Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A Heart Deceived by Michelle Griep
MIRI BRAYDEN teeters on a razor’s edge between placating and enraging her brother, whom she depends upon for support. Yet if his anger is unleashed, so is his madness. Miri must keep his descent into lunacy a secret, or he’ll be committed to an asylum—and she’ll be sent to the poor house.
ETHAN GOODWIN’s been on the run all of his life—from family, from the law...from God. After a heart-changing encounter with the gritty Reverend John Newton, Ethan would like nothing more than to become a man of integrity—an impossible feat for an opium addict charged with murder. When Ethan Goodwin shows up on Miri’s doorstep, her balancing act falls to pieces.
Both Ethan and Miri are caught in a web of lies and deceit—fallacies that land Ethan in prison and Miri in the asylum with her brother. Only the truth will set them free.
It's around the turn of the nineteenth century and Miri Brayden is trying to prevent people from noticing that her brother, Roland, is steadily losing his grip on sanity. He would be committed to a lunatic asylum and she would be homeless. It's getting to be a hard act to keep up, especially since the local vicar has recently disappeared and Roland probably has something to do with it.
Her only unlikely ally seems to be Ethan Goodwin, the hopeless tramp and opium addict who turns up saying he was the best friend of her other brother, Will, now deceased.
This book plunges us into the most squalid parts of this era, and as some of the action takes places behind the doors of Newgate Prison and 'Sheltering Arms' Mental Asylum, that's a lot of in-your-face description. It really makes you shudder to have to consider the question of where sanity may blend into madness, and who has the right to make that decision on behalf of others.
It reminds me of a novel Thomas Hardy might have written, with a hopeful, Christian-based world view. One of the key positive characters is Reverend John Newton, who wrote 'Amazing Grace.'
There's quite a bit of black comedy woven into the story.
I was wondering whether Ethan might have got over his opium addiction too easily. Granted, he had a lot of other things on his mind, but from what I've heard about people going cold turkey, he didn't seem to have too rough a time. However, I'm not complaining at all! With everything else that happened in this story, I was quite happy not to have to wade through that on top.
It's presented as a romance and that's quite true. Romance lovers, you're getting a wonderfully tender and touching story between a man and a woman, but if you're a bit squeamish, I have to warn you, read it if you dare.
I received a copy from Net Galley and David C Cook in return for an honest review.
A Heart Deceived available from Amazon