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Secret Places of the Heart

H. G. Wells

Book Overview: 

Richard Hardy, a member of the British gentry, tries to resolve problems in his marriage as he travels with a psychiatrist. The book is to a great extent autobiographical. H. G. had read some brilliantly composed articles by a writer who wrote under the name Rebecca West. In one piece she called H. G. "pseudo-scientific." He contacted her and asked what she meant. When they met for lunch, it was the beginning of a very intense and volatile relationship. Soon she was pregnant, so he divided his time between her and his wife Jane with their two sons. After World War I, Rebecca became more demanding. She wanted him to divorce Jane. Finally, in 1923 Wells told Rebecca she should either get serious about her writing or break off their relationship. The criticism stung her. After a speaking tour in the U.S., she returned newly independent, and the two went their separate ways. In this novel H. G. based the character Martin on Rebecca, who both mesmerized and repelled him.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She was charming. She is charming. She is a wonderfully intelligent and understanding woman. She has made a home for me—a delightful home. I am one of those men who have no instinct for home making. I owe my home and all the comfort and dignity of my life to her ability. I have no excuse for any misbehaviour—so far as she is concerned. None at all. By all the rules I should have been completely happy. But instead of my marriage satisfying me, it presently released a storm of long-controlled desires and imprisoned cravings. A voice within me became more and more urgent. 'This will not do. This is not love. Where are your goddesses? This is not love.'... And I was unfaithful to my wife within four years of my marriage. It was a sudden overpowering impulse. But I suppose the ground had been preparing for a long time. I forget now all the emotions of that adventure. I suppose at the time it seemed beautiful and wonderful.... I do not excuse myself. Still less do I. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Kinda slow at the start but as he starts on his journey of self-discovery and falls truly in love with a woman, it sad that it ends with him taking his last breath with no one noticing, not even the night nurse. Spent his life alone with no real companionship only to experience it briefly and even s

I like it a lot that this is a novel of ideas, that Wells uses it to observe the world from a bird's eye view, and I was interested in his vision of a future which in many ways proved to be prophetic (like the changed status of women and the relationships between them and men). I was also interested

A shocking frank discussion of society & sexuality in the early 1900's.
While society has come a long way in openness of subjects since then, individuals are still mucking about - trying to figure out themselves & their relationships - with little success.

While other commentaries on this short novel

Although a very enjoyable read, for my last ever H G Wells book, I was hoping for something a bit more, to end with a bang rather than a fizzle.

Like with other works, instead of focusing on his Fabian Society Beliefs, he turned his attention to Political Philosophy. He we have two psychiatrists disc

A very powerful and thought-inspiring story, with interesting characters dissecting various topics, such as love, motivation, history, culture, and the global well-being of all mankind.
Loved it from start to finish.

A beautifully developed characterisation of a man with genius torn by a belief in a new age, meeting a woman soulmate who can never be one, and the social realities of England and his wife.

Starts a bit slow - an industrialist comes to a doctor complaining of odd ailments and they journey together to try and uncover the sources of his illness. But I was fascinated by how much Wells used this novel to reveal deeper pyscholigical truths, about himself, but maybe about all of us. Also, so

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