HEART OF THE MATTER by Emily Giffin [Review]

Emily Giffin is known for writing emotional stories about flawed, yet sympathetic, characters and their messy relationships, and she does it again with Heart of the Matter.

The story is about two different women, Tessa Russo and Valerie Anderson, who are connected by their separate relationships with Dr. Nick Russo. Tessa is a stay-at-home mom to two young children and is married to Nick, a successful plastic surgeon in Boston. Valerie, a lawyer and single mom, meets Nick when he treats her injured son. Told from both Tessa and Valerie’s perspectives, Heart of the Matter is seemingly about marriage and what happens when good people are caught in an impossible situation-but that’s not the whole story. Giffin also offers up endless thoughts on motherhood, focusing on the challenges facing a professional woman who gives up her career to stay at home with the children.

At times, Heart of the Matter is reminiscent of an episode of Desperate Housewives, which made me desperately want to fast-forward through the audiobook. This is primarily thanks to Tessa and her group of shallow, rich friends who spend their time lunching, gossiping, and playing tennis. She seems to think that she isn’t like these friends, that she somehow has more depth, but I wasn’t convinced. In contrast, I found Valerie more down to earth and very sympathetic, though slightly boring. Ultimately, the reader can see what is going to happen from a mile away, so it becomes about whether you are interested in the characters’ nonstop self-absorbed thoughts on marriage, love, infidelity, private schools, and motherhood. Personally, I just didn’t find these musings all that interesting.

On a positive note, Cynthia Nixon narrates the audiobook and she is just fantastic. She has the ability to convey a lot of emotion with her voice and I was impressed with her performance.

Unfortunately, I have to say that this is my least favorite of Giffin’s books. Something Borrowed remains my favorite and the best part of Heart of the Matter is an appearance by Dex and Rachel. So die hard Emily Giffin fans might want to get the book from the library just to catch up with Dex and Rachel, but I can’t really recommend the book to anyone else.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: Macmillan Audio | Length: 10 Hours and 18 Minutes (Unabridged) | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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