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Heart of the Matter

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Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance—and even to some degree, friendships—believing that it is always safer not to expect too much. Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children.  But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.  In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.


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Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance—and even to some degree, friendships—believing that it is always safer not to expect too much. Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children.  But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.  In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.

30 review for Heart of the Matter

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cooper

    The formula for HOTM: Weak women characters + Cheating scandal + Blaming parents for the way they are + Forgiveness on the woman's part = $UCE$$. Let's review. I am getting very frustrated with the cheating scandal that seems to plague all of her books. Haven't we seen this before? The story begins with Tessa and Nick, a seemingly perfect couple who have it all. A high powered career, 2 beautiful children, rich friends, yet there are cracks in their foundation. BLAHHHHHHHHHHH. Give me something n The formula for HOTM: Weak women characters + Cheating scandal + Blaming parents for the way they are + Forgiveness on the woman's part = $UCE$$. Let's review. I am getting very frustrated with the cheating scandal that seems to plague all of her books. Haven't we seen this before? The story begins with Tessa and Nick, a seemingly perfect couple who have it all. A high powered career, 2 beautiful children, rich friends, yet there are cracks in their foundation. BLAHHHHHHHHHHH. Give me something new here! Sounds like every single chick lit book I have ever read. (i.e anything by Lauren Weisberger, Plum Sykes, Candace Bushnell, etc). Emily Giffin could have empowered women all over the world by saying NO to cheating husbands. Standing up for themselves and not what they perceive "love" Is it love if you cheat? Can you forgive someone who thinks with their dick and not their head or heart? The characters lacked substance therefore, it was not believable to me. I could not see Tessa and Nick forgiving each other. Now, I "liked" (meaning she was only okay) Tessa, but I hated how weak she was. In fact, she was so dull and blah, bananas have more character than she does. But the cheating scandal again.... WHY. The other things that bothers me is the fact that Tessa placed a lot of the blame on herself. It was NOT Tessa's fault. What was she supposed to do? Provide 24/7 to a man? I think not. It does take two to ruin a marriage, but how is Tessa supposed to confront loser Nick? How was she supposed to make it work with an unavailable surgeon who thinks the sun shines only for him? Nick was a loser, "falling" in love with loser Valerie and leaving her. WTF. You're a dumbass with once again NO character, no substance and NO guts. He was a dickhead who was bored with his fancy car, and his fancy life. Well, that's the life you chose and you did not choose to make it work. You don't love Tessa or Valerie. You love yourself. You chose to ruin your life for the thrill of the chase and stupid Tessa decided to take him back. C'MON. Some guy screwed another lady, hurt everyone in the process and is so dull its hard to believe that he actually cared about anyone. It didn't even seem like he was alive. Also, Emily Giffin ruined Rachel for me. It seemed like Emily was mad at Rachel and made her into this mopey, housewife with the perfect relationship with Dex. Obviously, that was not the case, but it just seemed like Rachel was thrown into the book as a boring person. It was so odd the way she portrayed her. Also, the reason why I had to go back and talk about Valerie was because I completely forgot about her. She was as boring as Styrofoam peanuts and what was her sons name? Nothing comes to mind except for BORING. I usually don't forget characters, but really, who was Valerie again? What role did she play? I am unhappy with this book, as I was extremely unhappy with Love the One You're With. I'd like to see characters with more depth and subtance, rather than the forumla that Ms. Giffin tends to use.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Crumb

    Blurb: Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance—and even to some degree, friend Blurb: Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life. Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance—and even to some degree, friendships—believing that it is always safer not to expect too much. Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined. In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most. My Review When writing a review, there are some books that I need to think on for a period of time before beginning the writing process. And then, there are some books, like this..that I feel it is best to get my thoughts down right away. I can't really explain how I differentiate the two, except to say that it is just a feeling. And whichever way I choose, stepping back for a while before I begin to write, or writing it immediately, like I am now, one way is no better than the other. When I read a book, I like to get sucked in from page one. This book didn't do that for me..it took me a little longer to truly become invested in the plot. However, when that happened all bets were off! I was glued to the page. The pages flew at a surprisingly fast pace. That is the only reason that I gave this book a four, instead of a five. I felt connected to the characters. When I am reading a book, it is essential that I feel not only connected to the characters, but that the protagonists are relatable as well. That was clearly done here. I felt like I was immersed in the lives of Tessa, Nick, and Valerie. Completely different, and completely unique..but all of them, I felt a connection to. Whether it is good or bad, I find it imperative.. a marker of a good book, to feel connected to the characters. In addition, I was impressed by the writing. There was a natural grace and ease in which the story was told. I felt it was an expertly crafted, well-constructed book. Also, it has to be said..the cover? It's too perfect! I would recommend this book to fans ofJane Green or Jennifer Weiner. The genre of this book would most likely be considered women's fiction. I have never read a book by Emily Giffin and I definitely see myself reading more from her in the future. There are some authors that have an innate ability to write.. and she is one of them. For more information on this author, please visit: Emily Giffin Website In addition, here are some fun facts about her, written by US weekly: Fun Facts

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I remarked to someone over the weekend that all of Emily Giffin's books are about cheating. But they aren't. Not really. Just like cheating isn't usually the cause of a relationship breaking up; it's a symptom of a relationship that is already broken. Cheating is the plot of these books, but it isn't what the books are about. They're about choices. They're about growth. And here, the "heart of the matter" is forgiveness. In this novel, Giffin skillfully tells the story about two women and the way I remarked to someone over the weekend that all of Emily Giffin's books are about cheating. But they aren't. Not really. Just like cheating isn't usually the cause of a relationship breaking up; it's a symptom of a relationship that is already broken. Cheating is the plot of these books, but it isn't what the books are about. They're about choices. They're about growth. And here, the "heart of the matter" is forgiveness. In this novel, Giffin skillfully tells the story about two women and the way their lives merge after the child of one is injured in an accident and becomes the patient of the other's husband. It is told in alternating chapters and voices; Tessa, the wife, tells her story in first-person and Valerie's, the other woman's, is told in third-person limited. While some may argue that a first-person point of view makes the protagonist more active and the third-person's protagonist more passive, I feel that in this case, the opposite is true. Valerie certainly was the active one, as she was the one doing the cheating and Tessa was being cheated on. But that isn't to say that Tessa was entirely passive or blameless in these events either. Tessa realizes this when she reminds Nick that it took two people to cheat: "As I say the words, though, I am struck by how much they apply to us, as well. That it took two to get us here,. That it always takes two. For relationships to work, for them to break apart, for them to be fixed." The alternating points of view also allowed Giffin to be impartial (somewhat) about the affair, allowing the reader to see it through the eyes of both women and relate to both women and somehow root for both women simultaneously. As I read other reviews of this book, I am surprised at the number of readers who wanted Nick to end up with Valerie. Many didn't like Tessa and while she had her flaws, certainly, I liked her very much. Valerie was a very sympathetic character, lonely and hardworking and loving, but I didn't ever get a sense of why Nick fell for her. I thought that he really fell in love with Charlie, Valerie's son and his patient, and transferred some of that affection to Valerie (like in Jerry Maguire, when Renee Zellweger's character says "I've got this great guy. And he loves my kid. And he sure does like me a lot"). I thought it was very interesting how Rachel and Dex (from Something Borrowed) were featured so prominently in this book (Dex is Tessa's brother). They also cheated, and in each scene where they appear, Giffin very unsubtly reminds us how perfect they are for each other. She even goes so far as to say, early on in the book and before any cheating happens: "In other words, if two people have an affair, they'd better stay together,. If they do, they have this romantic 'we were meant to be' story and a certain degree of exculpation for their sin; if they don't, they are just a couple of cheaters." But what I really loved about this book was not the who-will-he-choose drama. It was not that the language was particularly beautiful or the descriptions vivid. What I loved about it, and continue to love about Giffin's books, is that she makes me feel. Her characters seem real enough to me that I empathize with what they go through (to the point where I wept through the last chapter of this book), whether I agree with their decisions or not. I do agree, however, with the other readers who have complained that her male characters lack dimension. As I said in one of my updates, I really wish that Emily Giffin would be able to get out of her "chick-lit" pigeonhole. Her writing is excellent and it makes me sad to know that many readers will dismiss her books as frivolous fluff.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found this book very predictable. It follows a similar plot line to Emily Giffin's other book, "Love The One You're With", where the main character is lead astray, but in the end picks their significant other. Unlike "Something Borrowed" where the cheating storyline allows the reader to see the complexities of the characters (which makes them more memorable/lovable), the adultery storyline of "Heart of the Matter" was unfulfilling. It did not give any insight into how the characters are feelin I found this book very predictable. It follows a similar plot line to Emily Giffin's other book, "Love The One You're With", where the main character is lead astray, but in the end picks their significant other. Unlike "Something Borrowed" where the cheating storyline allows the reader to see the complexities of the characters (which makes them more memorable/lovable), the adultery storyline of "Heart of the Matter" was unfulfilling. It did not give any insight into how the characters are feeling besides discontent with the way things are. The affair is all too typical and after such a long build up, the fall out is very short. The book ends with lackluster emotions and the typical happy ending where the wife forgives the husband and they start anew. This is where main character Tessa falls flat. Not only did it seem like she did not care about her husband's affair, she constantly blames herself for her husband's actions. She is portrayed as weak throughout the entire book and lacks personality. What little personality she does have makes her come off snooty and unrelatable. In the end she forgives her husband after one short, intentionally placed encounter. Who cares if her husband knows how she likes her eggs? At least the other main character, Valerie, has a storyline with somewhat more depth. However her storyline ends as abruptly as her part of the affair ends. It seems like her character was just created to gain the readers' sympathy. The way Giffin portrays former characters Dex and Rachel is completely distasteful. Not only are they perceived as too perfect, they also come off boring and uninspired. This is the complete opposite of how they were initially portrayed in "Something Borrowed"(fun and exciting). Overall I see nothing new in this book that has not already been included in Giffin's other books. The doctor, lawyer, stay at home mother and snobby friends characters have already been established in her other books, while the cheating storyline has already been covered in "Love The One You're With." I was left extremely dissatisfied with the ending and I did not like how Giffin reuses the element that made "Something Borrowed" so special and manipulated it in such a terrible, trite way.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shani

    I love the author's style of writing and would have given this book 5 stars if it had an alternate ending option. *Spoilers* YOU'VE BEEN WARNED! Maybe it's just me, but I was unsatisfied with the way the story ended. It wasn't because the story didn't turn out for the characters the way I had hoped, but the fairytale ending was extremely predictable and bothersome. I know the theme of the story was forgiveness, but sometimes things just need to end. Who goes to a different city to get "tipsy" with I love the author's style of writing and would have given this book 5 stars if it had an alternate ending option. *Spoilers* YOU'VE BEEN WARNED! Maybe it's just me, but I was unsatisfied with the way the story ended. It wasn't because the story didn't turn out for the characters the way I had hoped, but the fairytale ending was extremely predictable and bothersome. I know the theme of the story was forgiveness, but sometimes things just need to end. Who goes to a different city to get "tipsy" with their friends when they think their husband's on the "verge" of having an affair? Also, I hate how they made it seem as if Nick confessed the affair. Nick would have continued to see Valerie if his wife hadn't have came home. She pretty much new about it half of the book, she even asked him about Valerie. He got caught and he "confessed" because....he got caught! He wasn't happy in his marriage, he fell in love with someone else, the wife wasn't happy in general and in the real world they have reconciled only to end up divorced 2 years down the line anyway. Then there was something that he told his wife on the last few pages that annoyed me, something along the lines of... " Valerie never loved me, love is what we have..building a life and family together".... Really? Is he a mind reader too? Building a life and family together equals love?? I thought that was called history! So, if I was married to my husband for 10 years, with 4 kids and he started beating me....we would still have love because we've built a life and family together? I thought everything the husband said at the end of the book was a bunch of baloney and would have preferred if the husband and wife would have forgiven each other and went their separate ways. I was team Charlie all the way and thought that Tessa deserved much better. So, yeah. I thought the book was great up until the end, but that's just me. I'm sure others were perfectly fine with the ending. I hope the author writes a follow up book. I would love to see what happens with the Nick and Tessa's marriage and what happens with Valerie and Charlie. Maybe Valerie finding out she's pregnant after the man has once again walked out of her life and how everyone deals with it. ;D

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristi

    When I began reading this book, actually my first Giffin novel, I had not a clue what it was about. I refused to read reviews, allowing the book's jacket to be my only insight. A wise move since the anticipation simmering page by page and the unpredictability of what lay ahead in the pages of the first two-thirds of this book were terrific. Therefore, I will do the same; I won't reveal the "heart" of this book. I will only say that Emily Giffin is a gifted writer, as you all knew and I now know, When I began reading this book, actually my first Giffin novel, I had not a clue what it was about. I refused to read reviews, allowing the book's jacket to be my only insight. A wise move since the anticipation simmering page by page and the unpredictability of what lay ahead in the pages of the first two-thirds of this book were terrific. Therefore, I will do the same; I won't reveal the "heart" of this book. I will only say that Emily Giffin is a gifted writer, as you all knew and I now know, whose words flow seamlessly and beautifully on the pages. I will say that Heart had me fooled at checkout. With its purple, heart-ribboned cover, I was sure I would soon be reading a lighthearted, uplifting story of family, love, and endings with a smile. Instead, I will say that the journey of reading this novel slowly filled me with sadness and frustration. I was irked and annoyed by certain characters, while I was overjoyed with and adored others. After finishing Heart of the Matter, I can easily give it 4 stars and honestly say I "really liked it." I liked the way the chapters moved. I liked being able to lose myself in Giffin's relatable writing elegance. I really liked a handful of souls in this novel. I just didn't like the way I felt after reading it. Maybe the quote that seared my "heart" the most just 28 pages into the book can explain why: "It is a feeling that has never wavered. Life isn't always fun, and is almost never easy, I think, as I return to the kitchen in my trouble-shooting mode, ready for my second cup of coffee, but I am in love with my husband and he is in love with me. It is the constant in my life, and will continue to be so, as our children grow, my career changes, friends come and go. I am sure of this. "But I still find myself reaching out and knocking twice on our wooden cutting board. Because you can never be too sure when it comes to the things that matter most." Likewise, the above quote attests and the Mindful Readers agree: Heart of the Matter boils fear in the bellies of its women readers. A powerful novel.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I had a really hard time with this book... for a couple of reasons. Spoiler Alert: First, I had a hard time accepting that Nick would have an affair without first discussing any marital problems he was having with his wife. I feel like even after, when he fessed up and asked for forgiveness, he still never really gave a valid reason - "you changed" doesn't really count. While I completely feel for Tess throughout the story, and feel like she was completely and unfairly wronged - at times I had a di I had a really hard time with this book... for a couple of reasons. Spoiler Alert: First, I had a hard time accepting that Nick would have an affair without first discussing any marital problems he was having with his wife. I feel like even after, when he fessed up and asked for forgiveness, he still never really gave a valid reason - "you changed" doesn't really count. While I completely feel for Tess throughout the story, and feel like she was completely and unfairly wronged - at times I had a difficult time sympathizing with her. I didn't like her snobby "friends" and I especially didn't like how she wouldn't stand up to them - even when she knew they were wrong or being irrational. Finally, I really hated Valarie's character. I don't think single-motherhood and loneliness are excuses for 1) starting a relationship with a married man and 2) so selfishly putting your wants above the needs of your child. No responsible parent would start an affair with their son's married doctor. I think I found that to be the most frustrating aspect of the novel. I found it incredibly difficult to feel any sort of sympathy as this woman pined for a man who she knew she couldn't and shouldn't have.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    I am mortified to have to spend precious reading-time on this junk which was inexplicably selected by my book club. Guess we let somebody slip this in without much vetting. The characterization is lazy and boring. The men in Tessa's family, though as beautiful as models, are somehow also in 'finance- Goldman Sachs' (oh cool, money) and 'the best pediatric surgeon in the world' (oh cool, money AND he loves children, calling George Clooney)-- and they live in regular suburbs like you & me! Grandma I am mortified to have to spend precious reading-time on this junk which was inexplicably selected by my book club. Guess we let somebody slip this in without much vetting. The characterization is lazy and boring. The men in Tessa's family, though as beautiful as models, are somehow also in 'finance- Goldman Sachs' (oh cool, money) and 'the best pediatric surgeon in the world' (oh cool, money AND he loves children, calling George Clooney)-- and they live in regular suburbs like you & me! Grandma is a stereotypical bitter divorcee spouting cardboard feminist slogans (guess that'll teach ya to be a feminist). Valerie got a full boat to Amherst because she worked hard in h.s. (just like you dear reader)-- got pregnant by a creepy serial lover whose artwork gains national acclaim-- no problem, singlehandedly bears & nurses her infant while saving enough as a paralegal to do Harvard Law (excuse me while I laugh)-- lands a litigation position so lucrative she's able to take indefinite leave while having her child healed by the best physicians in the world (now I'm grabbing my sides). All with the constant support of a gay twin brother who works minimum wage jobs. We'd hate her except luckily she doesn't trust rich people... I'm giving it one star because I like the way Giffin is hiding pockets of info from her narrators, not in an obvious way, right from the beginning. The plotting looks to be good potboiler-mystery stuff. But I prefer my potboiler mysteries to be motivated by crime & punishment. You can't drive a plot with human emotion/ foibles without decent characterization.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rach

    Okay holy s*** this was Emily's worrrrrrst work everrrrr. I usualy love her work but this was just pitiful. The women characters were soooooo weak, and the book essentialy gives the message that cheating is completely forgivable if your husband looks at you with his pretty eyes and says he's sorry, and that it won't happen again, and that it only happened "once" (I personally consider every flirty moment, kiss, and touch cheating). Not to mention the fact that he doesn't even admit to it until he Okay holy s*** this was Emily's worrrrrrst work everrrrr. I usualy love her work but this was just pitiful. The women characters were soooooo weak, and the book essentialy gives the message that cheating is completely forgivable if your husband looks at you with his pretty eyes and says he's sorry, and that it won't happen again, and that it only happened "once" (I personally consider every flirty moment, kiss, and touch cheating). Not to mention the fact that he doesn't even admit to it until he realized she was ONTO HIM. And even then he still didn't seem like he felt hat bad about it. He went to go break things of with Valerie, but the whole time he seemed like he was just begging her to fight for him. I feel like if she would have fought harder he would have gone and slept with her again in a heart beat. "our night together was amazing... You are amazing" "I'm thinking I'm crazy about you" "don't 'okay' me Val, don't let me off the hook that easy" "I love the way you are" "I love you, Val. It's the truth. And I'm afraid it always will be true." that last quote (pg 294) bothers me the MOOOST because both Nick AND Valerie tell Tessa that he never told Valerie that he said I love you to Valerie. BULL S*** he didn't!!! He also lies right to her face when he tells Tess at the end that he hates himself for letting it happen and tells her he regrets it. BUT when he is on his little walk with Val just moments earlier he seems to feel no regret it at ALLL. (see above quotes all taken from that meeting for proof!!) Overall this book was such a despressing disaster that was full of weak female characters, and sefish a asshole male character. Such a disappointmet Emily. You just lost a loyal fan. Cheating is never okay boys and girls. Feel free to agree with me or challenge my thougts, I want feedback, I'd love to discuss this. Comment:)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Blah! The ending was lame. (Serious Spoilers) Shockingly enough, I would have had more respect for Nick had he have of chosen Valerie. It seemed as if he stayed with his wife only because it was the "right" thing to do, not because he truly loved her. Hell, he tells Valerie he wants to take her home and "just be with her" and that it scares him because he will always love her then goes directly home and tells Tessa how he wishes he could take it back! LAAAME! I don't see a happy ending for these Blah! The ending was lame. (Serious Spoilers) Shockingly enough, I would have had more respect for Nick had he have of chosen Valerie. It seemed as if he stayed with his wife only because it was the "right" thing to do, not because he truly loved her. Hell, he tells Valerie he wants to take her home and "just be with her" and that it scares him because he will always love her then goes directly home and tells Tessa how he wishes he could take it back! LAAAME! I don't see a happy ending for these two and the whole lets eat eggs and live happily ever after ending made me want to gag! I would not want my husband to stay with me out of obligation/guilt or for any reason other than he LOVED me and only me (maybe I ask for too much!) No matter who you were rooting for him to end up with the ending was gag worthy! How are you going to fix your marriage when you’re starting fresh with a lie. Tessa said she wouldn't take Nick back if he told Valerie he loved her. When she asks Nick this he lies to her! :O One or two things will happen from this point... Nick tries to work things out with Tessa, but they can't and he goes back to Valerie or Tessa and Nick stay together and Nick becomes a habitual cheater ( they guy acted like his wife was Satan no way they're going to live happily ever after.) Speaking of Satan, Tessa's friends were over the top obnoxious. Do people really act like that? Tessa honestly wasn't too far behind. I liked her enough and she didn't deserve what she got dealt, but dear god was she annoying! Get it together lady! Tessa said somewhere that she hated that Nick always had a simple answer to everything, but all of her problems really did have simple answers!! You hate being a stay at home mom, it's making you miserable? GO BACK TO WORK! My husband would never cheat on me! THE GUY DOESN'T EVEN WANT TO COME HOME AT NIGHT! I think my husband is having an affair? WELL GEE, TALK TO HIM ABOUT OUT IT! I want to spark something between my husband and I, but he doesn't notice my little black nightgown! TAKE IT OFF AND CLIMB ON TOP OF HIM! HE'LL NOTICE YOU THEN! I'm not sure about my stay at home mom friends! DROP THEM, THEY'RE TOXIC! I hate the way the story tries to down play the cheating, like it was everyone's fault, shades of gray, blah, blah, blah. Cheating is pretty black white. Nick is the cheater here. PERIOD. Yes, his wife was annoying and frivolous, but hey , guess what!?! You married her and you knew where the door is. You chose to stay in your marriage and you’re still a cheater! No one asked you to play dad to someone elses kid or fall in love with someone else. You wanted too! Nick seemed as if he'd been unhappy for years, bringing up how bad the sex was when they started trying for their second kid and how Tessa hasn't been happy ever since. Then talk to your wife, go to counseling don't ignore the problem for years! If you're so unhappy then get a divorce! It happens. I hate Tessa's guilt trip in the end, Well maybe it was my fault blah, blah, blah. YEAH, it was your fault your marriage was going down the drain, not that your husband's a cheater. He didn't have to cheat, he wanted to pretty damn badly if you ask me which is where this book draws a blank for me. I really don't understand for the life of me why Nick stayed with his wife in the end. If there ever was a time to make a run for it was then. If he thinks that he's going to just forget about Valerie and Charlie ( What happens when he bumps into them in the hospital) or that Tessa's really going to forgive him for this (your marriage was crap before this) then he's as delusional as a loony tune. I just feel like this book was ridiculous, if it was going to end the way it did, then the whole book could have been avoided at page 90 with a nice sit down talk, a good dose of Dr Phil, or a divorce. All they did was run around in one big complete circle.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Pickering

    Read for my April bookclub. First, I have to disclose that this is not my preferred genre and the only reason I read "Heart of the Matter" was because it was chosen by my book club. Now...why the three star rating? I couldn't put the book down but I absolutely hated it. What a weird paradox. Giffin sure writes well and she knows how to pull you into a story but I just found the main characters incredibly frustrating. Although they all had their good characteristics, Giffin surely highlighted the Read for my April bookclub. First, I have to disclose that this is not my preferred genre and the only reason I read "Heart of the Matter" was because it was chosen by my book club. Now...why the three star rating? I couldn't put the book down but I absolutely hated it. What a weird paradox. Giffin sure writes well and she knows how to pull you into a story but I just found the main characters incredibly frustrating. Although they all had their good characteristics, Giffin surely highlighted their shortcomings. She did this so well that I thought the book should be entitled, "Suspicious People" or "Unable to Live Up to the Standards of Others." Although the characters redeemed themselves in the last 10-15 pages it was not enough for me to "feel better" about the book. I would have to compare this book to watching an unseen news clip of an impending disaster. You know what the end result is but just haven't seen the elements that lead up to it--you can't peel yourself away along the way yet you don't want to see the disaster.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leighton

    Spoilers in review! Sooooo, we're supposed to believe that this renowned surgical attending at Mass Gen (one of top hospitals in the nation) had all this free time to sit around and chat it up and get “friendly” with a patient’s mother and nooooooooobody noticed! Not the nurses, not his interns, residents, NOBODY noticed. He didn’t have any other patients? The characters got on my nerves, especially Tessa’s friends. Who really does brings wine to a waiting room in a hospital? Tessa too! If you’re Spoilers in review! Sooooo, we're supposed to believe that this renowned surgical attending at Mass Gen (one of top hospitals in the nation) had all this free time to sit around and chat it up and get “friendly” with a patient’s mother and nooooooooobody noticed! Not the nurses, not his interns, residents, NOBODY noticed. He didn’t have any other patients? The characters got on my nerves, especially Tessa’s friends. Who really does brings wine to a waiting room in a hospital? Tessa too! If you’re so unhappy being a stay at home mom then find a hobby, or work part time, stop moaning!! Nick, was a tool and a coward, a coward for cheating on his wife and a coward for staying with her! How can you tell someone that you love them, that you’re scared because you’ll always be in love with them, then go home an tell your wife how sorry you are and how much you love her? Then to top it all off the author tries to sneak in a theme of forgiveness at the end of the book almost as if to save the train wreck of a story, but it just seemed trite!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    Heart of the Matter is a very interesting novel written from perspective of two women- both in love with the same guy, one married to him, the other not. Is it the same kind of love? Could it be? What is love? Oddly enough, I could see the way the book is going to turn right from the start, but I still find it interesting to read about lives of Tess and Valerie, one a wife of an esteemed surgeon, the other the single mother falling for him. I think this book is wonderfully honest in examining th Heart of the Matter is a very interesting novel written from perspective of two women- both in love with the same guy, one married to him, the other not. Is it the same kind of love? Could it be? What is love? Oddly enough, I could see the way the book is going to turn right from the start, but I still find it interesting to read about lives of Tess and Valerie, one a wife of an esteemed surgeon, the other the single mother falling for him. I think this book is wonderfully honest in examining the weaknesses and strengths of human relationships. Another thing I appreciate it how it showed the pressure Tess and Valerie were under, each in her own way. Everyone was blaming Tess for leaving her job and becoming a stay at home mom as if taking care of your own kids is the worst thing to do. No wonder our society is going to the dogs when being a mother is the least respectable job on the planet. There is also an issue of guilt, as it is not something everyone can afford. Valerie for example doesn't have that opinion, she is a single mom. However, even if Valerie gets some respect because of her career, she is still aware of the fact that her son misses a father. It is not a small concern, I'm sure. The children of single mothers are more likely to commit suicide and suffer from mental problems. It seems each of these women is unhappy in her own way, and so is her family- as Tolstoy said, happy families are rare. So, this novel was in many ways a wonderful read. However, there are also things I didn't like about this novel. For example, the object of two women's love- the surgeon Nick- honestly, I don't see what is so great about him. I also found it hard how he did zero parenting in his own household then bonded so fiercely with the son of his patient on the spot. Nick was not written in a consistent way. The ending let me down a little bit, I was expecting something more. Not necessarily a different ending, but a bit more detail on part of how Valerie felt. Towards the end of the novel, the focus is on Tess and Nick and Valerie is left out. I felt it wasn't fair to Valerie, considering she had been such a big part of the novel up to that point. There was one thing I did like about the ending and that is the focus on the importance of forgiveness- not just for others, but for ourselves as well. Holding grudges is no way to life. It is better to forgive and move on, as hard as it can be.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lori V.

    I wanted to love this book. I have been waiting for it to come out for what seems like forever and I was so excited to be able to preorder it on Kindle. The happiness ends there. I felt empathy, I felt anger, I felt rage. For evoking these feelings, I would say Emily Giffin has done it again and written fantastically. However, the subject matter itself was too sad for me to enjoy. Infidelity is not something I enjoy reading about. The story of Something Borrowed was so different in this way beca I wanted to love this book. I have been waiting for it to come out for what seems like forever and I was so excited to be able to preorder it on Kindle. The happiness ends there. I felt empathy, I felt anger, I felt rage. For evoking these feelings, I would say Emily Giffin has done it again and written fantastically. However, the subject matter itself was too sad for me to enjoy. Infidelity is not something I enjoy reading about. The story of Something Borrowed was so different in this way because even though I usually abhor cheating and hate reading about it, I loved that book. It was so romantic and true and clearly Dex and Rachel were meant for each other. I just didn't feel that level of love and romance in this book. I felt like it was the classic tale of cheating with nothing new and was just altogether depressing. It was quite slow in the beginning and the ending felt incomplete. I was not endeared to any of these characters even though my heart went out to Tessa, how could it not? There were so many things not to love about this book besides the subject: Tessa's friends were annoying, Nick was annoying and classically "male" and not in a good way, the mothers were irritating, and mostly I just felt bad for everyone. Nothing seemed good and happy in this book and I can't see how the future would be happy and good for anyone either. The only thing I did enjoy about the book was getting updated on Dex and Rachel from SoBo. That alone saved this review from earning only 1 star. I feel bad for writing a poor review for an author whom I adore, but I just didn't love this book. This book does not even come close to being as good as Something Borrowed or any of her other books. As a Facebook follower I do remember Emily saying this book was different from all the rest, but I'm just sorry that meant sad and dreary. I do love the color, though. :) And I will still eagerly await Emily Giffin's next book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I expected to like this book as I have enjoyed other books by this author. Instead I found myself wishing I could set fire to the book, my dislike of it was so intense. I choose to power through and finish the book in hopes that at some point these characters would be redeemed. Unfortunately they weren't. My first problem with the book is the authors use of foreshadowing. She practically beats you over the head with her need for you to know that the husband in this story is going to be cheating o I expected to like this book as I have enjoyed other books by this author. Instead I found myself wishing I could set fire to the book, my dislike of it was so intense. I choose to power through and finish the book in hopes that at some point these characters would be redeemed. Unfortunately they weren't. My first problem with the book is the authors use of foreshadowing. She practically beats you over the head with her need for you to know that the husband in this story is going to be cheating on his wife. It's so blatant that about 30 pages into the book you have already determined exactly how this book is going to play out. The other problem I have is that just about every character in this book is unlikeable. Tessa, who recently became a stay-at-home mom, is becoming obsessed with keeping up with the other stay-at-home moms, whom she doesn't seem to like and frequently criticizes to her husband. Nick, her husband, seems unhappy with the changes occurring in wife, but rather than talk to her becomes involved with the mother of one of his patients. Valerie, the patients mother, is a successful career woman and a single mother who falls apart when her son is injured and suddenly becomes dependent upon Nick. Another thing that truly bothered me in this story is the fact that it seems that every character either had cheated or had been cheated on. It didn't seem true to life that all of the main characters were in relationships where someone was unfaithful, and came across as very forced. I think the true problem here is that you want to feel something about the infidelity taking place, but as a result of the heavy handedness in the foreshadowing combined with the the characters being so extremely unlikeable you feel no emotional connection to the story and are just annoyed by the drama unfolding on the pages of this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    ''All wounds heal.'' That is something you can read near the end of the book. I'm trying to heal my own wound now, knowing there is no ''they lived happily ever after.'' but... at the same time, there is a lesson even greater than that. Forgiveness. Without trying to spoil the whole story, I think the main goal of the story is to learn to try and forgive loved ones. Through the story of two women, who are completely different, Valerie and Tessa, I learned that, though it doesn't always end up the ''All wounds heal.'' That is something you can read near the end of the book. I'm trying to heal my own wound now, knowing there is no ''they lived happily ever after.'' but... at the same time, there is a lesson even greater than that. Forgiveness. Without trying to spoil the whole story, I think the main goal of the story is to learn to try and forgive loved ones. Through the story of two women, who are completely different, Valerie and Tessa, I learned that, though it doesn't always end up the way we want it, we can still find it in our heart to forgive. Or to at least go down that route. I loved the idea of two different point of views 'cause all thanks to Emily Giffin, I got to live two different lives. For 368 pages, I got to be a devoted single mother facing one of the worse thing possible : my child getting badly hurt. And then I got to be the mother of two little kids and the wife of a very important, but absent, surgeon. I was caught into a tornado of feelings. Betrayal. Fear. Love. And, once again, Forgiveness. It took me a looooong time to actually finish this book for a lack of time, but I had no problem to start back where I'd stopped for it being so easy to read. If you need a small reminder that life, though really tough sometimes, is still made of small miracles, then you definitely need to read this book!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    http://bookablesbooks.blogspot.com/20... Full Review!!! http://bookablesbooks.blogspot.com/20... Full Review!!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    (Review was originally posted on Alexa Loves Books) Heart of the Matter is written in Emily Giffin's style - a strong female perspective, matter of fact and brutally honest. This is what drew me to her book Something Borrowed in the first place, and what has kept me returning time and again despite the delicate subject matter she covers. I was gripped by the subject matter of this book quite intensely. Kudos to Giffin for portraying the whole concept of adultery in a light that allows us to have b (Review was originally posted on Alexa Loves Books) Heart of the Matter is written in Emily Giffin's style - a strong female perspective, matter of fact and brutally honest. This is what drew me to her book Something Borrowed in the first place, and what has kept me returning time and again despite the delicate subject matter she covers. I was gripped by the subject matter of this book quite intensely. Kudos to Giffin for portraying the whole concept of adultery in a light that allows us to have both perspectives - the betrayed woman and the woman who betrays. I think it was illuminating to read about the affair from both sides, and allowed me to better understand both women as well. There are other characters that I loved - Charlie, Jason, Dex, Rachel and Cate - and I like how Giffin uses them to propel the story forward in many instances. They each have their own unique part to play and are very well-developed, considering how they're mostly secondary or even third-ary (I just made that up) characters. Nick's character was handsome, kind and talented - who wouldn't like a guy like him? Even I, who was a mere reader, found myself attracted to him (FYI, I was thinking of McDreamy the whole time...). However, I found myself utterly frustrated and annoyed at his actions. Giffin's book managed to make me think about serious issues in relationships, not just cheating. I feel as if I gained a whole new level of knowledge, one that will be utilised well in my own relationship. I'm quite glad that I picked it up and finally got around to reading it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    AWBookGirl

    I devoured and relished Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter. There are so many reasons why I love Giffin's books, not the least of which is that she tells compelling stories. But it is more than that. It's that she creates such believable and relatable characters who face believable and relatable situations. In Heart of the Matter, the lives of two women intertwine in unexpected ways after a tragic accident. These women are suddenly caught in an imperfect, heartbreaking situation. As they face de I devoured and relished Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter. There are so many reasons why I love Giffin's books, not the least of which is that she tells compelling stories. But it is more than that. It's that she creates such believable and relatable characters who face believable and relatable situations. In Heart of the Matter, the lives of two women intertwine in unexpected ways after a tragic accident. These women are suddenly caught in an imperfect, heartbreaking situation. As they face decisions they never thought they would have to make, each of them is realizing that "always" and "never" rarely are. And each of them is trying to determine what it is that is truly matters to them. As a side note, two characters popped up in this book that I wasn't expecting to see. I have always liked how Emily's characters are tethered to each other in interesting, unsuspecting ways. I love getting this glimpse into what had happened in their lives after Giffin told their story in an earlier book. This is not the first time Giffin has done this, and it makes me feel, as a reader, that I'm getting snippets of an epilogue, or catching up with old friends. I found myself making a few notes as I read this book. I didn't necessarily expect that, but after I thought about it a bit, I wondered why I was surprised. Elements of Giffin's books have always stuck with me. In Heart of the Matter, Tessa talks about her friendship with Cate, and how Cate has an idealized view of Tessa's life. For the first time in a fiction piece, and perhaps due in part to other things going on in my life right now, I found myself making a list about some things in my own life that I am grateful for. I just hadn't been able to see these things until recently, because I was always thinking the grass had to be greener on the other side. How often is it that a book classified as "chick lit" helps you do something like that, have your own little epiphany? I know I've already mentioned how well drawn and relatable Giffin's characters are. One of the best illustrations of this that I can talk about here without giving too much away is when Tessa begins to feel the first fingers of fear in her gut that something is off kilter. She tries to talk herself out of her fears, find alternate possibilities, even flatly deny her suspicions and try to talk herself into believing her observations are just insecurities and are completely explainable. Every woman I know has been there, for one reason or another, and Giffin is spot on in her description. Not wanting to believe something is off but knowing beyond a doubt that it is, even if you can't prove it; even if you don't want to believe it. I felt myself tensing up as I have when I've tried to quell fears I didn't want to be true and I didn't want to face. Giffin captured it perfectly. Finally, in this story, you want a villain. There simply isn't one. There are three good people caught in a situation none of them wanted or sought. And they realize, like we all do at some point, that we never really know what we will do in a situation until we are in that very place. Sometimes we find ourselves doing that thing we swore we'd never do, being that person we swore we'd never be, because we finally understand what really matters to us.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gail Dologuin

    So I really did not want to read this book for my strong affinity for fidelity. I read Something Blue first and loved it, then I read Something Borrowed and could not finish the book. I read the book backwards because I couldn't help myself and it was hard to swallow the inevitable between Valerie and Nick. However, I did not have any sympathy for Nick. Valerie, even though she should have known better at least had the moral compass somewhat pointed up. What I found disturbing was in the end. He So I really did not want to read this book for my strong affinity for fidelity. I read Something Blue first and loved it, then I read Something Borrowed and could not finish the book. I read the book backwards because I couldn't help myself and it was hard to swallow the inevitable between Valerie and Nick. However, I did not have any sympathy for Nick. Valerie, even though she should have known better at least had the moral compass somewhat pointed up. What I found disturbing was in the end. He would have continued the affair if Tessa had not come home early or accused him of infidelity. Even after the indisgression he didn't feel bad about it...sure he feels guilty for what he's done to his family but talking to Valerie while he's with his kids and no remorse still wanting more of it? Then when he ends things with Valerie...he tells her he loves her and always will and he just wants to make love to her now...and then the same day goes and confesses to Tessa getting down on his knee and crying??? Seriously?? His confession felt cheapened...not heartfelt. There was a big disconnect in the end on where Nick went from loving Valerie and begging his wife to come back. Also in the end with Valerie realizing that what they had wasn't real? He had a physical and worst part an emotional affair with another woman...and there he is pouring his heart to his wife...where was his thought process that got him there? I wish the author had shed some light in his POV. Which leads me to sympathize with Tessa...should she reconcile even though she knows he fell in love with another woman and not just some meaningless one night stand? I do not really feel great after I have put the book down...I felt no closure whatsoever.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tina Hayes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Emily Giffin's "Heart of the Matter" showed the evolution of an affair. Nick Russo is a happily married father of two with a reputation for being an outstanding plastic surgeon. The mother of his 6-year-old patient (a sweet little boy who falls into a fire while roasting marshmallows at a sleepover) turns his head and a rather predictable affair ensues. I love most this author's other books, but this one just didn't seem to measure up to her other works in my opinion. It was easy to guess what w Emily Giffin's "Heart of the Matter" showed the evolution of an affair. Nick Russo is a happily married father of two with a reputation for being an outstanding plastic surgeon. The mother of his 6-year-old patient (a sweet little boy who falls into a fire while roasting marshmallows at a sleepover) turns his head and a rather predictable affair ensues. I love most this author's other books, but this one just didn't seem to measure up to her other works in my opinion. It was easy to guess what was going to happen all the way through the book, only we didn't know who Nick would end up with until near the end. And I really didn't like Nick at all and would have liked to see his wife and his mistress both kick him to the curb, though that didn't happen. Charlie was by far my favorite character. I think this could be a theraputic read for someone who has caught their spouse in an affair, as it shows the thoughts of both women involved and tries to protray the cheating husband as a devoted husband accidentally smitten by a single mother. It was average on my scale, largely due to being too predictable. (I really did't think this need a spoiler alert, but 2 people asked for one, so I put it in.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Loved, loved, loved this book! Had a hard time even putting it down. I loved the fact that the characters weren't perfect, their relationship wasn't perfect. I liked that Giffin didn't write the token "happy ending". This wasn't a light read like some of her other stories. I highly, highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy family & relationship-based dramas. One of my favorites of the year. Loved, loved, loved this book! Had a hard time even putting it down. I loved the fact that the characters weren't perfect, their relationship wasn't perfect. I liked that Giffin didn't write the token "happy ending". This wasn't a light read like some of her other stories. I highly, highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy family & relationship-based dramas. One of my favorites of the year.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    The LAST Emily Giffin novel I really, really loved. "Heart of the Matter" is probably her best novel. Too bad it all went downhill from there. The LAST Emily Giffin novel I really, really loved. "Heart of the Matter" is probably her best novel. Too bad it all went downhill from there.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meredith

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What keeps me reading Emily Giffin is her depth, something I hadn't anticipated when I picked up the pastel pink, fluffy-looking Something Borrowed. She writes intelligent chick lit. However, I find that her characters are becoming increasingly unlikable. Tessa is married to Dr. Nick Russo, a plastic surgeon in a pediatric burn unit. Insecure and a bit adrift after leaving her career to stay home with their two children, she tries to make inroads with the "in-crowd" of stay-at-home moms. Elsewhe What keeps me reading Emily Giffin is her depth, something I hadn't anticipated when I picked up the pastel pink, fluffy-looking Something Borrowed. She writes intelligent chick lit. However, I find that her characters are becoming increasingly unlikable. Tessa is married to Dr. Nick Russo, a plastic surgeon in a pediatric burn unit. Insecure and a bit adrift after leaving her career to stay home with their two children, she tries to make inroads with the "in-crowd" of stay-at-home moms. Elsewhere, single mother Valerie Anderson must contend with her son's severe burns after an accident at the home of one of Tessa's friends. Nick becomes her son's doctor and, inevitably, the two fall in lust. None of these characters is particularly likable. Tessa is obsessed with what the other mothers (none of whom she particularly likes) think of her, Nick is a pompous philanderer with a serious ethics deficiency, and Valerie is something of a limp dishrag. This single mother, a successful lawyer, falls to pieces over Nick and finds herself "dependent" on him. Though the lovers suggest that they're in love with one another in dialogue, they ultimately chicken out, claiming that it was never love when confronted. Also, am I the only one who wished that Tessa had turned Nick in to the medical ethics board for bedding a patient's mother and paying the patient home visits as an excuse to see her? Another thing that irked me about this book was its tendency toward black-and-white characterization. The women with careers are celebrated while the stay-at-home mothers are often condemned. Hardly the kind of storytelling that would inspire any cease-fires in the perpetual Mommy Wars. It would have been nice if the story had dug deeper and not taken sides. Perhaps having been raised by a stay-at-home mother (who was in the working world for 15 years before having children and had a master's degree) makes me sensitive about this topic. And deciding to stay at home, contrary to the depictions in this book, does not necessarily mean becoming a pod person like April, Romy, Tessa, et al. It was all a little too hyperbolic, a little too Desperate Housewives for my taste. That said, I was disappointed to learn that Rachel had abandoned her career. I hated to see Rachel and Dex so...domesticated. Like Tessa, Rachel left her career to stay at home with her children. She and Dex lead a comfortable, if not pedestrian, Affluenzan existence. To quote Step Brothers, "It just kills me to see (them) so crushed and normal." However, the book reassures us that they are intimate three or four times per week (albeit, in the name of making a third baby). Hollow consolation, but consolation nonetheless. A random note: I wonder what St. Martin's Press will do when they inevitably run out of vibrant, feminine colors for Emily Giffin's book covers. They've already exhausted pink, baby blue, yellow, green, and purple.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I devoured this book, gave me anxiety attacks… it was so gripping I couldn’t put it down. I suggest you have a nice spam of time before starting this book, like an eight hours flight or something, because you will not want to put it down. One more thing, I despised Nick so much that if I’ll ever meet him I’ll steal Charlotte’s opening line for Mr. Big in Sex and The City, “I curse the day you were born.”

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ali

    I just finished reading this book and I wouldn't even be giving it one star if I didn't have to do so. It was an extremely disappointing read. After reading all of Emily Giffin's books, this is probably her worse so far and makes me second guess reading her book coming out this July. The story line was yet another soap opera style story line with a man cheating on his wife with someone whom he told he loved, told her it was over and then went home crying to his wife wanting to make it "work". Fo I just finished reading this book and I wouldn't even be giving it one star if I didn't have to do so. It was an extremely disappointing read. After reading all of Emily Giffin's books, this is probably her worse so far and makes me second guess reading her book coming out this July. The story line was yet another soap opera style story line with a man cheating on his wife with someone whom he told he loved, told her it was over and then went home crying to his wife wanting to make it "work". For me, it was believable that a man of authority would take advantage to some degree of his position as Charlie's surgeon, but Valerie was a knowing participant. They fell in love with each other and he returned home to profess his love for his wife? Both Tess and Nick seemed unable to see the forest for the trees when contemplating where to go from there...instead of actually not wanting to live a life that is a complete and total lie after broken trust and broken wedding vows, you are lead to believe they both seemed to mutually decide that they weren't able to give up the "life" they built together. There is absolutely no way any woman with any self respect or respect for the sanctity of marriage would be able to move forward. It was devastating the way Nick was so involved in Charlie's life and then abruptly left without seeing him or anything. That is unthinkable to do such a thing to a six-year-old who has been through such a traumatic experience. Nick spent valuable time with Charlie, rebuilding his self-confidence and then he just walks away. It seemed that Tess complained throughout the book about different aspects of her life and frankly painted the life as a stay-at-home-mom with complete and total negativity. Everything to her seemed to be a "duty". She wasn't enjoying her life, so I don't blame Nick for not being satisfied. That should have been the root of their debate at the end of the book, why are we both unhappy? He cheated...she was obviously not happy after giving up her career, something at which she couldn't let go of through the entire book which seemed increasingly redundant. The storyline was questionable, there were many things that left the reader hanging without closure and the idea of infidelity and falling in love with someone else, but still not wanting to "give up the life" you have just because of an expensive house, car, friends, and so on. That's a pathetic excuse and as her friend told her, she stayed after her husband cheated and she despises him. Pretty much that's how it would be for Nick and Tess as well. It was a predictable storyline with a rushed-through ending that seemed downright forced in the way it was written. They got back together too soon and the whole idea of the affair seemed to be gone. I would only want my spouse to stay with me if they loved me. I don't at all understand why Valerie wasn't honest with Tess about loving Nick and vice versa. It seemed the author was trying to prove something with this book that wasn't quite clear. It was not a smooth realistic storyline. In all reality, it was NOT AT ALL believable. I would not recommend this book, unless you are looking for the idea of working through a marriage that will always remain a joke for the rest of your lives.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rossy

    3.5 stars, and I had a hard time thinking about my rating! The story was amazing, I won't lie, I literally couldn't put the book down, and read it slowly, analizing each situation and how would I react. I've read some reviews and I have to agree and disagree with most of them. I agree the ending is terrible, it almost ruined the whole book for me and it changed the idea I had about each character. And I have to disagree about the characters: Although IT WAS WRONG, I rooted for Valerie. I am in no 3.5 stars, and I had a hard time thinking about my rating! The story was amazing, I won't lie, I literally couldn't put the book down, and read it slowly, analizing each situation and how would I react. I've read some reviews and I have to agree and disagree with most of them. I agree the ending is terrible, it almost ruined the whole book for me and it changed the idea I had about each character. And I have to disagree about the characters: Although IT WAS WRONG, I rooted for Valerie. I am in no way justifying any of her actions, but I could understand her feelings and felt they were true. Tessa... I think she was annoying! Again, I do not justify or blame anyone, but I didn't like her nor her friends at all. Nick, Nick, Nick, I won't even bother, really. He went from a 10 to a -7948949749 in my heart. The rest of the characters, even Tessa's horrible friends, sounded a little cliche, but I adored even this, because it made them feel more real!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Love Fool

    In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most. After Something Borrowed and Something Blue, this is my 3rd choice for Emily Giffin books. It was different and once again was rooting for a character I didn't think I would root for. I felt for Vale In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most. After Something Borrowed and Something Blue, this is my 3rd choice for Emily Giffin books. It was different and once again was rooting for a character I didn't think I would root for. I felt for Valerie and wanted her to come out on top. Ialso for some reason did not like Tessa but maybe I'm for the underdog.

  29. 4 out of 5

    KarenH

    I'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread at Amazon to banish it to my "not in this lifetime" list. But with gloomy weather enhancing a melancholy mood, I decided to embrace depression completely. Mission accomplished. Tessa & Nick Russo, it would seem, have a life together that many aspire for yet few achieve. In their mid-30's and married 7 years, they are already enjoying an affluent lif I'm not sure why, in the spur of the moment, I chose to listen to this audiobook. I had learned enough about the book in the "cheating heroes" thread at Amazon to banish it to my "not in this lifetime" list. But with gloomy weather enhancing a melancholy mood, I decided to embrace depression completely. Mission accomplished. Tessa & Nick Russo, it would seem, have a life together that many aspire for yet few achieve. In their mid-30's and married 7 years, they are already enjoying an affluent lifestyle. Nick is a world-renowned pediatric plastic surgeon and Tessa was a professor until recently when she quit working to devote herself full-time to raising their daughter Ruby,4 and son Frank, 2. Tessa & Nick's relationship isn't one of earth-shattering passion fueled by copious amounts of sex as it had been when they were first married, but long work days and small children will do that to any marriage, right? More importantly, with love and commitment they are developing a solid foundation for their children and for their future as a family. Success in their endeavors can be attributed to one important factor...Tessa and Nick love each other. What's love got to do..got to do with it? What's love but a second-hand emotion? Valerie Anderson is a part-time lawyer and full-time single mother raising a 6-yr-old son. Her relationship with Charlie's father was over before the guy even knew Valerie was pregnant, so her twin brother Justin is doing his best to provide Charlie with the male guidance and loving attention he would otherwise be without. Aside from Justin, Valerie isn't close to any other adult. She has serious trust issues with pseudo friends and family members, her track record for hooking up with a good man is non-existent and she refuses to associate with wealthy - and therefore - pretentious people. Suffice it to say Valerie is a loner...and very lonely. So the hero rides in on his white stallion and rescues the damsel in distress. Dining out on their anniversary, Tessa and Nick are interrupted by an emergency call from the hospital requiring Nick's area of expertise. Tessa understands, as she always does, and goes home. At the hospital, Nick treats the burn victim, little Charlie, while Valerie, wide-eyed and horrified, tries not to fall to pieces. Fortunately, as a pediatrician Nick has excellent consoling skills with children that apparently extend to distraught single mothers. Charlie is going to need plastic surgery and Nick officially becomes his doctor. Nick bonds with Charlie as a father-figure and with Valerie in a way that is anything but fatherly. Pretending to themselves more than anyone else, Nick and Valerie insist they are just good friends; however, the sexual tension between them is palpable and it becomes just a matter of time. When Tessa goes away one weekend to visit an old friend, Nick and Valerie succumb to their desires and f**k the night away. What you don't know won't hurt you. (Really? What stupid-ass penned that nonsense?) Tessa knows something is wrong. Oh sure, Nick has been working longer hours than ever before but Tessa attributes that to the crazy clock a doctor lives by. She hasn't been feeling like much more than a mommy since she quit teaching but it had been Nick's idea for her to quit. On the surface, he seems like the same wonderful man she fell in love with years ago, but knowing him so well she senses something is amiss...he's pulling away. She finds his cellphone lying unattended; and though normally she wouldn't give it a second thought, that nagging woman's intuition insists she check his messages... Oh what would we do without our well-meaning friends? "I miss you too and no, he doesn't hate you. How could anyone hate you?" Tessa comes up with a hundred plausible scenarios for someone to send Nick this message because she trusts her husband completely. Come on Tessa...you've got more than enough clues. Then, while away visiting her best friend, Cate, Tessa gets a text from one of her newer "society" friends who feels an obligation to the sisterhood to inform Tessa her husband was seen standing "unnaturally" close to Valerie Anderson. Tessa stands firm that her husband is faithful, yet she cuts her weekend stay short and is on the first flight home. Shame, thy name is Nick. I'll stop here but believe me I can't think of anything more heart-wrenching than what transpires in the last fourth of this story. In fact, the entire book was tough to listen to. Not only was my heart in my throat most of the time but I had to pull the earbuds out at one point because I couldn't handle what was transpiring. Did I like it? I LOVED it! This is my first book by Emily Giffin and I now intend to read (listen to) every book she has written.. She has the gift of bringing her characters to life...people you can't help but come to know extremely well and thereby care for immensely. I can't wait to become so involved like that again! The story is told in alternating chapters by Tessa in 1st person and Valerie in 3rd person, with an emphasis on her personal thoughts. Valerie played the martyr well, strong enough to handle motherhood alone yet vulnerable and helpless without a man. Yes Nick was married and had 2 children, but Valerie decided that they were responsible for his unhappiness. As she sneakily cruised by his house (yeah, like a stalker) she decided Tessa was a society snob and probably had a lover herself. Surely, she was anxious to get rid of him. Besides, Nick was wonderful with Charlie and her son needed a father! With all the rationalizing Valerie did to convince herself she was entitled to Nick - along with a healthy dose of hero worship - she came off as helpless and needy, yet vindictive and manipulative. Gah! I hated the bitch! How much pleasure I would have found in rewriting the story to have Tessa beating the crap out of her! On the other side of the coin, I loved Tessa. She was experiencing some depression when all this began, probably due to the fact that she missed teaching, which meant daily interaction with humans older than 4. I know it isn't hard to succumb to the feeling that you are nothing more than someone's mommy. With a husband at work 12 hours a day, by the time Tessa & Nick had some alone time, all she wanted to do was sleep. But she wasn't a bitch or whiny about what she was saddled with all day, and she was never too tired for sex. I felt bad for her when Nick initially told her she was the one who had changed and caused the rift in their marriage. But Tessa was not a shrinking violet, a doormat or TSTL. As much as she loved Nick, she held her marriage vows sacred and (hell, yeah) kicked his ass to the curb when the time came. There is a major confrontation between Tessa and Valerie, and Tessa's ability to remain gracious at the worst of times is tribute to the good person she is and the woman Nick realizes he can't live without. And Nick? Well yeah, he betrayed his wife and family in the worst way possible. And what he saw in Valerie we can only speculate, but I think he got caught up in the hero worship thing...being the knight in shining armor to both Valerie and Charlie. Whatever, he crossed the line that can never be uncrossed and lost the complete trust his wife had in him...probably forever. Nevertheless, Nick seemed truely remorseful for what he had done and his grovel was Oscar-worthy. I completely forgave him. Maybe someday Tessa will too.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Aliyyah

    So It wasn't until after I finished this book that I realized that I knew the characters of Dex and Rachel from Emily Giffin's first book, "Something Borrowed". That gave me some better context for this whole story, as it is Dex's sister's story, but reading Giffin's earlier book or books isn't needed to understand this one. First there is Tessa, the wife of surgeon Nick Russo and mother to Ruby and Frank. There is Nick, himself, a specialist in children's plastic surgery. And there is Valerie a So It wasn't until after I finished this book that I realized that I knew the characters of Dex and Rachel from Emily Giffin's first book, "Something Borrowed". That gave me some better context for this whole story, as it is Dex's sister's story, but reading Giffin's earlier book or books isn't needed to understand this one. First there is Tessa, the wife of surgeon Nick Russo and mother to Ruby and Frank. There is Nick, himself, a specialist in children's plastic surgery. And there is Valerie and her son Charlie, whose accident is the catalyst for what happens next. Told interesting enough in the first-person by Tessa and every-other chapter told in the third person with Valerie, this is a novel of cheating, of love, of affairs, and affairs of the heart. It is about two women, so different and yet so similiar, who for one fateful year have their lives intertwined. This book is about what it means to be in love and the fact that there are no easy answers, no pat solutions to the various problems of life. However it points out the shallowness of existence for some, the search for meaning where there is no meaning for others, and the generally bad impulses that lead to bad decisions and bad consequences for everyone. Of course if it weren't for the shallowness of their lives and the bad impulses, Emily Giffin wouldn't have a book. But I can't help but think that if Nick and Tessa had just once totally talked about how they were feeling and thinking, that some of what happened could have been averted. And if Valerie hadn't pushed so many people away in her life, she wouldn't have been so vulnerable.Yet it's hard not to empathize with them all, at one point or another. Yes Tessa could have been a little less whiny and resentful, Nick could have been more open about how he was feeling and more involved in his family's lives, but for the most part you could agonize with them and wonder "What would I do in this situation?". So if you're looking for a good read with dysfunctional characters this might be it. But be prepared to cry and to occasionally hate each character in their turn. Isn't that life anyways?

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