Title: The Heart Between Us
Author: Lindsay Harrel
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Narrator: Emily Sutton-Smith
Published: March 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Christian fiction
Length: 8 hours, 53 minutes. Unabridged.
About the Book: (from the publisher’s Web site)
Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide and living with her parents in her small Minnesota hometown, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.
My Thoughts on the Book:
The Heart Between Us has so much going on between its pages that it’s hard to know where to begin. There’s an exploration of family and sisterhood, and of forgiveness. There are fears holding characters back from truly living, and an epic journey (both physical and emotional) for them each to understand their own fears and what to do about them. A look at what it means to be strong, and where true strength comes from. There’s a bucket list and international travel galore – enough to prompt wanderlust in the most homebody-ish of readers. There’s sweet romance included, that’s great fun to read, but on a scale that doesn’t take over the story, which focuses more on the individual characters’ journeys.
I’m glad I read this book. I found myself relating to Crystal and Megan on a pretty deep level, and found that the book’s themes – faith, family, and trusting God with your fears – hit home for me. This is one of those books that prompts thought and reflection, and could make a great selection for a book discussion group.
Specific to the Audio Edition:
Emily Sutton-Smith’s reading brings out the sisters’ distinct personalities and quirks through subtle differences in their speaking style. She also does good work with the accents of some secondary characters. The pacing and enunciation is clear and unobtrusive, making this a fun and easy listening experience. Highly recommended.
I borrowed this audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. I was not expected to write a review, but wanted to share how much I enjoyed the book.