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Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Pub Date: | Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

Heart of the Matter
Emily Giffin

St. Martin's Press
5-29-10
Hardcover/364 pages
ISBN: 978-0-312-55416-3
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". . . a balanced tale of two women who have strayed off their original paths . . ."

Well done tale of two women in love with the same man.

For Tessa, the problems start on the night of her wedding anniversary. Dr. Nick Russo, her husband and a talented and respected pediatric plastic surgeon, is called to the hospital for a little boy who fell into a fire at a birthday party. Tessa understands; she is a doctor’s wife. What she does not understand is how things can go so wrong so quickly.

Valerie’s world revolves around her son Charlie. She is a bit over protective, but Charlie is the most important person in her world. Her twin brother Jason is second and has been ever since Valerie found out she was pregnant with Lion’s child and Lion was not interested in her. Except for Jason and her mother, she has walked alone—until Dr. Russo walked into Charlie’s room at the hospital, changed their lives, and opened her heart to the possibility of love.

Emily Giffin focuses most of her novels on someone’s infidelity and Heart of the Matter is no exception. Telling the story from two women’s points of view, Giffin balances what could be a knockdown, drag-out fight into a balanced tale of two women who have strayed off their original paths and do not know how they got so lost.

It would be so easy to blame Valerie, as the other woman, but Giffin goes for honesty and compassion, and manages to show the cheating husband in a more tolerable light. The Heart of the Matter is ultimately about choices and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. In clear, heartfelt prose, Giffin gives two women a chance to be heard. Both women, Valerie and Tessa, are distinctly different and there is not a cliché in either story. Tone, mood and supporting cast are well done without being intrusive, providing balance and depth that gets right to the Heart of the Matter.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell