Author Matthew W Harrill

Christie Stratos – Anatomy of a Darkened Heart

Now I will introduce you to work by my friend with the awesome name…

Christie Stratos.

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Anatomy of a Darkened Heart blurb: 

A pair of eyes underlined in weary darkness and punctuated with a knowing stare. These are not the normal eyes of a newborn baby. Abigail Delilah is the firstborn of three Whitestone children – and she is the most regretted.

But is it really her fault?

She can’t help that the revelation of Father’s wretched secret coincides with her birth. She can’t help the fear she feels during Mother’s psychological – and physical – assaults. As the shadows grow stronger over her soul and the noose of pain tightens around her neck, Abigail will find out which is stronger: her family’s wicked assumptions about her or her true self.


Take your first step into the Dark Victoriana Collection with Anatomy of a Darkened Heart.


Multi-layered with motifs, symbolism, and psychological depth, this tale of dark Victoriana will appeal to the literary reader and the leisure reader alike, combining key facets of several popular genres. And don’t be afraid to get addicted – the collection continues exploring the intertwining threads that weave together the complex tapestry of the Whitestone legacy.


Anatomy of a Darkened Heart extract:

Abigail was instinctively afraid of Mother, the woman always wearing a stern and somewhat angry expression. She was usually either clunk clunking somewhere in a hurry as if it was somebody’s doomsday or she was sitting straight-backed in the parlor’s stiff armchair, constantly looking at the door as if she were waiting. Whatever she was waiting for never seemed to come.

Dinner was an intimidating sport with both her parents looming over her, stiff and formal. Neither had anything to say to her. They barely had anything to say to each other. Dinner would be served to them, put on their plates for them, eaten roughly by her mother and oddly quietly by her father, and the most that was said to her was, “You may go,” by her mother almost as soon as she’d finished her meal. This wasn’t an offer; it was a demand. Abigail found that out when she stayed too long one time, squirming in her seat slightly and trying to say she wanted more food, but before she could get the second word out, her mother reprimanded her.

“Do NOT squirm in your seat or you won’t be accepted into better company.” Her mother had paused, looking down at her own half-empty plate. Without sparing a glance at Abigail, she’d muttered, “Leave us.” When Abigail hesitated, a little frightened to make the wrong move, her mother’s cold gaze told her to get out of the chair – now.
These situations didn’t bother her too much, aside from the immediate tension and fear. Abigail didn’t really think of this woman as her mother. She thought of her as a woman in the house. She tried to forget about her presence altogether in between awkward and intimidating meetings.

Most of Abigail’s time was spent in her room or outside with the governess. The governess had to teach her how to play, with toys and without them. Abigail preferred to sit and look around and think. The governess didn’t like this. She said little girls were supposed to play with toys and be carefree. But Abigail didn’t feel like a little girl. She would play hopscotch with a straight face, sitting down in the middle of the board when she was done with it. And little dolls didn’t interest her. She wanted to try things with them, like taking out strands of their hair and braiding them separate from the dolls, or taking off their clothes and playing just with the clothes. The governess told her she was supposed to play with those things on the dolls, not off. But Abigail had no interest in the dolls themselves. Only in what she could keep from them.


Dark Victoriana Collection:

The Dark Victoriana Collection is not a series but an exploration of the same town in which the Whitestones live, and there’s plenty of crossover with events in Anatomy of a Darkened Heart as well as other happenings and new secrets we didn’t get to see in AoDH. There will be five books total in the collection: the first novel (AoDH) followed by three novelettes and then a final novel. I can’t reveal too much without giving some things way, but I can reveal the titles and release years of the upcoming books.


  • Locke and Keye (early 2016) When you make the lock, you own the key”
  • Love’s Bloom (mid 2016)
  • Dodd’s Doll Shop (late 2016)
  • Surviving the Whitestones: Ashdon’s Account (2017)


There’s a lot to look forward to!

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Christie Stratos is an editor and award-winning writer who holds a degree in English Literature. An avid reader of all genres and world literature, Christie reads everything from bestsellers to classics to indies, and is an audiobook reviewer at She is also a writer of published short stories, poetry, and novels. She dabbles in all genres.


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