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Anatomy of a Darkened Heart (Dark Victoriana Collection #1)

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4.68  ·  Rating details ·  41 ratings  ·  27 reviews
"Historical fiction with a wicked psychological edge." —JD Estrada, author of The Human Cycle series

"Psychologically compelling and full of depth, intelligent, beautifully written..." —Jason Greensides, author of The Distant Sound of Violence

The only way to survive the Whitestone family is to escape them.

Abigail Whitestone is the eldest of the three Whitestone children—and
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Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published September 18th 2015 by Proof Positive Publishing
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Jason Greensides
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
VIVID, COMPELLING AND BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN

There is an overpowering feel of gloom and claustrophobia in the Whitestone household the moment Abigail is born. Mother and daughter don’t connect. Perhaps it’s those tired, weary eyes that stare back at Elizabeth with a blank expression of all-knowing, or the clock stopping at the moment of Abigail’s birth, or it could simply be disappointment the child is not female. Something about this ominous child nevertheless distances Elizabeth from Abigail at th
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J.D. Estrada
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If I were to describe this work in three words, I would use the following: Elegant, Exquisite, and Dark.

As such this is among the finest books I've read in a long time. Please note how I didn't say independently published books. I said books. No distinction necessary. I had been very curious about this book for a long time and when I read the first four pages, I was surprised to see my expectations not only surpassed, but shattered.

This is not a light read. This is not a joyous journey of wonder
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Amarinske
man oh man, this was some journey.

I loved the way all the perspectives were written and how much we got for the fact this book is just over 200 pages.

It's dark, and eerie. It's masterfully crafted to the detail. All the insights in the family and a stunning portrayal of what mentally abusive relationships in the family can do to you, because this was like a partial dive into painful things of my childhood. But it was moor, so much moor.

It's shows what emotional trauma can do to you in 4 (or 5) d
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Markie
Apr 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An excellent tale of intrigue with wonderfully developed characters, even those you loved to hate! Abigail has a terrible childhood, so you could empathize with her, but in the end, there were other characters to tug at your heartstrings, too.
Jessa Forest
Oct 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Abigail has clawed her way to the top of my favorites list of female characters because she is so tormented and hopeful and vicious. Love her!
Steve Griffin
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very well-written tale of a Victorian family driven to the edge. The author has a meticulous attention to detail and creates highly memorable scenes and characters. Recommended for all Gothic story lovers!
Sorcha O'Dowd
OK, I should not have read this before going to bed. No way I can sleep now! A Brilliant novel. Review to follow.

edit.

Warning: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP!

Wow! ‘Anatomy of a Darkened Heart’ had all my favourite things; Psychology, Darkness and the Victorian Times, and boy was this dark! But not in the way you’d expect. This is sheer awesome psychological darkness that makes you shiver, because it makes you think about whether this could happen to you!

Bringing together some of th
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A.I. Winters
Jan 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In a word…Wow! I didn’t know what to expect when I started to read this book because I had never been a big fan of Victorian-era books before. I always suspected that they were boring and dry, but after having read Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, I can tell you the myth is bunk.

I was absolutely and totally addicted to this book from the very first sentence to the last. Whenever I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it and dying to know what was going to happen. I especially enjoyed the differe
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Marco Marek
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
In this story a with a dark psycologic theme, Elizabeth married Richard but soon she regrets for the choice she have done, he is not the husband she have thought. They live in 19th century, Victorian era. At first i supported Elizabeth but when she gave birth of her first child she changed and her behaviour went worse, especially against her daughter Abigail. Reading i convinced that was Richard the one who could complain more about this unlucky marriage.The conflict between mother and daughter ...more
Michael Stern
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Anatomy of a Darkened Heart by Christie Stratos grabbed me from the start and pulled me onward to the finish. A depiction of a Victorian family, complete with the social, moral and religious constraints of the times, the story revolves around Abigail Whitestone, the first-born child whose relationship with her parents drives the story forward. Well developed characters grow and surprise as you move to a point where putting the book down is no longer a consideration. For me, a dark story that I w ...more
William Lloyd
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This Dark Psychological Victorian brought many emotions in the sense that the characters are relatable. The rejection of a child and a father that can't even stand the thought of his wife's decisions makes the book a page turner. What happens next? You'll have to discover this roller coaster ride of emotions for yourself. ...more
Sunshine Somerville
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This felt like a book I would've had to read in an English Literature class in college - and I mean that in a good way. Everything about the writing and the story felt legitimately true to the period, like this was an old, classic book I'd somehow missed all these years.

The writing is phenomenal. It's not a long book, and the author makes every word count. Her descriptions are perfectly refined to give the reader exactly the amount of detail you need. The plot certainly isn't action-packed (tha
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CJ
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wonderfully written, this is an incredibly crafted tale from the Victorian era. A page turner, I read this book in just two days. It was a gripping, suspenseful and spine-tingling story of a disconnect between mother and daughter. The psychological twists and turns into a family’s dysfunctional life was fascinating and so interesting to read. Highly recommended.
Ashleigh Ozols
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5/5.0 Stars

Warning: some minor spoilers ahead


I went into this book not knowing anything about it except that it was set in the Victorian Era.

To say I was pleasantly surprised was an understatement! I had this book recommended to me by the author herself on a YouTube comment thread and it exceeded my expectations!

Firstly I love the mystery surrounding the Whitestone family. Elizabeth is batshit crazy almost right from the beginning, Abigail you sort of feel sorry for until about the time Mother
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Rocky Rochford
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing

There are some books that you can read and you will enjoy. There are others you will flat-out hate, Anatomy of a Darkened Heart is neither of those things. It is a book that will draw you into its Victorian-era world and it will hold you there. With all of the image and mannerisms of the old days perfectly captured, Mr. Stratos did a terrific job of building the world of Heart, “honouring the past” and making sure the relationships between the characters and their emotions were as real as those
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A.L. Sayge
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was so impressed with this book, I’d never have known it was a debut novel. Christie Stratos’ writing is seasoned and refined, and she kept making me gasp with surprise, which isn’t easy to do. I love the symbolism throughout the book (in both objects and names – talk about attention to detail!), it adds so much to the story and gives it wonderful texture. The author clearly did a lot of research to get her facts right about many different aspects of the Victorian era, right down to details, w ...more
Chrissy Moon
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are endless aspects of this book to be enjoyed; to truly understand it, I had to read the first half again.

This is an extremely complex and moving story, cleverly disguised as a simple, emotionless tale. Plainly told through appropriate language of the 19th century, it is an enigma in itself.

I believe a prevalent theme of this book is nature vs. nurture; mind over matter. However, there is so much more one should pay close attention to while reading this, and it definitely should not be r
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David Kelly
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this several months ago and the memory of it has stayed with me, even though I'm late adding my review.
This book is not for the faint-hearted. The author labels this as part of a "Dark Victoriana" collection and dark is definitely the right word. The book is unrelenting - delivering an ominous and claustrophobic feel that never lets up from beginning to end. I'm sure that this will make some people uncomfortable, but the book really is a bleak masterpiece exploring the cracks that hide be
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Jeremy Croston
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In a wonderfully twisted way, the dark imagery from this book comes to life like no other. The setting is in the 1900's, during the Victorian era. It's obvious the author has a love for the time period as it shows in her writing. She did a masterful job of creating an atmosphere that was just as chilling as the plot of the book itself.

From the first page when the mother shows disdain for her first child through all the twists and turns that ramp up the psychological nature of the story, this sto
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Michael Elliott
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dark Dickensian and deeply disturbing

The books first scene,showing a mother giving birth and rejecting her new born daughter, sets up this powerful and dark Victorian novel. Christie Stratos has perfectly captured a snapshot of Victorian society and its working. The story mainly takes place in the Whitestone house and there is an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia and pervading dread throughout the entire novel. Immensely readable and enjoyable, in fact I couldn't put it down. If you want an i
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Jin
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is dark. When I say dark I mean, amazingly scary. There were times when I thought I was reading a psychopaths letters to a newspaper. I am not saying, and I am not revealing that is the book because it is not. This work just gives off that eerie feeling that makes you want to put it down but curiosity keeps you reading.
I loved it. If I had to categorize this work I would say that it is a much darker version of Alcotts work. But then again I have only read it once. I have added it to my rea
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Soccergypsy
** Author provided a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. **

I liked this story. It wasn't as oppressively dark as I had originally anticipated but it was certainly psychologically heavy. {I did "trip up" over the flash-forward diary pages (there were two) but they could have easily have just been typographical errors in the dates.} The story flowed nicely and I could not put it down. Additionally, I'm invested enough in the characters to see what, if anything, happens next.
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Heavenlypeachgarden
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very well written gothic tale with a chilling atmosphere, brings in the Victorian imagery with flair, the black and white wallpaper throughout the story is a nice touch because it adds a sense of touch and stark realism. Very well done x
Grady
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
‘This was a child whose father didn’t want t see her and a mother who was afraid of her’

Author Christie Stratos earned her degree in English Literature and has published poetry and short stories in important anthologies. ANATOMY OF A DARKENED HEART is her debut novel – the first installment in a promised series – The Dark Victoriana Collection.

Establishing a solid family of characters that will serve as the nidus for an ongoing collection of stories is a challenge, and placing that family (and
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Anais Chartschenko
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy s**t. Can one start a review that way? I feel I must, because that is the expression that exploded out of me repeatedly as I devoured this book. Each section built on the last leading to the stunning conclusion.
Dark. Chilling. The sensations warred like the wallpaper which highlighted the trapped condition of the family- trapped by society and worse- by each other.

Michael Dellert
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A unique world of Gothic Victorian manners

A dark, eerie, and suspenseful tale of madness, cruelty, and family, set in a richly textured Victorian milieu. An insightful journey through a tortured life. Ms. Stratos has crafted a unique world of Gothic Victorian manners that will leave the reader guessing to the very end.
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Historical suspense author, Victorian-era newspaper scourer, voracious reader of all genres, runs on coffee and chocolate.
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Christie Stratos is an award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. She is the author of the psychological suspense novels Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Brotherhood of Secrets, the first two books in the Dark Victoriana Collection.



Also a poet and short
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