When Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame lends her acting talents to chick-lit connoisseur Emily Giffin’s latest novel, the result is a pleasurable, intriguing, and emotionally intense listening experience. Teresa Russo, a 34-year-old mother of two, is married to Nick, a successful plastic surgeon. They appear to have the perfect, loving marriage until one fateful night when Nick gets a case that changes everything. His patient is a 6-year-old burn victim, whose mother Valerie is single, vulnerable, beautiful, and intelligent. A friendship quickly blossoms between Nick and Valerie and then slowly turns into something more. And Tessa begins to wonder where her once-perfect relationship went wrong. Told in turns from the perspectives of Tessa and Valerie, the story unfolds as if you’re watching a train derail in slow motion you know what’s coming, but are powerless to stop it, and you can’t look away. Never before has a novel cut so deep to the root of infidelity and the devastating emotional confusion of both the wife and the other woman.
It’s a treat to listen as Nixon delivers an emotionally wrought, pitch-perfect performance, easily transitioning between and identifying with each woman’s side of the story. She conveys emotion subtly a slightly cracked voice here, a quick exhale there clearly the mark of a studied actor. Her character voices from the young Charlie to the sexy and strong Nick to the snooty country club friend Romy are all realistic and believable. And Nixon’s pacing and timing, especially during the dialogue scenes, make the story come alive every scene, feeling, and spoken word are familiar, recognizable, and relatable.
Between Giffin’s talent for describing emotions purely and vividly and Nixon’s undeniable talent for delivering them, it’s hard to believe this is a work of fiction. Colleen Oakley
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.
©2010 Emily Giffin (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
"Giffin excels at creating complex characters and stories that ask us to explore what we really want from our lives." (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
"Giffin’s talent lies in making her characters believable and relatable, and readers will be enthralled by this layered, absorbing novel." (Booklist)
Bravo Emily Giffin. Tugged at my heart strings for both lead characters. I was totally enthralled with the book --- totally drawn in to the story line. The alternating voices between chapters worked beautifully. One of the few books I'm thinking of listening to again.
Double bravo to Cynthia Nixon for a brilliant read.
I hope Emily Giffin is working on her next book because I can't wait.
I really enjoyed the narration and how the story was told from the wife's point of view and the mistress. You could see both their sides. You will enjoy it.
I found this book pretty darned conventional in its analysis of a marital affair populated by wooden characters and predictable outcomes. Thank god for the high minded wife. Not. Cynthia Nixon's reading is pretty good and I somehow managed to wade through to the end.
I was totally amazed with the insight into infidelity in this book. The author does a superb job in portraying both the "other" woman and the wife perspectives. Although I am more familiar with being the wife, I thought that the author provided a comprehensive and realistic portrayal of both roles. A great listen. Well done!
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
My first Emily Giffin novel- I found it to be a thinking woman's Chick Lit. Personal experience showed me that Yes, indeed, every Husband does cheat. "Heart Of The Matter" deals with this sad reality for so many women with eloquence and class plus it puts a great plot line about an injured child into the story for spice.
I really enjoyed the book and didn't figure out how it would end until the end..a nice change from so many Chick Lit story arcs with poor plots.
Cynthia Nixon is the type of narrator to doesn't get in the way of the story..she reads it without drama but without taking the story over. I very much liked her abilities as a reader.
All around, a great beach listen or read. Enjoyable for women from twenty somethings to grannies, it's worth your credit.
I love that it was *mostly* pretty realistic and that it kept me engaged the whole time.
Tessa was my favorite because I could relate more to her than the other characters.
This is my first time listening to Cynthia Nixon narrate an audiobook and I thought that her performance was excellent.
I felt a bit outraged on behalf of Tessa a few times but I didn't have any extreme reactions to it. I may have smiled a few times but I don't remember laughing or crying.
Overall, I would have liked to have seen more demonstration of emotion and regret from the characters as well as a peek into what happens when one of them decides to try and reach out to a friend from the past.
I really liked this book. I've read the authors other books and this one is right up that alley. The plot was engaging, and I was actually somewhat surprised at some of the twists.
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