16 June 2022

The Heart's Invisible Furies


By John Boyne
Historical Fiction | Literary Fiction

My Review

A 2022 Top Rated Read

When unmarried 16-year-old Catherine Goggin falls pregnant in 1945, she's banished from her rural Irish village by the local priest. After making her way to Dublin she gives birth to a son, Cyril. The baby is adopted by an unconventional wealthy couple, the Averys, who remind Cyril at every opportunity that he's 'not a real Avery'.

As a young boy Cyril forms an unlikely friendship with the charismatic Julian Woodbead. He finds himself becoming physically attracted to him as their bond develops. What follows is the story of Cyril Avery's life — a journey of self-discovery and heartbreak; acceptance and reconciliation.

Phew, what a corker of read this turned out to be! At over 700 pages long it requires both time and commitment but takes you on an amazing ride spanning several decades. Having previously read The House of Special Purpose by the same author, I knew what a wonderful storyteller he is and was in no doubt my next few days were in safe and very capable hands.

At times a desperately sad story but counterbalanced nicely with some wonderfully uplifting moments, I found myself experiencing every possible emotion. I desperately wanted Cyril to find happiness and lasting love. And does he? Read this epic story to find out.

Book Source: Purchased copy
My Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Paperback: 736 pages
Publisher: Black Swan (14th Dec 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-1784161002

The Blurb

Forced to flee the scandal brewing in her hometown, Catherine Goggin finds herself pregnant and alone, in search of a new life at just sixteen. She knows she has no choice but to believe that the nun she entrusts her child to will find him a better life.

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery, or so his parents are constantly reminding him. Adopted as a baby, he’s never quite felt at home with the family that treats him more as a curious pet than a son. But it is all he has ever known.

And so begins one man’s desperate search to find his place in the world. Unspooling and unseeing, Cyril is a misguided, heart-breaking, heartbroken fool. Buffeted by the harsh winds of circumstance towards the one thing that might save him from himself, but when opportunity knocks, will he have the courage, finally, take it?

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