I’m not a big fan of omniscient POV’s generally speaking. Of the works I’ve read that attempt a true omniscient 3rd person, I’ve never felt like I’ve gotten a good sense of the characters, and the jumps between what one character knows or is doing can be hit or miss, at best. But “Heart of Jet” may change all of that for me! The story follows two Manhattan socialites, I want to say in the very early 1900’s, as they embark on a journey to Scotland where their recently deceased relative has tasked them with easing the tormented soul of their family’s old estate on the Scottish moors. Shedd’s lyrical omniscient style of narration perfectly captured the setting of the era, as well as set the tone for the haunting love story that followed.
Full disclosure, I do work with Sheila—she is my editor for several of my books—but I had no hand whatsoever in her story, nor did she ask me to read or review her book. However, I was curious and I love all things Scottish so, I mean, of course I was down for reading her novel. I was a bit hesitant, I’ll admit, because it can be rare for an editor who is amazing with the technical aspects of writing to stretch beyond merely structuring the novel and create something as immersive as Shedd has accomplished. Also in terms of content warning, this book occasionally uses strong language, adult sexual themes, and creepy imagery, so know that ahead of time. So there, that’s all my disclaimers out of the way, on to the review!
“Heart of Jet” at its core is a haunting story—as in there is a dark family secret, a ghost, and “cursed objects” (for lack of a better word and to avoid spoilers). But it’s also a cautionary love story, as it delves into showing the difference between true, romantic love, and a love that turns into a destructive obsession/possession (not in the demonic sense). So yes, it’s a delightful Gothic romance, but the messaging behind it was something I truly enjoyed because the narrator does such a wonderful job showing how that distinction gets blurred and how it’s hard to tell where the line is between something that’s romantic, and something that is dangerous. And while this is a slow burn book—especially when it comes to the supernatural aspects—the descriptive narration paints such a beautiful picture of the area that I felt like I was wandering the cliffs of Scotland alongside the Grant sisters!
I wouldn’t truly classify this as a horror story, more creepy in that “curled up by the fire in late Autumn” sort of way, but with the atmospheric story-telling, there were times that I got shivers! The haunting aspects gave me vibes of Gregory Maquire’s “Lost”, in case that helps as well. While I loved watching the two sisters grow and lose some of their naïveté when it comes to places outside of New York, I will say that I wanted more of the supernatural aspects and watching how that affected the sisters and the people around them. Those themes are teased a bit early on, but they don’t really get into full swing until just passed the 60% mark of the book, so come the conclusion I was hoping for a bit more of a…resolution shall we say? It’s a marvelously written story, which is why I am a bit disappointed there wasn’t more! Also, Shedd is fantastic at capturing accents within dialogue. Reading the various characters, it really sounded like I was in Scotland! But that can also be a little problematic as it took me just that tiny bit longer to translate their words into, well, English. It’s wonderful, but it can make this a tad slower at times as I puzzled over what people were saying, but I enjoyed how it added to the scene far too much to dock it.
If you are looking for a slow burn, Gothic romance with some supernatural elements, but with incredible atmospheric omniscient narration, seriously look no further. This is a quick read that’ll inspire you to travel to the Scottish moors and is absolute goals when it comes to writing dialogue with accents. While I would have liked the story to focus a bit more on those supernatural aspects, I sill so thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the characters and the uniqueness of Shedd’s writing that I’d feel remiss if I didn’t give this book 5 stars. Seriously, go check it out!
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