Shame Book Review: The Heartbeat Thief by A.J. Krafton

March 5, 2018 Book Reviews 4

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shame Book Review: The Heartbeat Thief by A.J. KraftonThe Heartbeat Thief by A.J. Krafton
Published by Ash Krafton on September 18th 2015
Pages: 329
Source: NetGalley
One StarOne StarOne Star

Haunted by a crushing fear of death, a young Victorian woman discovers the secret of eternal youth—she must surrender her life to attain it, and steal heartbeats to keep it.

In 1860 Surrey, a young woman has only one occupation: to marry. Senza Fyne is beautiful, intelligent, and lacks neither wealth nor connections. Finding a husband shouldn’t be difficult, not when she has her entire life before her. But it’s not life that preoccupies her thoughts. It’s death—and that shadowy spectre haunts her every step.

So does Mr. Knell. Heart-thumpingly attractive, obviously eligible—he’d be her perfect match if only he wasn’t so macabre. All his talk about death, all that teasing about knowing how to avoid it…

When her mother arranges a courtship with another man, Senza is desperate for escape from a dull prescripted destiny. Impulsively, she takes Knell up on his offer. He casts a spell that frees her from the cruelty of time and the threat of death—but at a steep price. In order to maintain eternal youth, she must feed on the heartbeats of others.

It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever. From the posh London season to the back alleys of Whitechapel, across the Channel, across the Pond, across the seas of Time…

How far will Senza Fyne go to avoid Death?

Reading Challenges: Blog All About It, Blogger Shame


While trying to figure out my late reads, I ran across a post that I wrote in 2016 about the top ten books I never got to in 2015. These all need to be on my TBRN (to be read NOW) list.

I did finally get to The Heartbeat Thief though. I’m surprised it took me so long because I really love the cover and the synopsis is intense. But, again, we all know how many books there are out there. So I’m just glad I sat down and got to it!

But, sadly, this one didn’t do it for me, fully. I think I may have had my expectations too high.

It’s a little bit Jane Austen, a little bit Edgar Allen Poe, and a whole lot of stealing heartbeats in order to stay young and beautiful forever.

Who wouldn’t have their hopes high after reading that!? It reminds me of Erzsebet Bathory, but from a 19th century perspective. I’m also a “fan” can one be called a fan if you love the stories but you’re appalled by them? I’ll just run with that word and hope you get the point. I’m a fan of Erzsebet Bathory stories. I’ll read everything I can get my hands on, and this just didn’t do the same thing. The plot was okay but there wasn’t enough there in Senza Fyne to believe that she was riddled with doubt about her aging. I hate when I compare stories, but sometimes it cannot be helped. Although they are completely different premises, the blood that makes the plot is still the same, and they do not come close to comparing.

That said, the plot was good enough to keep me interested in the story. The writing was okay, not out of this world, and I wasn’t whisked away like the great writers have been able to do, but it was again, good enough that I wanted to continue on. There’s something about her character, even with it not completely adding up, that made me want to continue.

There’s also a fantastic historical presence. The book actually takes place for over a century, due to her stealing lives to stay young, so there is a lot more to the story that can be addressed, unlike in other stories where this paranormal existence doesn’t take place. I did feel like I was able to take this journey with her, even though I was not entirely whisked away by it.

And this is precisely why I hate reading the synopsis. I feel like I would have enjoyed this more had I not read that it was Edgar Allen Poe mixed with Jane Austen! For me, it doesn’t quite fit.



Rating Report
3 / 5
Character Development
3 / 5
Writing Style
3 / 5
Personal enjoyment
3 / 5
5 / 5
Overall: 3.4 / 5









One StarOne StarOne Star

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

4 Responses to “Shame Book Review: The Heartbeat Thief by A.J. Krafton”

  1. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Sorry this one seemed to disappoint. Have you read The Countess by Rebecca Johns? So a little secret about me (well, not so secret)-I’m fascinated with stories about Bathory myself, as well as Lizzie Borden. A friend picked up The Countess for me one year for Christmas and I’d ever even heard of it but I really enjoyed it. You might want to check that one out!

    • Christina

      YES! I love The Countess! When we moved, we went through our books, because we had quite a bit and although we have room now, still no book cases to put those books into, so hubster asked if I wanted to get rid of that one. I have it in paperback and love it! I haven’t read it in quite some time now. I may have to re-read that one.

  2. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I’ve always thought this one sounded interesting, but I still haven’t read it, so I can’t blame you for taking long lol. But I have the feeling it would be just ok for me too. But I’m glad it was still good enough to make you keep reading, it does sound interesting to follow the character over a longer period of time like that.

    • Christina

      That cover is just so great! The plot was really intriguing. I think it resonated with quite a few people, at least on Goodreads. I wanted to like it more, but nope.

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