‘Picture Perfect’

Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me! ‘Picture Perfect’ is another brilliant novel that draws you in completely and shows you a whirlwind emotional journey from the first page to the last!

The book begins as an unknown woman is found in a graveyard…she cannot remember her own name, let alone how she got there! Luckily, she bumps into a local policeman (albeit the day before he actually starts working for the police…) and he looks after her until (much to their surprise…) her husband arrives to collect her. Oh, yes did I mention that her husband is world-famous filmstar Alex Rivers? Don’t worry if you aren’t familiar with the name…neither is Cassie…and she’s the one married to him!

Cassie soon finds herself sucked into the madness of celebrity life and unable to get used to the person that she supposedly used to be. As the story unravels and we get a deeper insight into Cassie and Alex’s relationship…we begin to understand what could have led her to the graveyard that night and why she would want to forget the present and find her true self again.

‘Picture Perfect’ is a fantastic book full of twists and turns and Picoult’s writing keeps you guessing until the very end! It also raises interesting ideas about identity and how easy it is to lose sight of yourself when you’re deeply in love with someone, even if being with them is destructive to yourself.

‘Second Hand Heart’

After reading (and loving!) ‘Chasing Windmills’ a while ago, I was thrilled to receive a copy of ‘Second Hand Heart’ to review!

As the title suggests, the book is about a heart transplant…but it is actually a lot more than that. Vida has been fighting for her life since birth, undergoing operation after operation when finally, when she is 19, a heart becomes available…

Recently widowed Richard is curious to meet the girl who received his wife Lorrie’s heart but as soon as he does, things start to spiral out of control for both of them, but not necessarily in a bad way…both characters, linked by the heart, find themselves uncharacteristically rebelling against what other people think they should do, but in doing so…they discover their true heart’s desire.

‘Second Hand Heart’ looks at heart transplants from both perspectives, which is really fascinating to read. Vida’s sections read in a diary-esque way, as she decides to write about her experiences in her ‘blank book’/journal and after speaking to her, Richard’s sections begin to follow suit. By interweaving email conversations into the novel, Ryan Hyde’s writing is bravely bending conventions of the traditional novel. It works really well! She delves into the idea of cellular memory and psychics, whilst focusing primarily on Vida and Richard.

It’s heartbreaking because for one person to live, another has to die…which is not only one of the cruellest formulas, but a miraculous way of bringing something wonderful out of tragedy. The gift of life is the greatest thing that you can give another human being and so many people are alive today because of organ donations.

This is a fantastic book, each journal entry equals a chapter, which means that it’s really easy to read too (and brilliant for tube-readers!). ‘Second Hand Heart’ is a really touching book, Ryan Hyde’s style is evoking, informative and passionate.

Similar to Jodi Picoult in content and writing style but also unique, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s books are wonderful!