Kit, a work-obsessed literature student, decides on a whim to go to a dance class. And for a while it looks like Joe, the shadowy figure she meets there, may tempt her to put her books aside and live a little. But as Joe's world becomes increasingly threatening and Kit's research leads her to stumble on an extraordinary historical mystery, she is faced with a choice. Will she hide herself away in her studies or will she make the leap of faith that could change her existence forever? The Twisted Heart is both a hugely enjoyable novel about the challenges of love and a startling exploration of previously unrecognised links between the young Charles Dickens and the deranged murder of a prostitute known as The Countess. Brilliantly weaving these threads together, it confirms Gowers as one of the most exciting voices in Britain today.