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Heart of the Matter

Narrated by: Cynthia Nixon
Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,159 ratings)

Regular price: $27.99

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Editorial Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Liatris
  • Salem, OR, United States
  • 07-19-10

Tough Listen

I found this a difficult book. The female characters were well developed, and I sympathized with both of them. The narrator did a fine job. My problems with this book were the long exposition and rising action. A train wreck in slow motion. The reader can see where it is heading, and because both female characters are likable, it is painful to watch the story unfold. The end is acceptable and understandable. The male character is underdeveloped during the beginning. Almost stereotypical in his workaholic disconnect from the family and his attraction to the "other woman." I found myself thinking that were I a man I would be angry with the portrayal. I'm thinking it must be well written because I had such an emotional response to it, but it was not pleasant or entertaining. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they were toying with having an affair. This book makes a great case for patient confidentiality as well.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars


While the characters are nicely developed and the reader does a good job, the book is formula all the way. No plot. Once I realized nothing was going to take this book out of the rut, I was really disappointed. Trite.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • DPM
  • Vancouver, BC Canada
  • 05-15-10


I am a man, and overall I did enjoy this book. I have read Giffin's other books, and this - in parts - had more substance. Where she got it wrong, all wrong ( I write as a courtroom lawyer and a father of a six year old) was her description of the young boy Charlie ( more like 16 than 6) and Valerie, a corporate litigater, giving not much thought of suing, or when she does, only briefly (" it will not help Charlie"). Um, yes, it would, and - more to the point -corporate litigaters do not think, or talk, or act this way. When Giffin gets away from these depictions and focus on the relationships( the second half of the book)she knows her stuff much better; the dialogue rings more true, and therefore, the book became more enjoyable

Cynthia Nixon is does s great job reading

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jbug
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 05-14-10

Great read about relationships

I love stories about moral dilemma, and while this book doesn't exactly fit that category, it does have you asking what you would do and trying to decide who is right and who is wrong. I gave the book a 5, when I think it was more a 4.5 because it's not a book men will read and enjoy. But it certainly deserves more than a 4. Cynthia Nixon does a great job with narration. Highly recommend.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laurie
  • Florence, KY, United States
  • 07-03-10

5 Stars

I knew within the first 2 minutes of listening that I had made a great choice. The story was well written, and the insights into female friends, male / female relationships, marriage, etc were spot on. And I never knew that Cynthia Nixon would be so good - great narration choice.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Must Listen!!!

It's been 4 hours since I finish listening to this book and I can't get it out of my head. I read mixed reviews about this book on B&N website, but downloaded it any way. It was worth it. A must read or a must listen. The narrator was wonderful and the characters complexed... I liked the little cameo's in this book about Dex and Rachel... I am hoping Giffin will update us on Tessa and Nick in one of her future novels. I loved this book as much as my favorite Giffin Novel Something Borrowed...

P.S... This book will make you cry...

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The slippery slope of affairs

This was the first time I’ve listened to Emily Giffin, and I can see why so many readers and listeners love her books. Heart of the Matter is a bit more dismal than Something Borrowed (which I’ve seen in theaters), but draws on the same type of what-would-you-do-if-you-were-in-this-relationship situation.

That is, what would you do if you loved your husband but discovered he was cheating? Or on the flip side, if you were in love with a married man…who was having trouble with his wife? In true Emily Giffin fashion, the answers aren’t always clear as she presents the viewpoints from both sides. Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon expertly captures both women’s voices and emotional confusion in this unsettling – yet unstoppable – listen. I had a hard time looking at my husband in the same way after finishing the novel (for awhile, at least).

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

a great read!

i have never felt compelled to write a review but read them all the time when deciding on a book. so i thought i would say how much i enjoyed this book, the reading, the writing and the emotion conveyed. i loved that it showed both sides of the issues - worthy of a read indeed!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 06-11-10

A Touchy Subject Handled Delicately

Sadly many people break their marriage vows. Handsome attractive doctors are high on the list (up there with rock stars) as far as opportunity.
The book is well narrated and produced.
I ultimately agreed with how it was handled and the book's "message" which should also be a key part of good marriage vows.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Marie C
  • Southern Oregon USA
  • 05-20-10

Thought provoking

I was very into the development of this story. I've always held very rigid beliefs about infidelity. The characters' alternating points of view created a believable story that had me understanding the "other" woman. But did not go so far to change my beliefs and cheer for her to get the guy. The reason I gave it 5 stars was because it made me think about the story long after the ipod was turned off and I was doing something else. It stuck with me.

And the narration was wonderful. Wow - 10 stars if possible.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful