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Bleeding Heart Square

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  918 Ratings  ·  176 Reviews
If Philippa Penhow hadn't gone to Bleeding Heart Square on that January day, you and perhaps everyone else might have lived happily ever after . . . It's 1934, and the decaying London cul-de-sac of Bleeding Heart Square is an unlikely place of refuge for aristocratic Lydia Langstone. But as she flees her abusive marriage, there is only one person she can turn to--the gente ...more
Hardcover, 432 pages
Published May 1st 2008 by Hachette Books
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Jul 03, 2016 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adore Andrew Taylor books. I needed something intelligent to devour after a string of disappointing reads, so I reverted to one of my favourite authors.

This is not his best work, in comparison to everything I had read by him. It is, however, atmospheric and is set in the 1930s which was a troubled time, of course.

Lydia is married to the horrendous Marcus and after an altercation goes to live with her estranged father in Bleeding Heart Square, which is a shared house of apartments with some v
I've just finished this book and I'm not sure what to put. It is by my favourite author and reading one of his books makes me feel instantly happy and at home as this one did. I really did enjoy this book and as usual it was very well written.

However the ending didn't really have me racing to finish it and I thought the actual mystery element of the story was fairly weak and slow. However, this does not detract from what makes this a good book.

It is set on a back drop of the confused political a
Aug 17, 2011 Pkc181 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guess I should start off with the fact I’m not someone who normally reads mystery novels (though I do enjoy them; I just don’t read tons of them) but I was intrigued by this particular book because it was set in the tumultuous period between WW1 and WW2 in Britain; a time period and locale I’m especially fond of. So, I had no real expectations, I just hoped the story wouldn’t turn out to be too simplistic or the characters too broad, flat, etc.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised. The story is
Sheila Beaumont
Andrew Taylor is a British mystery author who should be better known in the United States. This complex story is set mostly in 1934 London, with flashbacks to 1930 via a diary kept by Philippa Penhow, a pathetically gullible, financially well-off older woman who is courted by Joseph Serridge, a middle-aged scoundrel known to some as "the devil" who convinces her that he is truly in love with her.

The cast of characters is colorful and Dickensian. It includes Lydia Langstone, a young woman who has
Ant Harrison
Sep 13, 2012 Ant Harrison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010, favourites
One of the best books I've ever read. I can't even recognise the critique offered by a number of other reviewers, let alone agree with them. The setting, place, time and characterisation were all spot-on, and I couldn't stop reading. Typical of Taylor's style, he writes with an almost detached air, slightly disconnected which seems to increase the narrative drive. I really didn't want this book to end. If you haven't done so already, then start reading this today.
Koplowitz 2010
Oct 01, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"don't go of a night into Bleeding Heart Square. It's a dark, little, dirty, black, ill-looking yard, With queer people about." and so begins Bleeding Heart Square.
It's about trust and betrayal between mother and daughter, daughter and father and husband and wife. It is also a brilliant extension of the Ingoldsby Legends, taking them from the mid-1800s to the time between the wars in England. If you have not heard of the Ingoldsby Legends, it would be a good thing to learn a little about them
Pat Gerber-Relf
Jan 24, 2016 Pat Gerber-Relf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. It takes part in Holborn, London, an area which I though I knew perfectly, but there are some things that I did not discover. After finishing the book I checked on Bleeding Heart Square and discovered that it really exists, complete with its secret entrance. The plot in the book was well constructed, the time when the fascists had begun to show their ungly heads, The people living in house No. 7 on the square were a mixed bunch, and most of them had their secrets. The ending o ...more
Sep 30, 2015 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mlle Alice, pouvez-vous nous raconter votre rencontre avec Le Diable Danse à Bleeding Heart Square?
"C'est Lou qui m'a envoyé ce livre lors de notre mini swap British et mon thème était Londres, ses crimes et ses secrets. J'avais pas mal entendu parler de celui-ci et il n'est pas resté longtemps dans ma PAL."

Dites-nous en un peu plus sur son histoire...
"Lydia Langstone a un mari, une belle maison et une place dans la bonne société mais elle va tout quitter pour aller vivre à Bleeding Heart Squa
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: The book sounded perfect for me: a British historical mystery set in the thirties which the blurbs assured me was "beautifully crafted".

I have found myself a new favourite author! After reading this book, I want to get my hands on anything else by this man. This is a clever book, very intelligently crafted and written with a literary flair. His combination of mystery and history is absolutely superb.

There is so much story here and a mystery that morphs itself in so many direc
Lourdes Venard
Dec 06, 2009 Lourdes Venard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lydia Langstone is an upper-class woman used to the finer things. But when her husband strikes her, she leaves her comfortable life to share a gritty apartment with her estranged father in the somewhat seedy Bleeding Heart Square. Rory Wentwood, a journalist who has spent years in India and is now unemployed, also finds himself renting an apartment there. The legend of the square has it that the devil, disguised during a party, danced away with a lady, leaving her body on the square, her bleedin ...more
Mar 07, 2011 Emily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Set in London in the 1930's, "Bleeding Heart Square" tells the story of Lydia Langstone, a wealthy woman who leaves her abusive husband and goes to live with her father in a less-than-ideal part of London. While settling into her new life and trying to establish her identity, Lydia finds herself mixed up in an investigation of a missing woman who has ties to a number of people around her in her new home, Bleeding Heart Square. She and a fellow tenant, Rory Wentworth, work together to determine w ...more
Kirsty Darbyshire

I've looked back through my notes on every book of Andrew Taylor's that I've read over the last five years and I've pretty much liked them all and really loved several of them. Which makes me feel not too guilty, when you look at the overall picture, about saying that this was a bit of an "eh?" book for me.

There were lots of little things I liked but the overall story didn't especially engage me: I liked the main female character Libby and the insights into 1930s living, divorce and the rise of

Kristina Svensson
While searching for something to read in a friends place I found Det blödande hjärtat with the short review “worth reading” penciled on the first page. My friend and I share the same taste in books so her words convinced me to give it a go and I am glad I did. I am not sure I liked it, it is definitely not a book I will return to like an old friend. But I think the book was very clever constructed. It could (should) be studied by anyone attempting to write mystery novel. The clues and twists in ...more
Dec 18, 2014 Rich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 2014
Bleeding Heart Square is wonderful. Cast aside your preconceived notions of a typical "British Mystery" because this is so much more than that. Not just a mystery (my favorite genre), not just historical fiction (my second favorite genre), and not just British (another of my favorites), but a complex, deeply intricate combination of the three.

After 100 pages or so to begin the book, I was wondering what exactly it was that I was reading, but right about then it all started to come together. The
Sep 17, 2008 Sharon4 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One or two of the characters are a little flat and two-dimensional, but Andrew Taylor has a flair for atmosphere and setting a scene. 1930s London could be a grim, cold, frightening place and he evokes that beautifully. He also knows how to create suspense; the interweaving of the present, with the past through the diaries of a love-struck, increasingly terrified woman keeps the reader turning the pages to find out how it all ends.
Jul 09, 2012 Cathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I like Andrew Taylor's uncluttered prose and the way he subtly builds an underlying sense of menace, which he does so well in this novel. It's a period piece, steeped in vivid detail and a sense of 1930s decay. You can almost smell the damp and imagine the faded wallpaper and dark, draughty hallways. I found the central mystery and the final twist disturbing and compelling.
I loved Andrew Taylor's 'An Unpardonable Crime' (aka 'The American Boy') and I did enjoy his 'The Anatomy of Ghosts'. Unfortunately one hundred pages into this one and I still didn't find a character to care about or a mystery that held my attention. That being said I'm looking forward to reading his most recent novel, 'The Scent of Death'.
Apr 12, 2010 Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I enjoyed this mystery so much! I'm not sure where I first saw it, but I found a note to myself about it and gave it a try. What a spooky, atmospheric and compelling read. Fascists, Communists, class conflict, a mysterious disappearance -- and a twisty plot too! I'll be looking for more by this author.
May 03, 2014 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-historical
FWFTB: run-away-wife, unemployed, journalist, London, 1934. Although I have shelved this as crime-historical, it really is a bit of a mixture with a sweet little romance thrown into boot. The perp was so evident through the whole of the book that I knew that this was a plot device. And I was right! But, so well done that I didn't get bored or tempted to read the end of the book. The writing is stylish and evocative with realistic dialogue. The characters were well-drawn - even those with the bri ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Judith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Punctuated by snippets from Miss Penhow's diary, Bleeding Heart Square is primarily a story of revenge. The story is darkly bizarre and a bit gory, to be sure, but it's well-put-together and left me wanting more. Taylor does a wonderful job with description, too: one really feel as though one is witnessing a Fascist rally or smelling the hearts in the front hall. Rather stomach-turning, yes, but apart from a bit at the end which didn't sit right with me, this is ultimately a satisfying, gripping ...more
Apr 12, 2010 Eva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great for long, dark, cold rainy winter nights by the fire...
Aug 10, 2011 Bev rated it liked it
Nicely done period piece with an interesting twist at the end.
Wendy Percival
May 26, 2016 Wendy Percival rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book had everything I like in a mystery. An intriguing premise, an intricate family history, likeable characters at its heart and a great sense of place.

We mainly follow Lydia as she defies 1930s convention and walks out on her abusive husband. Finding herself in a world outside the comfort of wealth and privelidge, we admire her determination to survive her ordeal and to define her own route in life.

But this isn't merely a story of a woman asserting her independence. It's a dark tale of sh
Mar 22, 2014 Coleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this started out a bit slow, it hooked me somewhere near the middle & then I picked up the reading pace quite a bit so that I could finish & find out "whodunnit". I do enjoy mysteries, although I don't necessarily read a lot of them. Not only was this a good story, but it was well-written also. The format was somewhat original, with each chapter beginning with a portion of a diary written by Philippa Penhow, who mysteriously disappeared several years previous. Each entry is preced ...more
Jul 02, 2012 Scilla rated it really liked it
This book is about two women living in London in the 1930's whose stories begin to overlap. The first, is Miss Penhow, a middle-aged spinster with property, who is wooed by an unscrupulous man, Joseph Serridge. Her story is told mostly via her diary. The second story which is interspersed with the first is about Lydia Langstone, who has left her husband after he hit her and moved to Number 7 Bleeding Heart Square to stay with her drunkard father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis. The house used to be owned ...more
Janette Fleming
Jul 04, 2011 Janette Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books
Andrew Taylor’s literary mystery is set in London in the early 1930's, in that uneasy period between the Great Wars.

Aristocrat Lydia Langstone leaves her violent husband and having no one else to turn to moves in with her ne'er-do-well drunken Father, Captain Ingleby-Lewis.

Their scruffy, lodging house at 7 Bleeding Heart Square used to be owned by a rich spinster Miss Phillipa Penhow but she has, apparently, gone to America after signing over the house to Joseph Serridge, a mysterious, menacing
Paul Pessolano
Jan 30, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel could very well have been classified as fiction/literature.

"Bleeding Heart Square" takes place in the early 1900's in London. Lydia Langstone is married to Marcus and has a very affluent lifestyle. However, the lifestyle cannot compensate for the infidelity and abuse of Marcus. Lydia leaves her comfortable home and moves in with her father at "Bleeding Heart Square".

It is while living with her father that Lydia starts to find out things about herself and the people she has come in co
Ty Partridge
Apr 15, 2012 Ty Partridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had read another book by Andrew Taylor, The Anatomy of Ghosts, and realy enjoyed it. In fact, I emailed Rebecca Eaton, because it would be a perfect Masterpiece Mystery adaptation. So, I was anxious to read more of his work. This book was set in 1930's London and captured the era perfectly. From the very beginning, there was a disturbing portrayal of abusive men and shallow socialite women that you hoped would all meet tragic ends .. ... soon. However; the protagonist, Lydia Langstone, quickly ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Cate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books, london
Fantastic book. Not sure how I got onto this author: it may have been a Good Reads recommendation, but I would certainly read his other books. This is set in 1934 in Bleeding Heart Square, London where legend has it the devil danced once danced. Decaying and full of damaged, down & outers all seemingly under the thrall of the landlord, Mr Serridge. The initial question is what happened to Ms Penhow, the former owner of the house where Serridge runs his lodging house and why rotting hearts ke ...more
I was set to receive Bleeding Heart Square as a pre-read ARC in February 2009, but it never arrived until almost a year later when a delivery issue was sorted out. I remember being disappointed because I thought it sounded like a good read. I can definitely say now that I would have missed out on a fantastic book if I had never had the chance to read it. This was one book that was definitely worth the wait.

Set in the 1930’s, Bleeding Heart Square has the feel of a classic gothic mystery, with al
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Andrew Taylor (b. 1951) is a British author of mysteries. Born in East Anglia, he attended university at Cambridge before getting an MA in library sciences from University College London. His first novel, Caroline Miniscule (1982), a modern-day treasure hunt starring history student William Dougal, began an eight-book series and won Taylor wide critical acclaim. He has written several other thrill ...more
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