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on 17 December 2012
Firstly, the cover is gorgeous - The colours and image was what initially drew me to the book and I was so glad that I picked it up to read!

I really liked this book, it was the perfect `escape' read and I found myself looking forward to the times that I could sit down and curl up on the sofa for a few hours to read the next part. The setting was one of the things I loved most about the book. Niamh's descriptions of San Francisco were fantastic - It made me feel as though I was transported there right into the scenes and I managed to get lost in the atmosphere of the story.

The characters came across very well. Frankie is a character who is instantly likeable and that readers can relate to in some way. Rosie is also a wonderful character and I very much looked forward to the parts where she featured. In fact, I think Rosie was my favourite!

I've not read any of Niamh's other books before this one, but after reading A Message To Your Heart, I will be purchasing her other novels! A Message To your Heart is an uplifting, heart-warming story with the right amount of humour sprinkled throughout. This book is perfect to take on holiday or just to relax with!
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on 1 July 2012
I am a huge fan of Niamh Greene and have read all of her previous books some more than once they were just wonderful. I love her work so much that I am always checking to see if she has any new material. When I saw this book in my local book shop I couldn't wait to get it home and curl up and read it from cover to cover. I waited and waited for the belly laughs I got from previous novels she has written but alas they did not come. The book was so disappointing the characters were so weak and the American Rosie was so typical American as was the writer Ian the recluse you knew exactly what he was going to be like before you read the words it was like I had read this book prevously it was so predicable and that wonderful sharp wit was missing. I am really really disappointed with this book and I will think twice before I buy another Niamh Green Novel
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on 5 June 2012
I just loved this book!!!! A couple of chapters in and I couldn't put it down.

As someone who visited San Francisco years ago, the gorgeous cover illustration featuring a cable car seemed to shout "pick me" as I browsed the new releases at my local book store searching for the perfect holiday read. A Message to Your Heart certainly delivered on that front - it made me laugh, cry and everything in between, and being set against the backdrop of beautiful San Francisco had me re-living happy memories of my time there.

I've read a few of Greene's earlier titles and she's just getting better and better. The plot in this latest book is VERY clever - don't want to give away too much but I think the book's success lies in the fact that it is very easy to relate to Frankie, the main character - her struggle to maintain a work/life balance when her career goes through a rough patch, how we can all lose sight of the important things in life without realising it and how we can sometimes ignore what our gut (or heart) is telling us rather than face up to the truth.

When Frankie becomes separated from her mobile phone she feels like her life is unraveling without her precious lifeline. I'm such an incurable romantic that I felt myself rooting for her right from the start and hoping things would work out for the best. The take away message for all of us from Frankie's ordeal is an uplifting one - something unexpected that can at first appear to be a complete disaster may just turn out to be a blessing in disguise!

If you're searching for something "unputdownable" for your holiday reading or just a bit of escapism from the daily grind, then look no further!
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Originally reviewed at: [...]
Rating: 4 out of 5 biscuits

Even though I have a copy of the Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife - one of Niamh Greene's earlier books - I haven't managed to read it yet. So when I received A Message to Your Heart, I had no idea what to expect. The story itself reminded me a little bit of Sophie Kinsella's I've Got Your Number but it turned out to be completely different. However, it is an entertaining and a very uplifting read - if you like this genre and you're looking for a quick summer read then it is definitely something you must add to your reading list.

If I had to pick one thing I enjoyed the most in this book then I would say the setting and the way San Francisco is described in the story. At the end of the book the author mentions that she spent some time living in San Francisco and in this novel she tried to give a sense of what this city meant to her - and she really managed to get her message across. I've been fascinated by this place ever since I read Meg Donohue's How to Eat a Cupcake and the two books are quite similar in this respect. Both of them are very atmospheric and they're guaranteed to make you feel as if you were there, sitting on the balcony of a small Italian restaurant in the dazzling sunshine, eating pizza and sipping a glass of wine.

As for the characters, I think Frankie, with her slightly sarcastic attitude and Irish humour, makes a great narrator. Take Frankie - a workaholic and tiny bit impatient literary agent whose only hope for saving her agency is signing a book deal with a writer called Ian -, add a stubborn and eccentric writer called Ian who's afraid to step outside his comfort zone and who's like a big kid, and spice it up with the world's clumsiest PA named Helen and you know you're in for a funny adventure!

The only thing I wasn't particularly fond of is the fact that the story can be quite predictable at times. Aimee's story is a nice touch and I love the mystery element in the novel but as soon as it turns out who's behind these unknown messages and why they're texting Frankie instead of Aimee, it's quite easy to predict where the story is going and what's going to happen next.

Other than that, it's a nice summer read filled with down-to-earth characters, beautiful setting and more importantly, humour - it's definitely one of those books that you can read in your garden with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) in hand on a bright summer day. If you're looking for a book to take on holiday, A Message to Your Heart is a must-have.
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on 7 July 2012
Niamh Greene's newly released novel, 'A Message To Your Heart' is the first book I've read from this novelist. Sorry! I know, but it is! I can almost hear some of you shouting at the screen, what?! Only the first?! Well, yes it is, but I have to say, it's a blooming cracker!! I love the characters in this book, well, apart from one, who quite frankly irritated the pants off me! You'll have to read it to find out who I'm talking about and yes, I'm sure most of us have experienced a character like this one, especially the ladies!
Frankie, (Francesca, is her Sunday name!) is a workaholic, married to her phone...literary agent, who needs to go on a business trip to San Francisco to secure a....you'll find that out! On the plane, Frankie meets 'Rosie', you know, one of those folks you really don't want sat next to you on a long haul flight. But it turns out everyone should have a Rosie in their life! After landing at San Francisco airport, Frankie loses her phone and has to hire a replacement phone. Almost immediately, she starts receiving some odd texts, intended for a girl called Aimee. The tale unfolds and we are introduced to some lovely characters along the way. It's been an educating read too, especially about the Golden Gate Bridge and how to make pasta! I felt I'd been transported to San Francisco and was a part of this book, so much so, I didn't want to come back to Dublin, I was enjoying myself too much! I found myself quite envious of Frankie when she met 'John'. Niamh's subtle humour had me giggling throughout the book, although I did have tears in my eyes when reading the first part of the 'Epilogue!' The second part was a happy emotion though! I enjoyed this book immensely and would fully recommend it! A fabulous read!!
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on 2 August 2013
I know there are some good reviews here and I'm glad people enjoyed Niamh Greene's book. Not everyone enjoys the same things though, so here are my thoughts for balance.

Firstly, some reviewers mentioned the pasta making scene, which I also found informative. However, it read like a lesson, as did the mini-lectures about the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. These sections were rather lengthy, so became more of a diversion than a splash of colour.

Another problem was that the writing was too predictable - I was always a step ahead of the action and dialogue. I found myself finishing sentences before I'd even read them. I also thought the plotline was spelled out far too often.

The plot itself was unconvincing. The main character, Frankie, a self-employed literary agent, was in difficulty. Her business was struggling, she couldn't meet her bills and the bank had suspended her account. If the agency failed, Frankie would have to give up her flat and her PA would lose her job. So, Frankie took off to San Francisco to sign up a reclusive, well-known author. This seemed expected to produce an immediate reversal of fortune, something I thought was too simplistic, especially since the reclusive author hadn't written anything for years. I also found it distracting that, despite a frozen bank account, Frankie's adventures involved a lot of shopping, eating out, drinking and sightseeing.

Finally, I couldn't understand why it was so vital Frankie's author had to write a sequel to his seminal novel. For Frankie and her publisher boyfriend, who were only interested in making money, it was not enough to sign the author, everything seemed to depend on the sequel. Surely a long awaited new book from such a towering figure in the literary world would sell whatever he wanted to write? I suppose it was just a device to crank up the tension, but it just wasn't believable.

Maybe with light-hearted books you should go with the flow and not look too deeply, but for the reasons above, I couldn't believe in the story or finish the book.
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Alright, I know I shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but come on... How can you possibly resist this one? I certainly couldn't when I saw it lying on top of a pile in a book shop. The gorgeous shade of blue, the small stars which give it a kind of magical feel, the lovely San Francisco scene at the top, the swirly font of the title... If I had to review books by their cover, this one would definitely score very well. But, that's of course not how it works. Thankfully, the novel itself turned out to fit this amazing cover very well and didn't let me down.

`A Message to Your Heart' tells the story of Frankie Rowley, an Irish literary agent who is devoted to her work (perhaps a bit too much...). After leaving the big organization she used to work for, Frankie decided to turn one of her dreams into reality by starting her own business. However, this particular dream could turn into a nightmare rather quickly if Frankie doesn't find a new and successful author to sign with her. In order to save her business, she spends the last bit of her money on a plane ticket to San Francisco, where she hopes to be able to reel in famous, but slightly eccentric and stubborn, writer Ian. However, at the start of her trip Frankie loses her phone and in the world of a true workaholic there is probably no bigger disaster imaginable. To make matters even worse, though, Frankie starts to receive strange text messages on her replacement phone. Text messages to a woman named Aimee, and it doesn't take long before Aimee's life starts to take over Frankie's in all kinds of ways...

I don't want to give too much away about the story, because that is one of the things I liked most about this novel. The blurb on the back of the book definitely didn't give the whole plot away and even though some of the story might be a bit predictable to some people, it definitely didn't ruin the reading process for me. I liked Frankie and felt myself really hoping and wishing she would eventually find her happy ending. Most of the other characters introduced in the book (for example Rosie, the American woman Frankie meets on the plane to San Francisco, and Aimee, the woman who is supposed to get all those strange text messages) are also really well-written and make the story come alive. One specific thing that definitely jumped out at me in this particular novel is the scene setting. Most of the novel is set in the city of San Francisco, a place I have never been before but can't wait to visit after reading Greene's description of it. It is obvious she has spent quite some time in the city and it has taken up a special place in her heart. I could easily imagine Frankie walking around the city, and it made me long to find a quiet place and get lost in the world of this novel again and again. One thing I was a bit disappointed with was Frankie's love life. I don't want to say too much about the development of the story, but I felt the story missed a bit of real chemistry between Frankie and her potential love interest, which was too bad.

If you are looking for a good summer read, or simply a novel that can add a bit of sunshine to your everyday life, then this is the book for you. Niamh Greene's uplifting story definitely got me hooked, and I can't wait to pick up some of her other novels!
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on 30 November 2012
Frankie is a workaholic, much to the annoyance of her family and friends, but she needs to be since she decided to branch out on her own and set up her own literary agency. She needs to find some new clients and fast as with only one successful client on her books she's constantly fighting to keep the bank manager at bay...

So she heads off to San Francisco to try and get a reclusive author to sign up with her agency to enable her to try and talk him into writing a sequel to his successful previous book but things don't quite go to plan.

Somehow on the plane she manages to lose her phone... which has her whole schedule mapped out on it... she feels lost without it as if she's missing a limb. How will she cope without it? Larger than life Rosie, her companion on the plane, suggests to Frankie that she hires a phone until the airline finds her own phone but this is when the fun really starts as she starts to receive messages that are not for her... what do they mean and who are they really for? Will she ever find out?

This was a hilarious story with some interesting characters but have to confess I actually loved Rosie more so than Frankie. Rosie was just so enthusiastic with everything and everyone that she met you just can't help but fall in love with her.

Having read three of Niamh Greene's books now, I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more in the future.
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on 2 June 2012
Just finished this in one sitting.

I loved the premise of the story, the idea that a mix up over a phone could lead to something so wonderful just appeals to the old romantic in me. Throughout the story there is humour, compassion and hope, everything that we need to escape at the moment.

I felt as though I were in Frankie's head the entire time and could relate to all her problems and frustrations along her journey. My favourite character has got to be Rosie, she really moves the story along and reminds me of every American I have ever met!

Frankie is like so many women today, struggling to hold down the image of a successful business women while feeling that there is something missing from her life. She has become so caught up in her worries that she has lost the connection with her friends and family and it takes Rosie and a twist of fate to show her what the important things in life are.

A heart warming and uplifting read. Perfect for a summer's evening .
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on 12 November 2013
I have never laughed and cried so much. Great story line. If you want to read a good book with not too many characters, I always have problems remembering whose who, then this one is for you. It touches on the death of a young person but somehow the author manages to do it in a sensitive way. Would recommend this book to anyonewho enjoys light reading, has a good sense of humour but at the same time enjoys a weepy read. You really need to read it to understand where I am coming from. Enjoy!
5 star
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