The Unpierced Heart

The Unpierced Heart by Katy Darby

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Other Titles by Katy Darby

First published in trade paperback as The Whores' Asylum, The Unpierced Heart is a thrilling, gothic debut sure to appeal to fans of Sarah Waters' Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet and Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White.

Oxford, 1887: brilliant medical student Stephen Chapman volunteers at a shelter devoted to reforming fallen women, where he meets and falls for Diana, a girl who has broken hearts and inspired deadly duels. His best friend Edward sees her as a dangerous temptress, but Stephen believes she is a wronged woman. What secrets does Diana hold, and what will happen when Stephen strays further into unknown and forbidden territory?

So begins a bloody and lusty tale of ill-lit streets and seedy taverns, of harlots and drunkards, of the highest in the land seeking out the lowest kind of depravity, of desperate murder and scandalous orgies, and of an innocent trapped in a world of passion and sin.

Praise for Katy Darby:

'Darby knows how to write a cracking novel . . . Darkly enjoyable' Metro

'Debut novelist Katy Darby has wrought a truly gothic little gem that could almost have fallen through a wormhole, 125 years ago... Darby manages to retain the flavour of the authors she so obviously admires - Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle - but at the same time establishes her own voice and creates a contemporary narrative . . . a rare achievement' Independent on Sunday

Katy Darby studied English Literature at Somerville College, Oxford, and Creative Writing at U.E.A. where she received the David Higham Award. Her fiction has been read on BBC Radio, and she has published stories in Slice, Mslexia and The London Magazine, as well as winning prizes in several international fiction competitions. She teaches writing at City University, edits the short story magazine Litro ( and co-runs the monthly live fiction event Liars' League ( She lives in London.
Publication Date:
13 / 09 / 2012

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