Here at Literature Works we love books which allow us fictional insights into literary figures of bygone times, so when we had the opportunity to read an Advanced Review Copy of Brian Keaney’s latest novel The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire thanks to Netgalley, we just couldn’t resist a trip to literary times gone by.

A great piece of literary historical fiction, The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire gives a well- researched, believable and compelling portrait of noted literary figure Thomas de Quincey. This was an utterly arresting account throughout, pacy and interesting, the life of the poet was made present again in these pages.

As story which is woven into the underground of polite society in Victorian London, whilst this period of history is much explored, this novel gives an account of it from the perspective of literature and delves beyond the polite drawing rooms of England’s gentry to the grimier, more raw lives of those who struggled to make ends meet and to survive in a time when great cares were taken to maintain a sense of artifice.

Weaving a compelling story which is contained within frankly (and possibly deliberately) addictive breathless prose, this novel presents three very different perspectives on a time, a culture and indeed upon literature. A thoroughly recommended read!

The Alphabet of Heart’s Desire is out now, published by Holland House.