June 19, 2011

What the Heart Wants • Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter book cover
Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Source/Format: Bought || Paperback

Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon.  Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.  

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie--a boy who has never known his father.  After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance--and even to some degree, friendships--believing that it is always safer not to expect too much. 

Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children.  But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined. 

Heart of the Matter is written in Emily Giffin's style - a strong female perspective, matter of fact and brutally honest. This is what drew me to her book Something Borrowed in the first place, and what has kept me returning time and again despite the delicate subject matter she covers.

I was gripped by the subject matter of Heart of the Matter quite intensely. Kudos to Giffin for portraying the whole concept of adultery in a light that allows us to have both perspectives - the betrayed woman and the woman who betrays. I think it was illuminating to read about the affair from both sides, and allowed me to better understand both women as well.

There are other characters that I loved - Charlie, Jason, Dex, Rachel and Cate - and I like how Giffin uses them to propel the story forward in many instances. They each have their own unique part to play and are very well-developed, considering how they're mostly secondary or even third-ary (I just made that up) characters. Nick's character was handsome, kind and talented - who wouldn't like a guy like him? Even I, who was a mere reader, found myself attracted to him (FYI, I was thinking of McDreamy the whole time...). However, I found myself utterly frustrated and annoyed at his actions.

Giffin's Heart of the Matter managed to make me think about serious issues in relationships, not just cheating. I feel as if I gained a whole new level of knowledge, one that will be utilised well in my own relationship. I'm quite glad that I picked it up and finally got around to reading it.


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