For those of you outside the UK I should start by explaining about Yorkshire. Do you remember the TV show The Twilight Zone?
No. Perhaps that’s the wrong way to begin.
Understand in the first instance that Yorkshire is like no place else on earth. If you want to encounter the UK’s most beautiful countryside and scenery, you must go to Yorkshire. If you want to encounter the bleakest and most hostile barren landscapes, you’ll probably find them in the same spot three hours later. If you want to encounter the warmest and most welcoming natives in the world, you’ll meet them all in Yorkshire. If you want to meet the surliest and most menacing curmudgeons in the universe, then you’ve come to the right place.
I say all of this as a Yorkshireman born and bred and proud of his heritage and home county. I say all of this as someone who has paid homage at Haworth (home of the inimitable Bronte sisters with a bleaker-than-bleak landscape that was the inspiration for Wuthering Heights). I say this as a reader who has just been introduced to the eerie village of Heddlestone in Kristina Lloyd’s Split.
Virgin’s Black Lace imprint is renowned for producing top quality fiction from top quality writers. Split is no exception. The story of Katie, a London librarian who moves to take a job at the puppet museum in this village on the moors, Split is described as a neo-gothic tale of bondage and submission.
But it’s so much more than that.
The puppet museum itself is an unsettling location for the novel. Aside from carrying undertones of childhood expectations dryly preserved for posterity, or manipulated marionettes controlled by barely glimpsed forces, it’s also impossible to escape the always-watching, never-seeing eyes of the museum’s exhibits. Kristina Lloyd’s choice of this location for her novel makes an unsettling background that works perfectly in this most wuthering part of the world.
Jake and Eddie are brothers. Yorkshire brothers. This means that they are as alike as only brothers can be. And they are as diametrically opposite in that way that is peculiar to Yorkshire. One offers comfort. The other gives commands. One is peculiar yet passionate. The other is despicable yet desirable.
Katie is immediately drawn to the Byronic Jake but she is also seduced by the boorishly arrogant Eddie. Her affections are split perfectly between the pair. Split is the hot and chilling tale of what Katie did next.
Kristina Lloyd writes sex with formidable force. The eroticism in this novel is glorious and gratifying without being gratuitous and graphic. Katie tells her own story with a distinctive blend of the impartial and the impassioned. This is a masterpiece of erotic storytelling that, like the village of Heddlestone, draws the reader in and holds them there indefinitely.
As mentioned before, Yorkshire is a land of binary opposites. It’s heavenly and hostile, perfection and purgatory, beautiful and barbaric. It’s the ideal location for this perfect story of puppets and punishment and powerful passion.
© 2007 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.