Challenge Participant


Friday, 17 September 2010

Second Hand Heart by Catherine Ryan Hyde

One girl: Vida is nineteen, very sick, and has spent her short life preparing for death. But a new chance brings its own story, because for Vida to live, someone had to die. One man: Richard has just lost his beloved wife in a car accident. He hasn't even begun to address his grief, but feels compelled to meet the girl who inherited his wife's heart. Someone else's heart: In hospital Vida sees Richard and immediately falls in love. Of course he dismisses her as a foolish child. But is she? Can two people be bound by a second hand heart?

I have read a number of Catherine Ryan Hyde's previous books and I have been looking forward to her new release for many months.

The book is split into sections, each section being written from the point of view of one of two people: Vida (the heart recipient) and Richard (the donors husband).The book is written in a journal form and has short chapters within each section. The book is an easy read and I found myself getting lost in the story as the book progressed.

The book starts with Vida as a very ill young lady, who receives the call that everyone on the donor register dreams of, that an organ is available and maybe a match. Following the operation, which was a success, we are introduced to Richard who emails his mother in law talking about his dead wife and trying to decide about wanting to know about the donors his dead wife has saved.
The story follows Richard as he makes the decision, against his mother in laws advice, to visit Vida. As soon as they meet Vida thinks she has fallen in love with him and tries to get to know him more, although Richard is very admirable, and confused, and decides to stay away.
Vida recovers from the operation and starts to live life, wanting to get away from her mothers protective clutches and explore.
Without wanting to give any of the story away I loved the ending of the book. I liked the adventure Vida went on, her trip with her elderly friend and her driver and the following trip which she had to complete for her closure on a part of her life.
There were some interesting subjects addressed in the book, especially on the subject of organ donation and cellular memory. I am not normally interested in the subject of life after death or communication via psychics but I found this book to be sensitively written and completely different. Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote this story using details from a friends heartbreaking memories of waiting for a donor heart for her daughter who was never given this life changing opportunity. The story is not about Richard communicating with her dead wife but Vida having memories of things she had never done or seen in her life - but had the donor?? where is this beautiful scene that she can see when her eyes are closed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend this to all fans of women's fiction everywhere and fans of Catherine Ryan Hyde's previous books who love a great read!

Thank you to Ben Willis from Transworld Publishers for sending me a copy of this book to review.

1 comment:

  1. I have just picked this book up in a 2nd hand bookstore and cannot wait to read it. I didn't read your full review as I was slightly nervous it may give something away! But just reading that you got lost in the pages was enough for me! Thank you!

    I've just done a book review myself: