Reader Reviewed Dance of the Dark Heart by Julie Hearn

Dance of the Dark Heart

Written by Julie Hearn

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Julie Hearn’s gripping historical story balances romance and violence dextrously as good and evil play out in tandem. Born in adverse circumstances and abandoned as a baby, Jack grows up as foster sister to Janet whom he adores. But while Janet is all sweetness and light there is something dark within Jack, even as a tiniest baby. When Jack is separated from Janet he vows that they will be reunited. Jack will stop at nothing as he pursues his passion despite the high cost, including betrayal, of his obsessive love. Julie Hearn commands the complex and conflicting good and evil emotions of Jack brilliantly.

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert review, some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Karianne Turner, Year 7 - 'a fantastic story.' Read full review >
  • Ella Grabsky, age 14 - 'I haven't read a novel like this for a long time and it's a refreshing change from the other books you might find on the shelves! It is a dark love story set it the past.' Read full review >
  • Amrit Bunet, age 15 - 'a chilling story with mystery and unexpected twists woven into every word written carefully on the page by Hearn.' Read full review >
  • Sarah Murray, age 15 - 'This tragic story of unrequited love and a brilliant anti hero is fantastic!'Read full review >
  • Sophie Dobson, age 14 - 'I think the book is fantastic, at the start it has a lot of action and mystery...Brilliant book.' Read full review >
  • Rose Heathcote, age 14 - 'This book is a good short read.  Its based on a old folk tale and has a mysterious twist.  I would recommend this to a friend.'  Read full review >


Dance of the Dark Heart by Julie Hearn

Jack Orion is a tormented soul. His childhood companion, and one true love, has been cruelly snatched away from him and now nothing matters to him but being reunited with her. From the goatherd's shack to the court of King Henry VIII, Jack will not be diverted from his path. And wherever he goes he plays his fiddle like a demon, while the demon in his head urges him on. But Jack is dangerous, and he has a dark heart. If you had the chance to dance with the devil ...would you? This stunning new novel from Julie Hearn tells of a heart-wrenching love that is all-encompassing and is a page-turning tale of good versus evil.


Julie Hearn writes with real skill, her style equally at home with the natural and supernatural...All the elements are familiar, but the final result is one of genuine originality. Tony Bradman, The Guardian Overall, Dance of the Dark Heart was a captivating and dark story about passion, love and evil. By Kids For Kids Review, The Guardian This is a novel of hypnotic power... Sue Purkiss, Armadillo This is a dark gripping tale with a fast-paced plot, convincing characters and a twist in the tail. Barbara Band, The School Librarian

About the Author

Julie Hearn

Julie Hearn was our Guest Editor in August 2011. Click here to see the books she selected.

Julie Hearn used to be a tabloid journalist but much prefers writing novels because she is less likely to be sued nowadays for making things up. After her daughter, Tilly, was born she began a degree in Education but switched to English after suffering a panic attack while attempting to teach maths to year six. She went on to complete a Masters Degree in Women's Studies at Oxford University, where an idea for her thesis became the inspiration for her first novel, Follow Me Down. Julie lives in Oxfordshire where she writes full time (most mornings anyway) in a pink and green office in her garden.

Julie Hearn Q&A:

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Ever since I can remember. When I was five I wrote stories about elves and rabbits on scraps of paper and sewed them up the middle to make little books. I wrote diaries too - pages and pages every day - and if nothing exciting had happened I made stuff up. My teenage diaries are shocking, but a pack of lies from start to finish.

I still wanted to write when I left school so I became a journalist. And that was great fun, for a long time, although when it came to making things up, there was only so far I could go!

Why did you decide to write children's books rather than books for adults?

I suppose I'd had enough of writing for adults - first as a journalist, then as a student of English and women's studies. I wanted to give my imagination free rein in a way that didn't have to be clever, or cynical, or have a great wodge of footnotes at the bottom of every page to explain things!

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Book Info


256 pages


Julie Hearn
More books by Julie Hearn

Author's Website


Oxford University Press

Publication date

3rd April 2014




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