Thora rolled over on her back, her eyes full of the night sky, and pressed a hand over her chest to feel the thumping of her heart. Thora now imagined her heart as tiny and dark, and shrivelled like a dried prune. She tried to envision the cool lake water surrounding it and gently nursing it, instead, but her vision faltered and her heart remained a frail, weak thing. What was it they called it?
Of course. Heartbroken.
Thora remembered the days when her heart had seemed so full and round with love she could almost feel its weight within her, heavy and comforting like a talisman, thrumming rhythmically.
Now, those days had drifted into the past like pollen on a summer breeze, no matter how hard she had tried to cling to them.
-Excerpt from The Breathing Ghosts, copyright Eleanor Keane 2013.
When we first meet Thora Lowe, she is lying naked and bloodied in a deserted wood, with the carcass of a rabbit beside her. It is- deliberately on my part- an entirely silent chapter in which there is no dialogue and relatively little insight into the character’s thoughts. It is only through the progress of the novel that the mystery around Thora begins to unravel. At first, the reader doesn’t even know her name- she is shrouded in silence and secrecy, a half-feral young woman who speaks through her bright green eyes rather than her mouth.
This secrecy becomes Thora’s defining characteristic: enigmatic, laconic and aloof, it is with great reluctance that this girl finally reveals her great secret: she is not a girl at all, but instead a fully-grown werewolf, and the dead rabbit was her supper on the night of a full moon. She is well and truly a part of the strange supernatural world that Rowan Oakwood, Violet Valvayne Gabriel Bruce and others all navigate through.
But- even after this great reveal- secrets still lurk behind her often bitter silence, and they will not keep quiet. Each one has left their mark, like the jagged scar on Thora’s cheek which devastates her otherwise pretty features, or the anger that simmers in her icy green stare.
Thora lopes into Rowan Oakwood’s life offering to help her on her vampire hunts and to protect her. With Thora’s strength and skill as a werewolf, how can Rowan refuse? The werewolf soon proves to be a valuable ally, and yet there is still something about Thora which is not quite trustworthy. She says she is a drifter, but where is she headed, and what is she running from? She says she hates vampires and enjoys hunting them- but why? And how did she get that terrible, terrible scar?
When more and more vampires begin to infiltrate her life- with both good and bad intentions- Thora’s vicious hatred of their kind begins to waver, and she sees that- in order to survive- she must finally find her voice and speak up.
Secrets and lies, silence and wildness all converge in one brutal werewolf transformation set in the heart of a vampire’s home. Soon, Thora realizes that, whilst not all scars can be seen on the skin, there are some that may just- just-be healed…