Heart of the MatterHeart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
Published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan

Tessa Russo is the wife of a pediatric surgeon, and a stay-at-home mom to their two young children.  Despite her trepidation at giving up her career to raise her children, she is happy with her decision and leads a satisfying life.  Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to her six-year-old son.  She loves her son and her job and isn’t looking for romance, having been disappointed too many times in the past.  One fateful night, Tessa and Valerie’s lives intersect, and neither of them will ever be the same.

This will be a short review because I really, really enjoyed Heart of the Matter but if you are going to read the book yourself I’d prefer not to reveal too much about it.  I didn’t know anything about the plot going in, and that worked just perfectly for me.

Giffin so expertly created these sympathetic characters in Tessa and Valerie, I loved them both.  Neither of them are perfect women – in fact, one of them does a pretty horrible thing – but I couldn’t help connecting to them anyway.  They just felt so real, so authentic.  I continue to be amazed at Giffin’s ability to create realistic characters and put them in realistic situations, causing me to question how I would react if I were faced with the same circumstances.

I loved the alternating points of view in the novel, too.  Tessa and Valerie had different, distinct voices and I loved that it was so easy for me to tell the difference between the two of them.

I listened to Heart of the Matter on audio.  It was narrated by Cynthia Nixon (of Sex and the City fame) and she did an excellent job.  If you are an audiobook fan, I can’t more highly recommend choosing to consume this book in that format.

If you are even a slight Emily Giffin fan, Heart of the Matter is a must-read.  This is a smart women’s fiction novel about women that could be real people, in a real situation, which is what makes the book so excellent.