine * A beautiful, heart-breaking tale of grief, love and the bond between sisters. I read it in a day, desperate to know what would happen -- Louise Hare Lea deftly taps into an age-old theme: suspicion and mistrust of outsiders. Woven throughout The Metal Heart is the potent reminder that there are always innocents caught up in the cruel, unforgiving machinery of war * Herald * A stunning World War Two novel, unlike any other * Sun * The remoteness of the Orkney islands intensifies the hopes and fears of war. The Metal Heart is a story of passion and separation in which the isolation of twin sisters within a tight-knit community threatens tragedy. A deeply atmospheric novel of hope and redemption. -- Isabelle Grey Draws you into a wild landscape through an exquisitely told love story -- Elodie Harper Superbly plotted . . . a story that comes together convincingly, complete with a wonderful double-twist in its final pages * The Orcadian * Uses the true story of the building of the chapel on Orkney to fashion a touching story of sisterly devotion and passionate love -- Hope Adams, author of Dangerous Women A mesmerising and atmospheric read * Culturefly * Praise for THE GLASS WOMAN * - * A fantastic, atmospheric debut * The Times * Memorable and compelling. A novel about what haunts us - and what should An enthralling tale -- Stacey Halls, bestselling author of The Familiars Intensely written and atmospheric, with an unusual setting, this is a stark evocation of a community where fear of the outsider is rife and unsettling * Daily Mail * A perfect, gripping winter read. I loved it Utterly unputdownable. Rich in superstition and mystery, it pulled me in. An incredible novel A chilling tale * Good Housekeeping *
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About Caroline Lea

Caroline Lea grew up on the island of Jersey and gained a First from Warwick University. Her fiction and poetry have been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Her debut novel, The Glass Woman, a gothic thriller set during the Icelandic witch trials, was shortlisted for the HWA Debut Crown Award. Her next novel, The Metal Heart, was a powerful Second World War love story set on the island of Orkney.
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Rating details

768 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 26% (197)
4 39% (298)
3 28% (212)
2 6% (48)
1 2% (13)
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