Jesse Blackadder: The Raven's Heart

Mary rides again

Emma Ashmere


The Raven’s Heart
by Jesse Blackadder
Fourth Estate, $32.99 pb, 459 pp, 9780732291884


Mary Queen of Scots, widow of the youthful French king, returns from her long exile in France to a country bereft of pageantry. A young messenger, Robert, gallops through the deserted streets of Edinburgh announcing her contentious return. When Robert’s horse is offered as royal transport to the palace, the flame-haired Mary rejects the side saddle, saying, ‘In France a queen rides astride.’  This moment telegraphs the pre-occupations of Jesse Blackadder’s second novel, The Raven’s Heart, in which history, invention, gender, sexuality, power, expectation, and reality collide.

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Published in March 2011 no. 329
Emma Ashmere

Emma Ashmere

Emma Ashmere has a PhD in English from La Trobe University investigating the use of history in fiction, and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide. Her short stories have appeared in Etchings 9, Sleepers Almanac no. 6, Griffith Review 28, The Age and the University of Canberra’s Monitor. She lives in northern New South Wales.

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