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Heart of the Matter Hardcover – May 11 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (May 11 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312554168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312554163
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[A] modern-day Jane Austen." —Vanity Fair
"In HEART OF THE MATTER, [Giffin] again uses her great wit and gift of storytelling to weave a tale that’s nuanced, empathetic and, at times, heartbreaking. Matters of the heart are always complicated, and Giffin deftly shows you why." —Associated Press

"Giffin’s latest opens with one of the more haunting scenes in recent memory [and] towards the end things are so tense that the pages pop with each turn." —People

"With [an] adulterous path outlined, Giffin could easily take sides. But she doesn't. Instead, she alternates between Tessa's and Valerie's points of view, dissecting the feelings and insecurities that can dismantle even the most intelligent people… Amid all the angst, Giffin displays her trademark ability to capture the complexities of human emotions while telling a rip-roaring tale." —Washington Post

"Giffin’s calling card has always been her ability to delve into the workings of relationships. But in her latest book the best-selling novelist probes deeper than ever… With intelligence, humor and piercing insight, Giffin shows that in matters of love, it is possible to be right and yet so wrong." —Family Circle

"With realistic dialogue and a sharp depiction of relationships, Giffin crafts an emotional, effortless read." —More

"Giffin beautifully shows how quickly need becomes love…[and her] chronicle of fluid, almost casual marital disconnect is a powerful cautionary tale." —Boston Globe

"In HEART OF THE MATTER, Giffin delivers her best book yet. Once again she plays with the idea of point of view, but this time she wraps it into a single, tightly written narrative that creates an addictive page-turning sense of tension. [W]hat makes this novel special are the emotional depths to which Giffin takes her readers [and] the question of what the aftermath can possibly look like for these two likable characters is what keeps readers glued to Giffin's engaging tale." —Dallas Morning News

"There are no easy answers here, in a novel that is consistently engrossing right to the surprising finish." —Seattle Times

"Giffin’s latest novel delves deep into the all-too-tricky matters of the heart…this juicy read will make you feel like you’re sneaking a peek into your best friend’s diary." —Redbook

"Giffin's books are fast-moving, emotionally absorbing stories about female friendships, marriage and childbirth." —Chicago Tribune

"Even as you steel yourself for [the book’s pivotal moment], it's hard to read when it happens, which is what sets this book a step above so many others...[Giffin] creates characters in Tessa, Valerie and Nick who are believable and mostly well-intentioned even as they make obviously bad choices." —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"As HEART OF THE MATTER takes its time documenting the inexorable slide toward an affair, the slow-moving sequence of events rings true." —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Emily Giffin’s newest novel is a little painful to read. OK, a lot painful to read. As a reader, you find yourself in the oddly painful position of rooting for two women who can't both get what they want. Your heart breaks for both of them [but] you'll know that feeling this kind of emotional torture with and about characters is a good thing. It's simply cathartic." —Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

"Unfolding from Tessa and Valerie’s alternating viewpoints, [HEART OF THE MATTER] will draw you in with beautifully complex characters who come across as nuanced and as flawed as people in real life. Giffin avoids victimizing Tessa while allowing empathy for Valerie, underscoring that all of us are capable of making mistakes that hurt those we love most." —VIV magazine

"[A] brutally honest book in that it never falters in its depiction of hope and heartache. Emily Giffin is a talented writer who re-gifts her talent in the books she creates…With HEART OF THE MATTER she turns up the heat and gives us her best novel yet." —Huffington Post

"Giffin punctures suburban trophy mothers and private school privilege, rising above the often-shallow chick fray with a gimlet-eyed skepticism for the traps modern women fall into." —The Atlantan

"Giffin’s talent lies in making her characters believable and relatable, and readers will be enthralled by this layered, absorbing novel." —Booklist ("Starred Review")

"HEART OF THE MATTER is a messy, complicated, often uncomfortable portrait of a marriage—and two families—in crisis. But it has everything readers love about Emily Giffin’s books: the heart, the empathy, the truth." —Bookpage

"Questions of infidelity fill this book, which follows the life of pediatric surgeon Nick Russo through the eyes of Tessa, his wife, and Valerie, the mother of one of his patients, whom he is tempted to have an affair with. Transforming the women into more and more sympathetic characters with each turn, HEART OF THE MATTER is an emotional tale of temptation, redemption and letting love lead the way." —Woman’s Day

"Emily Giffin continues her streak of penning summer must-reads with HEART OF THE MATTER." —New York Metro

"A touching story about marriage, fidelity and two mothers who find themselves inextricably linked." —New York Family

"Though Emily Giffin has examined relationships in all of her novels, she reaches a new level of intensity with HEART OF THE MATTER. With characters who are older and wiser than those in her past books, she is able to examine the more serious topics that present themselves within long-term relationships and parenthood. Her characteristic flowing style of writing makes this book no different from her others: one you won’t want to put down." —Woodbury magazine

About the Author

Emily Giffin is the New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof and Love The One You’re With.  She lives in Atlanta with her husband and three young children. 

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I've loved Emily Giffin's books since I first picked up "Something Borrowed". "Something Blue" quickly became my favourite book of hers, and "Love the One You're With" and "Baby Proof" were good, but not as good as I had hoped. However, "Heart of the Matter" is, in my opinion, her best book to date. The subject matter is not as light as her previous books, but the depth of emotion and the skill with which she writes is incredible.

I'm going to be deliberately vague when describing this book, since the publisher's description is as well. Part of what made this book so compelling was discovering the various details of the plot on my own, and not having someone spoil it for me ahead of time. What I will say is that "Heart of the Matter" is written from the viewpoints of two very different women: Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and married to a skilled pediatric surgeon. She has recently quit her job so that she can stay at home and focus on being a mom, but her decision has left her with a vague dissatisfaction. Valerie Anderson is a single mother to six-year-old Charlie, as well as an attorney. She's fairly satisfied with her life, but can't shake the feeling that something is missing. One night the lives of these two women intersect, and nothing will be the same for them again.

As I mentioned, "Heart of the Matter" is one of Emily Giffin's best books to date. She conveys such emotion with her words- at parts of the book I literally gasped out loud, finding it almost painful to continue reading the story. I felt as though I was experiencing the things that the characters were; that's how involved I was.

Giffin also takes a difficult situtation, one where there is not a wrong or a right answer, and tries to present two views without ever choosing sides.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This could have been a better book, but I wished she would have written them both in first person or both in third person. I don't like how it switches from first for Tessa to third for Valerie. I like the idea of the affair written from both perspectives, which is why I decided to stick with the book. I've always liked Emily Giffen, and I will likely continue to read her books. I have every one of her books that she's written so far. I think her first two books are the best, but I just find she is good for a light read. So that's why I decided to read this book from beginning to end.

I honestly think that there should have been more of a build up in Nick and Valerie's relationship. It just seems like they suddenly loved each other, and I just don't buy it. This man convinced Tessa to call off her engagement to be with him, and they seemed to love each other still even from the beginning of this book. It's hard to see how he could just suddenly be in love with another woman unless he never loved Tessa. I kind of wonder if Valerie was right when she asked if he enjoyed being a savior. He seemed to be happy with the idea of being Tessa's saviour, and then suddenly he loves Valerie when he needs to be there for her. I just can't find his love genuine for her. I also have a hard time even believing Valerie's love. It seems like it's just she was grateful for a man showing her affection and taking charge. That's why I wish there was more build up for their relationship.

I actually liked the Tessa character though, and I liked how Dex and Rachel were in this book. That's something I like about Emily Giffen. Her characters always seem to be connected in some way, and we get to see how they're doing later on in the books. I liked the idea of Tessa being Dex's sister.
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Format: Hardcover
OK - I have to say - not what I expected at all. From reading the book flap I thought I was getting one of those heart-wrenching stories about dying children and heart transplants. I was wrong. When I started this blog, I made myself a promise to avoid spoilers as much as possible. Because of that promise, I'm not going to tell you what I was wrong about. Sorry.

Heart of the Matter is written, in alternating chapters, by two women, Tessa and Valerie. It is the story of how their lives intersected one day in a tragic way and the fallout of bad choices and emotional decisions. That's all you get for story line.

Despite being thwarted in my expectations, I was moved by the reality of the book. It was one of those books where, when I had to put it down, I wondered what the characters were up to in my absence. As if they were real and I was somehow watching their lives through a magic window that allowed me into their thoughts and emotions. It was a compelling book. I have to admit that I started to get worried about 2/3 of the way into the book, that I would be horribly disappointed in the ending. Then I moved on to the thought that there was no way to end the story well. The ending was going to be bad! Having finished the book, I can tell you that I was, once again, wrong. The ending was deeply satisfying.

This was my first Emily Griffin book, it won't be my last!
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Format: Audio CD
Author Emily Giffin has an ardent following, but this is the first of her books that I've read. The writing is smooth and effective but I found the story somehow too small, too often told, without that one original angle that could have lifted it to the ranks of the memorable.

The book opens with Dr. Nick Russo and his wife Tessa enjoying an evening out to celebrate their seventh wedding anniversary. Nick is an esteemed plastic surgeon in a Boston hospital and Tessa has given up her job to stay at home with their two children. Theirs is a life of comfort, but Nick (as is the way with surgeons, ho hum) works too much, and Tessa, worried that she'll lose herself without a job to establish her individuality, finds the workload of caring for a house and two children (and keeping up with the other mothers) rather exhausting and stressful.

Nick is called away from the anniversary dinner to attend a young boy burned in a fire. The boy's mother, Valerie, is a corporate lawyer, raising her son on her own and feeling lonely and also sad that her son is growing up without a father.

Actually these characters are not quite so flat and cliched as they sound; and cliches usually describe elements we recognize as frequently occurring. But in Heart of the Matter, these people have a little history, and some family connections, but mainly they have the immediate situation of Nick's and Valerie's growing attraction to each other. It doesn't feel like quite enough.

The book alternates between Tessa's first-person story and a narrative from Valerie's point of view. This closes the boundaries even tighter, reduces the story to just this one set of questions: will they? won't they?
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