Dark Heart of Ilmoure, by Cara N. Delaney

The Book

Dark Heart of Ilmoure
Pages: 151
Age Group: Adult
Published on 12/26/2022
Publisher: Self-Published
Available on:


Years ago, all she wanted was to leave. Now, a web of secrets might ensnare her forever.

When Iris Grey returns to her hometown of Ilmoure years after a bitter parting, she hopes for reconciliation in the face of a tragedy. Instead, she arrives to a town changed for the worse, a cold welcome from people she once loved, and a family that seems to be keeping secrets from her at every turn.

When those secrets become too heavy to ignore, Iris starts to dig deeper. What she finds leads her to question her very perception of reality. Faced with old wounds and new revelations, Iris finds herself mired in a plot that threatens to swallow herself, the town, and the people she once loved.

My Review

Dark Heart of Ilmoure is a horror novella, written by Cara N. Delaney, which we are reading as part of the SFINCS' finals. A book that tells the story of the return of Iris Grey to Ilmoure, her hometown, as she has been summoned for the funeral of one of her nephews, after six years separated from the family, as they don't really accept her queer condition.

With her return to Ilmoure, secrets that were hidden start appearing in front of her eyes, creating confusion and making her wonder what is her family keeping from her; a sensation that slowly grows until a certain moment precipitates the great finale and the encounter with the truth.
A story that is competently written, with a clear prose and which doesn't hide its Lovecraftian inspirations.

However, in my opinion, I feel the structure of the story could be different, as we spent most of the time building a tension that finally ends being unresolved, keeping many questions in vague states and not really creating a payoff for the slow burn in the terror.

Said that, this is a competent novella, probably being closer a "not for me"; if you like classic Lovecraftian horror with some added queer elements, Dark Heart of Ilmoure might be the perfect one for you. 

Disclaimer: This novella has been read as part of the SFINCS. This review/rating only represents my personal opinion and it might differ with what the team decides.

The Author/s

Cara N. Delaney

Cara N. Delaney

Cara lives in a hole in the ground, where she spends her days building whole worlds with nothing but words on the page and a lively imagination.

She may be summoned with a potion brewed from magic beans, but there is no telling what will happen if you do.

Once in a blue moon, you might catch her out and about on a walk through the local vineyards, soaking up the sun and taking pictures of trees.