Gothic Book Review,  Urban Fantasy Book Review

Hearts in the Hard Ground

Hearts in the Hard GroundHearts in the Hard Ground
Author: G.V. Anderson
Publisher: Tor Books
First Published: September 23, 2020
Genres: Bisexual, Gothic, Short Stories, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 27
Format: Webpage


Following the death of her mother, Fiona buys a new house in order to start a new chapter of her life, one with fewer reminders of painful memories. Unbeknownst to Fiona, this house has a melancholy history, and slightly more ghosts than she anticipated. In learning to live with her unexpected companions and their losses, Fiona might find a way to make peace with her own.

Warnings: Sex, Graphic Descriptions of Death, Drug Use

My Thoughts

I love gothic horror—the haunted houses, the ghosts, the romance in a macabre setting. An old house is not complete without a proper haunting, and there are plenty of ghosts to keep the lonely narrator company. Fiona is grieving the loss of her mother and struggling with the guilt of not doing enough for her mother as her health deteriorates.

“Did she grow as pitiful, as frightened, as this bird when I locked her bedroom door to stop her wandering out at night? If she fretted, if she tried the door or the window or ever cried out in wordless confusion, I didn’t hear her. I didn’t want to.”

I really appreciated how Fiona’s experiences in the house reflect her struggle to reconcile her feelings toward her mother. The writing is gorgeous and flows easily, the story almost felt cozy despite the dark subjects addressed, and it is a hopeful story in spite of tragedy. The only thing that I found jarring was some of the modern norms that don’t fit the setting at all. The setting is not historical, the main character makes references to the noughties (2000-2009) so the only old thing in the story is the house. This was only a minor complaint, the story that was enjoyable overall.


About G.V. Anderson

G. V. Anderson is a speculative fiction author whose short stories have won a World Fantasy Award, a British Fantasy Award, and been nominated for a Nebula. Her work can be found in Strange Horizons, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, and, as well as anthologies such as Best of British Science Fiction and The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror.

She lives and works in Dorset, UK, and is currently writing her first novel.

I’m a Filipino American blogger, historian, and lazy writer. I enjoy books, video games, anime/manga, and smoking hookah.

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