Losing Heart by Donna Brown

Losing Heart by Donna Brown(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

“I hate you. I hate you with all of Sylvia’s heart.”

Helen has waited for months for the heart that will save her life. After reaching out to the grieving mother of her donor heart, Helen realises that a second chance comes at a price. The price, she soon realises, is much steeper than she’d ever have chosen to pay.

There’s more than one way to break a heart. There’s more than one way to destroy a life…

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy through Masquerade Tours’ Reader Round-Up in exchange for an honest review.]

I didn’t even really read the blurb all that closely before I requested the book, to be honest.  So the events of the book were somewhat of a shock for me.  A pleasant shock, as it turns out.

Helen is an amazing character.  At first she learns that she’s dying of congestive heart failure when she’s still so young, only in her 40s.  Then, thankfully, she gets a donor heart from a young woman killed in a car accident and thus gets a new lease on life.  Of course she feels guilty that she thrives from another family’s suffering but she is very eager for life to go on.  Except that everyone around her really is acting weird.  Her husband calls her an ingrate for being tired while recovering instead of going around and volunteering to house the homeless and be perpetually cheerful 24/7.  The donor’s only living family, her mother, contacts Helen and at first seems rather nice but starts to reveal a darker side involving some pretty interesting mind games.  And of course Helen starts an affair with a doctor, who turns out to be a really awesome guy but feels guilty that she’s immediately doing a ‘bad’ thing upon getting a new lease on life.

So Helen is going through all of these crazy emotions at once and as a reader it was absolutely fascinating.  The fact that she didn’t immediately turn into a saint but rather continued living as a normal person was far more believable and her guilt over her affair was palpable but we also got to see her happy, which she clearly isn’t with her husband.  It’s kind of jarring to see how her new boyfriend treats her in comparison to her husband, who seems increasingly distant and critical of Helen.  Especially when Sylvia’s mother is around as a living reminder of the heartbreak that gave Helen a new lease on life.

The plot is amazing.  I think you can kind of guess the gist of it from the blurb but I have to say that the actual plot is far better than the blurb really hints at.  I can’t really describe it all that much without spoiling the whole thing but let’s just say that not everyone is as they appear in Losing Heart.  Donna Brown’s characters are people and that means they are flawed; sometimes they lie, cheat or cover important things up in order to get what they want.  Sometimes they have misunderstandings with their friends and/or partners that lead to disaster.  Sometimes they put their needs ahead of the needs of everyone else.  So while the plot is fast-paced because the book is so short, it really is character-driven and very realistic.  The ending is sort of predictable but also sort of surprising.

And no, that last sentence really won’t make sense until you read the book.  So go and pick up Losing Heart!  It’s definitely worth your while.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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