Name: Losing Heart
Author: Donna Brown
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Novella
For this week’s review, I am reviewing the recently published psychological thriller, Losing Heart, by Donna Brown.
The story begins with Helen, a 45-year-old wife and mother who is awaiting a new heart after being diagnosed with heart failure. Fortunately, a donor is found after a 20-year-old woman called Sylvia tragically dies in a car accident.
A few months later, Helen has the new heart and we learn she is trapped in a loveless marriage with her husband Tom, who cannot get over her earlier bitterness whilst waiting for the new heart. Whilst having a routine check up with her doctor, Jack Meadon, she ends up meeting him for drinks and begins a passionate love affair.
At the same time we learn the mother of the daughter who died, Marion Chambers, wants to meet the person who received her daughter’s heart and it soon becomes clear their is more to her than meets the eye and entering into a friendship with her could be a costly mistake…
Overall, my favourite aspect of Losing Heart was the very simple but effective setup revolving around the donor register. For a thriller, this is a very simple, easy-to-understand starting point for many readers and is different to some of the usual starting points for thrillers seen elsewhere. This simple set-up I also think gives the book an easy pick-up and continue reading aspect for people who may need to leave it for a little while.
The book moves along at a very fast pace – one of the fastest I have seen for a thriller novel (for instance, all of the events I have written in my synopsis above take place in the first three chapters alone) and the fact it is a novella means the book reaches it’s conclusion very quickly. This combined with the simple premise probably makes it a good book choice for people with little time for reading, or for people who haven’t read anything for a while and they need something short and satisfying to get back into reading.
The book is also very involving and stirs in the reader many different emotions which can be related too. Helen starts life as a very bitter character awaiting a heart which many readers probably would imagine themselves feeling when they are on a waiting list for what is essentially the chance to live again. She then also develops this glowing rejuvenation at being alive again and feelings of love and hope towards Jack which again can be related too.
The most absorbing part for me though is when Marion is first introduced and Helen has a range of emotions initially. From developing a fear of her (which we later learn is pretty much justified) to feeling guilty at the fact she is scared of Marion and the fact she can live on at her daughter’s expense. These are very challenging emotions which the reader cannot help but feel along with Helen.
My only criticism of the book comes from the fact it is a novella. This means the book moves along at a very fast pace and I have to admit sometimes the book moved a little bit too quickly for me. There is little doubt this makes the book entertaining but on a couple of occasions I felt the plot twists were a bit too sudden – especially in the earlier chapters before the book develops a focus on Marian. From a personal perspective I would have liked the book to have been a little longer as I felt this would have developed the characters and story a little bit more than they are which may have lent the plot twists a bigger impact.
A very entertaining thriller which I think is great for people who haven’t read anything for a while but the searing pace of the book made me feel as though the twists were a little too sudden.