Wild, beautiful and spellbinding, this is the compelling wartime story of freedom and love on the windswept islands of Orkney
‘Powerful . . . Lea writes beautifully of island life and love, and the sacrifices that both demand’ THE TIMES
‘Deeply evocative of Orkney and its wild beauty. A stunning tale of sisters, salvation and sacrifice’ Emma Stonex
The sky is clear, star-stamped and silvered by the waxing gibbous moon. No planes have flown over the islands tonight; no bombs have fallen for over a year.
Orkney, 1940. Five hundred Italian prisoners-of-war arrive to fortify these remote and windswept islands. Resentful islanders are fearful of the enemy in their midst, but not orphaned twin sisters Dorothy and Constance.
Already outcasts, they volunteer to nurse all prisoners who are injured or fall sick. Soon Dorothy befriends Cesare, an artist swept up by the machine of war and almost broken by the horrors he has witnessed. She is entranced by his plan to build an Italian chapel from war scrap and sea debris, and something beautiful begins to blossom.
But Con, scarred from a betrayal in her past, is afraid for her sister; she knows that people are not always what they seem. Soon, trust frays between the islanders and outsiders, and between the sisters – their hearts torn by rival claims of duty and desire. A storm is coming . . .
In the tradition of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Metal Heart is a hauntingly rich Second World War love story about courage, freedom and the essence of what makes us human during the darkest of times.
‘Confirms Lea as a highly original and inventive writer’ Sunday Times
‘A tense, passionate and deeply atmospheric novel . . . Caroline’s beautiful transported me entirely to another time and land’ Susan Fletcher
‘A beautiful, heart-breaking tale of grief, love and the bond between sisters’ Louise Hare
‘Myth, legend, fear and superstition all play a part in this intensely atmospheric novel’ Choice Magazine
‘Atmospheric, heart-wrenching, evocative’ Gytha Lodge