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on 28 June 2009
"Falling in love with a sociopath was one of those experiences you never forgot, if you were lucky enough to survive at all." (ref. page 326)

It all takes place among the rich and privileged, as so often in Danielle Steel's books, but for this story it is actually an advantage.

The matter of involvment with a sociopath is not an easily accepted topic, particularly not so among the educated upper and middle classes. But nowhere are sociopaths likely to do more damage than when they perform their mostly psychological evils to proud victims in golden cages. Victims staying silent, knowing that their stories will seem too crazy to be believed by any sane person. Among people with less or no education sociopaths are more visible, since their methods are usually of a more physical kind, leaving their victims literally hurt and bleeding.

The first part of the book tells a beautiful story of a coup de foudre between two people in their forties, who connect perfectly and plan to get married after having known each other for only four months.

Well established photographer Hope Dunne gets an assignment to take a portrait of famous author Finn O'Neill for his latest book. They fall head over heels in love and soon Hope shares her time between her New York loft and Finn's impressing old ancestral home in Ireland. Everything is bliss and simply too good to be true.

After six perfectly happy months, the surface is however starting to crack and Hope's life is soon alternating between joy and suspicion, and slowly turning into terror.

The nightmare this all too perfect love story soon turns into, is scary, and as the book says, hard to believe unless one has experienced it oneself.

It is a bold subject Danielle Steel has chosen for this book, which starts out as such an easy read and develops into a scary nightmare, very seldom either written or talked about.

Readers might find it all unbelievable and rather crazy, but "Matters of The Heart" is straight forward and scaringly to the point.

Highly recommended.
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on 16 May 2014
This is a really excellent portrait of a sociopath and a gripping story which gets right inside the character's heads and makes them totally believeable, Danielle really knows her stuff! Could be triggering for those who have experienced life with a sociopath though.
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on 31 August 2010
Having read many of Danielle's books, I'm a "sometimes" fan - sometimes they're a bit too good to be true and a bit too perfect and sugary, but this one reminded me of Malice in that it reflected more about "real" life and things we can more relate to. I sometimes choose her books for escapism - not many of us have homes all over the world after all!

Speaking from personal experience, I can honestly say I am incredibly impressed with this story. The way the storyline unfolds to paint a lovely picture and then slowly develops into the truely confusing and nightmarish situation it was destined to be, noticing the little clues that are there at the start but what we initially dismiss until they begin to mount up, means this book can only be described as a true and brilliant reflection of it's subjecct matter, and I felt the author had a real insight and true understanding of how abuse happens.

Not only could I not put it down, it actually helped me, through the character of Hope, to have some closure on my own experience. Thank you Danielle for choosing to write such a book and I hope it helps others.
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on 30 April 2014
I should start by saying that I had never read a Danielle Steel book before, nor have I ever wanted to. This book was given to me by my mother-in-law after she had finished it and she said “it was an amazing book”. As if I needed any more proof, I think it’s now extremely obvious that my Mother-in-law and I have very different tastes.

The storyline of the book is quite good and I found the subject matter interesting. We follow Hope, a 40-something, single photographer, as she meets Finn, a successful, single author. Their story starts out like many other relationships, they have fun getting to know each other, spend every possible minute together and take a huge interest in each other’s lives. After 6 months, things start to change and Finn becomes more and more obsessed by Hope and things soon spiral out of control.

I like the characters, and as I said, the storyline, but the repetitiveness and predictability of the plot left me bored. It was extremely obvious what was about to happen and then what would happen after that. I got frustrated that some things were told to us several times (often only a few pages apart), I felt like the author thought we were stupid or wouldn’t be able to keep up with the story. Having said that I liked the characters, I did find them predictable and pretty weak. Hope was portrayed as a strong individual but the 3 main male characters were weak and (other than Finn) quite forgettable. This was a bit of a ‘woman heroine’ book, although she couldn’t do it on her own and had to have support from 2 males.

Overall, not a great first impression of Danielle Steel, I haven’t read her books before and this book confirms why. I won’t bother with any more of her books, I guess they’re just not for me.
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on 13 August 2015
I think it really is a page-turner. To be honest, the attitude of its leading character made me feel very irritated. Even though, I couldn't stop reading that one. I have read six novels written by Daniel Steel and this is the most impressive story for me.
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on 14 July 2010
Having never read a book by Danielle Steel in my life, I can honestly say I didn't know what to expect when I picked up "Matters of the Heart". At the back of my mind I had the impression (although I have no idea where from) that she might be a bit too `old school/twee' for me. After all, she's been around for decades and this is her 100th book! (Including unpublished and non-fiction).
So, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself a quarter of the way through Matters of the Heart and thoroughly enjoying it. Main character, world-famously respected photographer, Hope was believable in personality with quite a tragic history. And even though I know that if I had $50million I sure as hell wouldn't still be doing any kind of `paid' work, I still really liked her and was rooting for her right from the off.
Hope meets the charming and equally world-renowned author Finn O'Neill through her work and at first it seems that they're two kindred spirits destined to be together and in love forever. But nothing is ever that easy and soon we get hints at how the whole perfect scenario is about to unravel before our eyes.
I did find myself skipping paragraphs and the writer in me was wincing slightly as some facts were repeated over and over as if I needed a bit of hand-holding, but the overall story was told simply and skilfully, with no unnecessary elaboration (apart from the repetition) (apart from the repetition). In fact some of the scenes were so gripping I almost read them through my fingers.
A thoroughly good read and a book I'd definitely recommend.
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on 1 September 2009
The type of book to read if you've got spare time with nothing else to do. Although a very interesting and at times a gripping read, it is very formulaic and predictable. The problem with this book is that the first half was extremely boring, hard to get into. Danielle Steel just reels on and on and on for pages about the character's history and background, in a very unsubtle way which made it a chore to carry on. It was only because I was curious about the sociopathy aspect of the story that kept me going. And the fact that the blurb of the book was in such detail, you felt like you already knew what was happening and just wanted to hurry up and find out how the guy was going to change and suddenly torment the woman. All the 'getting to know each other' was much too long.

However, the 2nd half of the book, I admit was a great read. I was rushing through the pages eager to find out how much more crazy it was going to get.
Although, the ending was a big disappointment. It felt rushed and unresolved, not to mention unrealistic as Steel took the easy way out. Does a sociopath really give up THAT easily? I also thought the topic of sociopathy could have been explored much further.
A good read, but not the best of her books.
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I really enjoyed the second half of this book, I couldn't wait to read a little bit more and was really engrossed. BUT, I was a little bit bored by the first half, which I know was setting the scene etc but could have been done more briefly and maybe written in a way that was more interesting.
If the first half had been as good as the second half I would have given it 4 stars, maybe even 5.
The first half concentrates on the background of Hope, a wealthy photographer, and how she meets her soon to be lover Finn, a successful Irish author. It tells of how their relationship grows and how Hope comes to move into Finn's Irish home. The second half is full of tension as the relationship develops into a nightmare situation, and is quite riveting.
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on 2 August 2010
As a huge fan of Danielle Steel's work, i was not at all disappointed by Matters of the Heart, which i read quickly from cover to cover!
Matters of the Heart is a novel set between New York and Ireland. Hope Dunne a famous photographer is sent to take a cover picture of the somewhat infamous author Finn O'Neill. Romance quickly blossoms and Hope falls head over heels in love. However, cracks soom appear forcing Hope to question Finn, the relationship and even her own sanity.
This is a rollercoaster ride of a book and i thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the contrasts between the beautiful Irish landscape, wild and untamed against the controlled and minimalist beauty of New York. Perhaps a comparison of the characters themselves.
I felt that the two characters worked brilliantly together and would really recommend this book.
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on 3 September 2009
Yet again Danielle Steel has writtern a great book. Unable to put it down. Great Story line
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