Monday, June 13, 2011

Review - Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Title: Heart of the Matter (Amazon)
Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publish Date: March 2010
Pages: 352
Genre: YA/Adult
Source: Friend

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. 

In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.

Kim’s Take – As usual, this was another great book by Emily Giffin. Not quite as good as the others I have read, but great all the same. The story seems to be a little bit different from the ones I have already read but you can always count on her books to be a great read.

In this book, Tessa has become a stay-at-home mom to her two children, while her husband is a well-renown, good-looking, pediatric surgeon. But Tessa is not worried about his fidelity because it was love at first sight for both of them and Tessa broke her engagement to be with him. She spends her days devoted to her children, with her only outside friendships being the nosy, gossiping parents of the children her kids go to private school with. Not the life she chose for herself but one she is willing to live to spend the time with her children without spending so much time away from home working. Her best friend, and confidant, lives in New York, though she speaks with her frequently.

Valerie has no choice but to work outside the home. She is a single parent to her son and works as a lawyer. Her son, Charlie, has never met his father and Valerie prefers it that way. He turned out to be quite a loser. Valerie’s only outside companionship is that of her twin brother. Her life is devoted to her son, though she is often very lonely.

On a fateful night, her son insists on going to a sleep over with one of his classmates, though Valerie has always been very overprotective and not happy about letting him go.
After an accident at the sleepover results in Charlie being severely burned, Valerie’s life is turned upside down. And she meets Tessa’s husband, Nick, who is to become Charlie’s surgeon.

Throughout Charlie’s surgeries and hospital stay, Valerie and Nick seem to become close friends. After spending so much time together, even after Charlie has been released from the hospital, the friendship develops into much more. Tessa begins to suspect that something is going on but is unaware that it is with Valerie, whom she has never met.

After Tesssa finds out about the affair and kicks Nick out of her house, she finds out that the other woman is Valerie and asks for a meeting. Tessa needs to know if Nick told Valerie that he loved her. With this information, Tessa must make a decision to become a single mother or try to save her marriage.

The characters were easy to relate to and I found myself feeling badly for all of them at some point. The book gives you a look into infidelity in a relationship and how solutions are not as easy as they seem before an event like this happens in your own relationship. And I really liked how some of the minor characters turned out to be some from her earlier books!

An over-all great read that I would really recommend.

 Kim’s Rating 


  1. I've been wanting to read this book for a while now, but it's a bit down the TBR list. :( Great review, though.. it sounds great!!

  2. I've liked what I've read from Emily Griffin so far, and this one sounds like it would be good as well, although like you said it does sound a bit different from her usual stuff. I liked your review, I'll be giving this one a shot. : )

    Ann @Semisweet

  3. I've never read anything from Emily Griffin but I'll have to discover more of her books. Seems like you enjoyed it.

  4. Wow, the feel of this book sounds intense! Nice review!

  5. I've seen this book around, but never actually read up on it. It sounds really interesting! I still haven't had a chance to read anything by Ms. Giffin, but you're really making me want these books! :) Thanks for sharing!

  6. Oooh I may have to read this one! It sounds very complex yet good. Infidelity is a touchy subject so I am eager to see how Griffin approaches it.

  7. I've never really read any books by Emily Giffin but from all the reviews that I've read, I feel like I should give it a try. In you opinion, which one of her books is the best that I should try?

    I'm here from the Comment Exchange Program. Think that this is the first time I stumble upon your site and absolutely adore the design (especially the owls up there!). Great job =)

  8. Thanks for the awesome review, I've been thinking about trying more books by Ms. Giffin and this seems like a good place to start, even though it doesn't sound like there will be a happy ending.

    It still seems like an interesting story.

    thanks for sharing.

  9. Heart of the Matter is told from two points of view; Tessa, a mother who recently started staying home with her kids, and Valerie, a single working mother whose son Charlie is seriously injured in a freak accident. When Tessa's husband Nick becomes the surgeon assigned to Charlie, Valerie cannot help being captivated by the man who will save her son.

  10. I've just finished the book, and although it's well written, it would have helped if Nick's POV is also included. I've read a few books on infidelity, and usually I'm able to empathize with the unfaithful husband. In this case, I find the adulterous pair totally unlikeable and selfish. Nick should talk to Tessa if he's unhappy and fix it. As for Valerie, she's got no business coveting someone else's husband. Worse, she makes excuses about Tessa in order to start the affair. It serves her right that the one who's most ultimately hurt is her own son. All in all, I'd have liked the book much better if Nick had grovelled more and been more convincing about his reasons in ending the affair and wanting Tess back.