Heart of the Matter Hardcover – May 11 2010
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!
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?Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Emily is one of my fave authors! I absolutely loved this book. I can totally relate to the story. 😃Published 16 months ago by Mar
After reading almost all of her books I must say that I very much like Emily Giffin style of writting. Heart of the matter been one of my favorite book from her. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2013 by Miriam
This one was difficult for me to get through because there was so much deep emotion involved.
Made me quite sad, so if your up for an emotional story, then this is a solid... Read more
received the book in a timely manner and qreat quality. i received exactly what i ordered with no problems or hassels.Published on Feb. 22 2012 by t
This book really tugs at the heartstrings! While I could most certainly identify with Tessa, I also found myself feeling for Valerie. Read morePublished on July 20 2011 by iLeelee
I love Emily Giffin and this book did not disappoint. I read it in 4 hrs cover to cover and can't wait for the next one.Published on April 19 2011 by cdnmickeyfan
This is the first book I've read by Emily Giffin, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of her writing. Read morePublished on Aug. 10 2010 by Annette - Edmonton
Cynthia Nixon not only won hearts and plaudits as Miranda on HBO's tremendously successful Sex and the City, but has often displayed her acting chops on Broadway (Hurly-Burly,... Read morePublished on May 28 2010 by Gail Cooke