Black Heart Blue is an incredibly intense and harrowing book, about twin sisters, Hephzibah the beautiful one, and Rebecca who lives with Treacher Collins syndrome and is horribly disfigured. They live with their abusive father, the local vicar, and weak mother, who are horribly controlling and keep them locked away from normal life. The story begins at Hephzibah’s funeral, and is then told in alternating chapters, Rebecca describing life after the funeral, and Hephzibah describing life before, when the girls broke free for the first time to attend college, and try to live a normal life.
The book is beautifully written, and yet an uncomfortable read because the author describes the abuse suffered by these girls in such detail you cannot help but be emotionally drawn into the story, and it makes for an incredibly emotional read – I had to stop reading it on the bus as I was fighting tears, and yet I could barely put it down. It is an incredible book, especially when you consider it is actually a teen novel. And for all the sadness and injustice involved, there is hope.