Review: Heart by Garrett Leigh
Where did you get this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Release Date: Out Now
“Cornish pastry chef Seb Wright dreads the summer tourist season. The cash injection to his artisan fudge pantry is more than welcome, the extra work, less so. Then one summer, a shadowy Good Samaritan catches his eye. Irish Traveller Dex is bewitching, a beautiful sullen enigma who turns Seb’s world upside down until he disappears in the night, vanishing like a mystical summer rain.
Twelve months later Dex is in the midst of a dark storm. A slave to his master, ‘Uncle’ Braden, he spends his days cleaning caravans and his nights working in Braden’s other businesses. His short summer with Seb seems a lifetime ago. Lost in the savage violence of the murky underworld, he doesn’t dare dream he’ll ever find his way back, until one night, a brutal crime opens the door for a chance escape. A new life beckons, old faces emerge, and immersed in the heady vibe of London’s East End, new love begins to heal his fractured heart.”
This book started out as a short story called “Gypsy Rain”. That short is incorporated into the beginning as a flashback and that ended up being a good thing and bad thing because the short is the only issue I have with this read. Bad because I found the characterization of Dex there jarred with that of the Dex in the main body of the read. He seemed much harder with the words describing him caustic, insolent and sullen only emphasizing that. Good because I did really enjoy that the story was bookended with Seb’s POV. I felt the majority of it needed to be in Dex’s but I was happy to have it grounded from another perspective as well.
Despite my issue with Dex’s initial characterization I found the rest of this story near to a perfect read for me. For all I know Dex’s outer shell was harder than his inner voice so I went with that as I read about his life and struggles to make things better for himself. What a brutal upbringing. The strength of character that anyone would have to possess to come out that not completely fucked up is beyond my comprehension. I was so glad when he was able to escape and try to rebuild.
I don’t really want to give too much away because this was for me an incredibly emotional read with every reveal. The journey with Dex as he feels out his new situation and adapts as he always had was really a joy to read and so incredibly heart breaking. Seb both giving him that space but crowding him into new experiences I loved as well. There is a lot of horror that happens to Dex but that’s not what the story is about. It’s about
moving beyond circumstances and finding out what makes you happy and seizing that. This was gorgeous and ugly and I was so very glad to have read it. Recommended but know here be monsters.
I’m giving Heart an A+