As someone who loves to read, I blow through books pretty quickly. I remember staying up for a full twenty four hours just to finish the last installment of the Harry Potter series. Lately though, it seems like none of the books I’ve picked up were ones I could stay glued to for hours. For that reason (and many more), Heart Like Mine was a refreshing change of pace – once I picked it up, I couldn’t make myself set it down until I’d finished reading it.
The book begins with a death. Grace, one of the book’s leading ladies, is at work when she finds out her fiancé Victor’s ex-wife, Kelli, has died. Grace had never really imagined herself as a mother (in fact, she had decided she didn’t want children of her own), but with Kelli gone, she has to step up to help Victor in his new role as a full-time parent. She also has to help Victor, his seven year old son, Max, and his thirteen year old daughter, Ava, cope with the loss of someone they had each loved.
Victor and Kelli got divorced when Ava was right around ten years old. Since then, Ava spent a lot of her time helping her mother take care of Max and deal with crippling bouts of depression. When Kelli dies, Ava begins to act out as she wonders what dark secret her mother had that caused her so much sadness.
Death, divorce, and problems between parents and children are just a few of the tough issues this book tackles. The characters are complex and incredibly realistic, which made it really easy for me to relate to them even though I couldn’t always relate to the problems they faced. I could practically feel Grace’s stress as she tried to balance her job, her love life, and her new responsibilities as a mother figure. Similarly, Ava’s frustration at her circumstances seemed to jump off the page.
One of my favorite things about this book was the way chapters switched between character points of view. Grace, Ava and Kelli are each able to tell their own stories with their own unique voice and style, and switching between them shows how all of their stories are woven together. Kelli’s chapters, which are told as flashbacks, slowly reveal the childhood secret that haunted her throughout her life.From the moment I found out that Kelli had a secret, I desperately wanted to know what it was. It really made this book a page turner for me.
I really enjoyed how, although the majority of the book deals with difficult real-life situations, there were also moments of humor. Heart Like Mine easily could have turned into a dark and depressing novel, but the little funny moments sprinkled throughout made the drama less overwhelming while still keeping things realistic. I really appreciated the lighthearted moments that helped show how the family was healing from Kelli’s loss without taking away from the story’s main themes.
For me, Heart Like Mine was a perfect, realistic blend of humor and drama. It was a beautiful read that managed to be delicate and gritty at the same time. It shows how you can take the broken pieces from several people’s lives and put them together to create something new and wonderful. I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves realistic fiction.
- An Interview with Heart Like Mine Author Amy Hatvany
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- Book Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
Hi! I’m Abbie. I’m a Wisconsin girl who just completed a degree in journalism, which I hope will help me achieve my goal of reading books and writing about them for a living. In my free time, I enjoy reading, watching Doctor Who and hanging out with my boyfriend and his two cats.
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