The Alphabet of Heart's Desire ePUB ✓ The Alphabet

  • Paperback
  • 392 pages
  • The Alphabet of Heart's Desire
  • Brian Keaney
  • English
  • 08 December 2014
  • 9781910688373

10 thoughts on “The Alphabet of Heart's Desire

  1. Maureen Maureen says:

    Thomas de uincy is living a comfortable middle class existence when we meet him in the early 1800's and eventually he will go on to become a writer of some renown However much will take place on his life's journey before he's lauded as one of the best writers of his dayAfter a disagreement with his family Thomas finds himself destitute on the streets of London He's discovered by Anne a young prostitute malnourished and close to collapse Anne takes pity on him and takes him back to her lodgings where she feeds and tends to him until he slowly begins to regain his strength Though these two are from very different backgrounds they find the love and affection that so far has evaded themTuah is a victim of the slave trade taken from his island by Dutch traders he is bought by the Captain of an English ship The Captain treats him fairly and begins the slow process of educating Tuah and after some years sailing the seas they eventually return to the Captain's London homeHow the lives of a future writer from a middle class background a prostitute and a freed slave come together it would be difficult to imagine but the author has managed to do this beautifully seamlessly weaving the threads of their lives together in a most pleasing way From the drawing rooms of the wealthy middle classes to the brothels and opium dens in the filthy London slums all of life is here1800's London is brought perfectly to life the smells sights and sounds jump out from the pages This was a time of extreme poverty for the majority of people and it wasn't difficult to see how the young Anne turned to the world's oldest profession just to put a little food on the table For Thomas used to the better things in life it appeared to be something of a comedown to be living in the slums of London but he's clearly never been happier and seems to relate to these people than he ever did amongst his middle class acuaintances For Tuah he doesn't think London will ever be his real home but he's well looked after and content even though others think he's beneath them preferring to ignore his existenceThis was a wonderful tale that allowed us to walk the streets of early 19th century London and to see first hand the poverty and it's associated problems including opium addiction which was a way for the poor to forget their miserable existence for a short time but of course the addiction which overpowered them presented it's own immense problems Very well written with strong characters and a wonderful storyline Thank you to Netgalley and Holland House for my ARC I have given an honest review in exchange

  2. Angela M Angela M says:

    My seven year old great nephew got it right about this book No he didn't read it but he described perfectly to me why he and I like to read He was pretty animated using his hands had great facial expressions when he said Aunt Angela do you know why I like to read ? Because when I read I feel like I'm in the book you know like watching a movie I replied Me too Nicholas What he described is exactly what I felt when reading this book that I was transported to London in the early 1800's through wonderful descriptions of the streets the society and the people through the three characters who make up the alternating narratives of this story The images were so clear like watching a movie When I read the description of this novel the name Thomas de uincey sounded only vaguely familiar so I really went into it blindly not knowing much about him As it turned out at least from my perspective this is not just a fictionalized account of de uincey who I later found out was a writer known for his essays and most famous for Confessions of an English Opium Eater It's the story of a young girl Anne whose misfortunate life forces her to find salvation from starvation and abuse as a prostitute It's the story of a young boy Tuah taken from his native island by Dutch slave traders I felt I immediately for Anne and Tuah as I read their first person narratives and was appalled and heartbroken for what happened to them It took me longer to connect with Thomas whose narrative interestingly enough was written in the third person The book touches on some things that reflect the times the slave trade prostitution class differences and drug addiction but it is also about the goodness of people who save each other As their individual stories moved forward I was anxious to see how they would converge I won't say here but will say that I was captivated and I would definitely recommend this to lovers of historical fiction I received an advanced copy of this book from Holland House through NetGalley

  3. Faith Faith says:

    This is beautifully written historical fiction with three captivating protagonists and some engaging minor characters The book is very descriptive and there is a real sense of the period and atmosphere It is loosely based on the early life of the British author Thomas De uincey and the story is told in alternating chapters by Thomas Anne his first love and Tuah who was invented by the author for this book The three characters are about the same age and the author follows them from their childhoods The characters are linked by opium literature and the fact that each has been cast adrift My only problem with this book is the title which makes sense in context but unfortunately sounds vaguely like a cheesy romance novel There is love in this book but it is not a romance novel Thomas was an aspiring poet from a wealthy family but after being sent to a series of dreary households he wound up on his own and destitute in London Thomas De uincey was singularly unprepared for the teeming villainous bustling cunning barbarity that was the nation of LondonAnne and her widowed mother lived in a run down room that they couldn't afford Down in the basement there was a collection of thieves that would have taken the steam off your piss and sold it back to you as a cure for scurvy And then their landlord offered them someplace even lower provided that they worked as washerwomen Life kept going from bad to worse for Anne and she wound up in a brothel Eventually she rescued Thomas and they shared love and laudanum Tuah was an orphan taken when he was 9 by Dutch slave traders from his village on an unspecified island On the slave ship he learned a great and terrible truth that it matters not how bad things seem to be there is always worse that can be for a man He was sold to a ship captain who taught him English and remained on the ship for three years before they landed in London I loved each of these characters and enjoyed this book tremendously I would be happy to read by this author I received a free copy of this book from the publisher

  4. Marialyce Marialyce says:

    There is a reason I love historical fiction so much In this genre one often learns things never known before The time is 1802 and a young man Thomas de uincy is coming into adulthood He had led a comfortable life in a severe family that tolerated little deviations on what they thought Thomas' life should be Thomas is desirous of attending Oxford but his mother and uncle feel differently and set Thomas up with a teacher of low caliber Thomas revolts and through an error in judgement is banished from his life of comfort literally living on the streets with one pound a month given to him by her generous family One day from lack of food Thomas collapses on the street He is found by a young doxy and she takes it upon herself to nurse Thomas back to health Anne the young prostitute who helps Thomas later falls in love with him and he with her Of course this is London in the seventeenth century and that relationship can or should never be We also meet Tuah a former slave saved and bought by a captain of a ship returning to London and is taken into the captain and later his brother's home and freed All three of these characters are presented in alternate chapters each relating their experiences and portraying to the reader the differences in their upbringing their lives and how society sees them The saddest one of all is Anne left to make her way which in reality is the only way possible for her and becomes a prostitute She is the one that there seems no possible escape from a harsh and cruel world Even if she does escape she knows she is doomed because of what she has become To cope she begins using opium and introduces Thomas to the level of escapism opium provides These three lives intertwine and present to the reader a fine glimpse of the life one experienced in Victorian EnglandThomas de uincey later goes on to be a well respected writer and in his book Confessions of an English Opium Eater he explored the manners the boredom the passion and hopelessness oftentimes presented in Victorian life For those who love historical fiction this novel was a treat and gave the reader perspective fine writing and ultimately a greater understanding of what life was like if one was a Victorian Thank you to NetGalley and Holland House for an ARC of this book

  5. Carol Carol says:

    Thomas de uincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater Other Writings 1822 is one of the first literary works written from the point of view of an addict and an English addict at that Samuel Taylor Coleridge also began using opium in 1791 after suffering from both jaundice and rheumatic fever and eventually consumed 80 – 100 drops of laudanum opium prepared in an alcoholic solution daily His famed poem Kubla Khan is about the opium experience I found online the following recipe for laudanumLaudanum Best Turkey opium 1 oz; slice and pour upon it boiling water 1 gill 14 pint and work it in a bowl or mortar until it is dissolved; then pour it into the bottle and with alcohol of 76 per cent proof 12 pt rinse the dish adding the alcohol to the preparation shaking well and in 24 hours it will be ready for use Dose Form 10 to 30 drops for adults according to the strength of the patient or severity of the painBy the middle of the 19th century morphine was invented purposefully to offsetreduce addiction to opium In 1874 chemists created heroin with its potency twice that of morphine Still opium imports into the US peaked in 1890 In 1937 methadone was first synthesized at Germany’s IG Farben company Meanwhile in 2017 the illegal opium trade continues and the opioid crisis deepensBut I digress Alphabet of Heart’s Desire takes the bare outline of what is known about De uincey’s biography including a brief encounter with a teenage prostitute Anne and tells the story of Anne Thomas and a third character Tuah a slave then ex slave in late 18th century through 1802 London The fourth character is opium taken for most of the characters in the form of laudanum and it is omnipresent throughout the novel The novel is told in split narrative form – with each of the three named characters being given largely eual time and with somewhat different voices Tuah’s voice is the least successful Anne’s the most and Thomas in comparison can come across whiney and privileged from time to time; nonetheless his misery and sense of being trapped and limited by his family and its decisions about his schooling and living situation come across believably The three characters don’t encounter one another until well into the novel Hence the experience for much of the novel is one of reading three books simultaneously It works surprisingly well The first half was a 5 star read – the pacing was perfect the characters well drawn and London detailed in an absorbing compelling manner A 12 year old in a whorehouse The desparation of a single mother unable to support herself The Dutch slave trade and capture of Tuah at a young age The ever present risk of street attacks and violence The descent of a character and decline of his health into opium addiction with nightly visits to an opium den From the point where Anne and Thomas meet through the end of the book it is a 3 reading experience The energy and suspense present earlier are greatly reduced and Anne and Thomas spend a fair amount of time sharing laudanum and possible happy endings Accordingly 4 stars are meritedUltimately Keaney’s ending is realistic reminding me of The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton another literary historical fiction novel I read and liked than many readers did If you liked The Miniaturist I suspect this one's for you Don't be misled by the sweet title and floral cover Alphabet is not for the faint hearted what with its rawness and commitment to truth telling at least with respect to the poor characters Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ecopy


    This is a work of historical fiction focusing on the central character of Thomas De uincey an English essayist who lived through England's Regency and Victorian Eras As I joyously ravished this book over the course of several days I had no idea I was reading about an actual notable figure nor whom the main character of the story wasuntil the very end This is because each chapter deals with one of three characters Thomas Anne and Tuah and are titled as such Their individual stories are so lushly and richly written they could have been a book unto themselves; but they are deliciously woven together as the book nears its conclusionWhen we meet Thomas Anne and Tuah they are each on the cusp of their teenage years and all experience horrific tragediesenough to cause post traumatic stress disorder in anyone They have all lost either one or both of their parents and at some point have no idea how they are going to eat where they can find shelter or earn money to live Although Thomas was born into an upper class family his widowed mother was uite a dour and harsh parent Anne was born into an already poor family but when her father drowned after an alcoholic binge the living situation became even dire Tuah was abducted from his native home by Dutchmen onto a slave ship that docked in England Their collective heartbreak desperation and challenges are both poignant and riveting to read through Another common thread binding all three characters are their eventual associations with or consumption of the potent narcotic laudanum tincture of opium This drug became popular during these times for those suffering both mental and physical anguish I won't divulge any details to spoil things for potential readers In summation this is a book that will whisk you away to historic England with a very meaningful story and characters that will touch your heart I award this a rare 5 starsMany thanks to NetGalley for providing this advance reader copy in return for my honest review

  7. Karen KK Karen KK says:

    I received this from netgalleycom in exchange for a review The book rotates chapter by chapter around three characters Thomas a middle class person who is reduced to living on the streets of London Anne a prostitute who finds Thomas nearly dead on the streets and nurses him back to health Tuan a captured slave come to live in London and eventually freed by his ownerThere were many great descriptive passages about living in London in the 1800's The sights sounds smells all brought the past to life But the book had its ebbs and flows the majority of the book I was confused how the three main characters related to each other 325 stars

  8. Emma Emma says:

    I found this to be a well written and researched story It is the story of three different people coming of age and settling into adult life in different ways in London The three main characters are Tuah a freed slave Anne a doxy and Thomas an opium addict The book tells their stories from their childhood to young adulthood and how they came to be who they were The three people in the story come to know each other but not at the same times The story was based on the true story of Thomas de uincy a minor friend of Wordsworth and Coleridge most known for his autobiography ‘ The diary of an Opium eater’ The ending stays true to the real life story and I am glad the author didn’t choose a fictional optionThomas in my opinion was the least likeable of the charactersor the one who evoked the least sympathyMy only uibble with the story is the title which didn’t really fit for meMany thanks to Netgalley for an arc of this book All opinions are my own

  9. Romie Romie says:

    I've been trying to make my way through this book for something like two months now and obviously I'm having the hardest timeI've made it halfway through it and this book isn't what the synopsis says it is it takes nearly half the book for the story promised in the synopsis to start which is kind of disappointingUsually I love reading a book with multiple point of views but here it wasn't done that well? I don't know how to explain it but it made it difficult for me to follow the story than anything else25 Thank you Netgalley for providing me an e arc in exchange for an honest review

  10. Jerrie (redwritinghood) Jerrie (redwritinghood) says:

    I received this on NetGalley in exchange for my review This book presents a fictionalization of the life of Thomas De uincey who wrote the first book about drug addiction Based on his travels to London and time spent with the young prostitute Anne the book imagines the time before they meet their meeting and drug use and their eventual separation There is a third voice of a young man captured by Dutch slavers but I found that of a distraction Apparently the third character is based on one account of De uincey’s where he meets someone he refers to as a Malay The Thomas and Anne chapters were good with distinct voices The book imagines what happened to Anne even though De uincey was never able to find her again 35 ⭐️

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The Alphabet of Heart's Desire★ The Alphabet of Heart's Desire PDF / Epub ✪ Author Brian Keaney – A visitor calls with a gift and a message from the past in this literary historical novel In 1802 Thomas de uincey a young man from a comfortable middle class background who would go on to become one A visitor of Heart's Epub µ calls with a gift and a message from the past in this literary historical novel In Thomas de uincey a young man from a comfortable middle class background who would go on to become one of the most celebrated writers of his day collapsed on Oxford Street and was discovered by a teenage prostitute who brought him back to her room and The Alphabet PDF or nursed him to health It was the beginning of a relationship that would introduce Thomas to a world just below the surface of London's polite society where pleasure was a tradeable commodity and opium could seem the only relief from poverty Yet it is also a world where love might blossom and goodness survive The lives of a street girl an aspiring writer and a freed Alphabet of Heart's PDF/EPUB Ã slave cross and re cross the slums of London in this novel about the birth of passion the burden of addiction and the consolations of literature.

About the Author: Brian Keaney

Brian writes of Heart's Epub µ novels for adults young adults and children HIs latest novel for adults is The Alphabet of Heart's Desire Holland House Books based on an incident in the life of the nineteenth century writer and opium addict Thomas De uincey.