*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A love that transcends Death. A curse that defies Time.
Bold, independent Ivy is a witch. In a time of rampant hysteria against witchcraft, Ivy is an easy target.
After she wins the heart of Thomas, the town’s most eligible bachelor, Ivy’s rivals burn her at the stake.
Her death unleashes a powerful curse, forcing Ivy and Thomas to relive their doomed romance throughout the ages.
But this is no love story…
Heavy Dirty Soul is the century-spanning tale of a love triangle gone very wrong and the persecution of women suspected of witchcraft through the ages.
We get a sneak peek at Ivy’s birth in the prologue, and the ‘England’ chapter tells us of Ivy’s arrival in a small village in 1457, her meeting with Thomas and Rose, and the disaster that ensues. The actions of all three result in Ivy being persecuted by the townspeople as a witch and in her fear and rage she curses them all to feel her pain. She just didn’t count on her beloved Thomas being caught in the crossfire.
The rest of the book follow Thomas as he is reborn again and again: Tommie in Wales in 1574; Tamhas in Scotland in 1658; Tãmas in India in 1763; Tommi in Germany in 1829; Tamsin in America in 1941; Tamati in Underwater City in 2097. Finally we return to Ivy in the epilogue; as in the beginning, so it is in the end. This looping round and round, forced to experience the events of the curse as history repeats itself over and over, is the main theme of the story. I was constantly reminded of the ouroboros motif as each age swallowed the characters whole.
Another central theme is the role of women. We see them used by the male characters as chattels, disposable property, temptresses, angels and whores (sometimes all at once). We also see the strong connections between mother and daughter, and the symbolic connection of women with nature, light and the elements. We see how quickly a community will turn upon an outsider, especially if that outsider is a young and attractive girl, despite little to no evidence of any wrongdoing… which is not to say that there hasn’t been any!
Unfortunately, whilst Thomas is a sympathetic main character, Ivy is less so. Other than the obvious horror the reader feels for how she is treated, her detachment and manipulative nature make her hard to like. By association, Thomas seems weaker and easily-manipulated for his affection for her. Similarly, Rose appears spiteful and also manipulative. With no character to really root for, I found myself struggling to emotionally connect with the story and the outcomes for the characters. I did wonder about the other villagers involved – especially any who were more or less innocent than the main participants – and would have loved to see some other perspectives on the vicious cycle as it turned.
This is definitely more of a horror story than a romance – ideal for anyone who likes to read about witches, witch trials, curses and reincarnation loops. You will find yourself haunted by the curse long after you’ve turned the last page!
The women behind her began arguing.
“Energy!” the midwife said. “Too much energy.”
Like a swirl inside Irene’s hand, the midwife’s voice echoed the word ‘energy’ around and around. Irene leaned back over the tin bucket, ready to be sick.
Energy! But that’s a good thing? Irene internally argued back at the midwife. Why is she saying these nonsense things while I’m in labor?
– A. A. Warne, Heavy Dirty Soul
Heavy Dirty Soul is available on Amazon right now!