Format: paperback, B format, 198 x 129mm, 320pp
Allyson Stack was educated at Yale, Arizona State and has a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.
Arizona, 1884, and Vera Palmer, a 23 year old widow from genteel Connecticut arrives in the frontier town of Goose Flat to take up a prospecting claim inherited from her dead husband, and a part-time job as a bookkeeper in a local boarding house. The boarding house is in fact a brothel but, needing the money, Vera takes the job anyway.
She’s soon drawn into the violent, abused lives of the working girls and Sadie, their Madame. Vera is attracted to bar regular Will Keane, a local lawyer, who helps her investigate the mining claim. Can love offer her an escape or will the unpredictable, dangerous world surrounding the Star Mansion brothel destroy the relationship and Vera’s hopes of a new life? Here Allyson Stack offers a gripping, beautifully wrought love story amidst a wholly authentic evocation of the Wild West at its most threatening.
Praise for Under the Heartless Blue
‘A memorable historical novel with an outstanding heroine.’ Sunday Herald
‘An astonishing, accomplished novel. The vivid, visceral descriptions transport the reader to the Arizona of the 1880s and French Battlefields of 1918 as we follow the life of the extraordinary Vera Palmer. Alive with memorable characters, from the working girls in the brothel where Vera works as bookkeeper, to the pioneering and brave young woman doctor, ‘Tosh’, whom she befriends in wartime France, this is a novel to be savoured and remembered.’ Maureen Myant, author of The Search
‘An impressive debut that juxtaposes two periods in history which, though close in time, often seem so far apart in our imagination. From the Wild West to the Western Front, in Vera we have a protagonist, vulnerable and adventerous, open-hearted and independent, in whose company it is a pleasure to travel. The writing is luxurious and sensual. Under the Heartless Blue is a bewitching story of love, loss and survival told with humour and heart-breaking honesty.” Iain Maloney, author of The Waves Burn Bright, Silma Hill and First Time Solo
‘Allyson Stack brings us a committed, luminous debut; a historical novel you won’t forget. Set beneath the capricious skies of 1918 Europe and the wild old Arizona Territory, Vera’s story is gutsy, effervescent and mesmerizing.’ Alan Warner, author of Morven Callar, The Stars in the Bright Sky and Dead Man’s Pedal
Spotlighted in the Daily Record Bookclub for ‘…the very best of debut fiction.’