In the beginning of The Twisted Heart we meet Kit, who is a graduate student working on her thesis about Victorian crimes. She's primarily a loner, preferring to be by herself instead of immersing herself in the world around her. This all changes when she decides on a whim to attend a dance class and meets Joe, who works at the Oxford University as a maths professor. Although Kit is reluctant to be drawn into a romance, Joe is persistent, and over time they develop a unique sort of relationship. Joe is more than what he appears on the surface, though, and as Kit becomes familiar with his family situation she finds herself caught up in it. Combine these complications with the fact that Kit has uncovered some information about Charles Dickens that will change her entire thesis and we come to discover who Kit is at her core.
I'll admit that it took me a bit to get into this one. The novel is complicated, combining Kit's thesis research with her withdrawn personality, and adding a budding relationship on top. I found that once I got about halfway through the book I began to root for her and Joe's relationship, hoping that the two of them would be able to work through their little problems and create something special. The novel and all of its intricate parts won me over in the end, and I found that this was one of those books that you need to reflect on to fully understand when you've finished it. Rebecca Gowan even explains in this interview that this book was meant to be a "mash-up" of various ideas that she had, all combining into one well-thought-out novel.