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on 29 March 2015
This was readable but not believable I`m sorry to say. The main protagonists were weak and the storyline did not grip me. I had to read it all as it was a book club book otherwise I would have made an early exit. There are too many better books out there.
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on 1 January 2016
Ok nothing special
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on 11 December 2015
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on 18 February 2015
great read and value
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on 12 October 2016
I was hugely intrigued by the book description. The idea that a transplanted heart can hold memories/emotions of who it belongs to struck me as a fantastic plot-line. I really liked how this was told from two perspectives - 19 Year old Vida (The reciever of said heart) and Richard (Widower of Donor). Having said that, I found Vida's 'youngness' to be a little on the irritating side. She was portrayed as someone seemingly a LOT younger (perhaps 12 or 13) and whilst I think this may have been intentional, it was annoying all the same. Also - The 'trip to the grand canyon' was a little lost on me but I can't deny that this was very enjoyable! I definitely recommend!
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VINE VOICEon 9 October 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Nineteen year old Vida is dying. She desperately needs a new heart - but, when she receives it, she receives a lot more too. Can a transplanted organ bring memories with it? If not, why does she suddenly have feelings for the widower whose wife's heart she has received? Why does she know so much about hiking when, for all her life, she was barely well enough to walk from the car to school or to the house?

This intriguing book is written in the form of two diaries - those of Vida and of Richard, the widower whose wife's heart she received in the transplant - as well as emails between Richard, his mother-in-law, Vida and her mother. It follows their lives from the day of the transplant and onwards for several months. It touches on elements of life and death which are rarely, if ever discussed in a way that cannot be ignored. However, as the godmother of a child who will, in all probability, eventually need a heart transplant, it hit several poignant spots for me.

This is a book that should appeal to readers of Jodie Picoult as well as to those who enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife
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VINE VOICEon 8 August 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Theoretically this is the kind of book I really enjoy: emotional challenges, difficult dilemmas and scenarios that you hope you never ever find yourself in. In reality, however, I struggled to get into this book. Admittedly, Hyde has pulled together all the ingredients for a fine story - a young flighty girl in need of a heart, a tragic death, a grieving husband, a confusing relationship between the recipient and the donor's widow - but I still felt the recipe didn't quite come off.

The girl, Vida, is extremely hard to like. She's selfish, thoughtless and has her head in the clouds. Perhaps it was Hyde's intention to make her a distasteful character but I think this was a key aspect of the story that really stopped me getting fully involved.

The widow, Richard, is also flawed and somewhat misguided in some of his actions but I found him more likeable than Vida and certainly felt he was a more compelling character.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong with this tale but I felt it had the potential to shine bright amongst the ranks of Diane Chamberlain and Jodi Picoult. It is well written and interesting but I felt it fell short of truly sparkling. Nonetheless, it has certainly captured my interest enough to look out for Hyde's future works.
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VINE VOICEon 7 August 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I thought it was about time I read a little more contemporary fiction. I had not read anything by the author before but I did enjoy the movie which one of her books was made from. (Pay It Forward)

The book has many themes, but the central one is learning to live, and is told in first person from the two main characters of the story, Vida a nineteen year old girl who has spent all her life waiting to die, because of a heart defect and Richard, the thirty-six year old man whose wife has just died.

Richard donates his wife's organs after her death and Vida gets her heart. Richard goes to meet her after the operation and from the outset Vida is very direct with him and she tells him she loves him. Still grieving for his wife, he doesn't really know how to handle Vida.

Is is a real feeling or some residue from the organ of his wife that she now has? It explores the possibilities of this as well as Vida finding her own feet in a world she has been shielded from, almost from birth.

Richard is very reluctant to keep contact with Vida, but she has a way of being very convincing...

Another important relationship in the book is Vida's friendship with the elderly neighbour Esther (a survivor of a Jewish POW death camp) Vida's new found lease of life is infectious and makes Esther make a road trip before it is too late. She takes Vida and a young man who she pays to drive her places and it is there that Vida has one of her first feelings of enjoying hiking although she has never been physically able to and starts to wonder if it is a memory of the donor heart within her.

Richard too tries to find answers to this connection and it helps him to overcome his loss. Things are resolved in a satisfactory way and gives the reader a feeling of hope for the characters in the book as they try to build new lives.

I don't want to give any more away, read it for yourself. It is a good read.
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on 18 June 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Vida is a young girl with a heart condition: from a young age she's been expected to die at any moment and life with her over-protective mother is mostly a waiting game. But when, against the odds, she receives a heart transplant at the last possible moment, life changes completely - and Vida falls in love at first sight when she meets the husband of the dead heart donor, Richard. As you can imagine, the victim of her attentions is coming to terms with his wife's death and is horrified to discover that he is practically being stalked by an enamored young woman who has (until now) lived a very sheltered life. But when Vida begins to remember things she couldn't possible remember, even Richard begins to wonder whether something of his wife lives on her heart...

Both Vida and Richard are difficult characters. Over-protected and cossetted for her whole life, Vida is tactless and says exactly what she thinks, oblivious of its impact on others, totally unaware of her stalkerish behaviour and unable to deal with Richard's grief. Richard has just lost his wife and is understandably not in a great mood. But more than that, it's turned him into an unhappy man who dwells on his past life and on the love he's lost, and just wants Vida to go away and leave him alone. But as Vida makes an important journey, Richard begins to wonder whether Vida actually holds to key to what he's been looking for.

The story unfolds in the shape of diary entries - it starts with Vida's journal and then we read excerpts of the diary that Richard starts keeping after seeing Vida writing. Both characters change and develop enormously over the course of the novel and that is a great part of its pleasure - it's a very personal and engaging story. I just wanted to keep reading it and find out what happened. Although it deals with a difficult subject, Second Hand Heart is never maudlin, gushy or sensational. Occasionally unbelievable? Perhaps. But I like to think it is just thought-provoking. And it's certainly a very good read.
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VINE VOICEon 31 May 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Vida is nineteen and has suffered with a heart condition her whole life. When she receives a transplant, she instantly falls in love with the husband of the donor, and is determined to build a relationship with him. Richard is struggling with the loss of his wife and having Vida in his life just makes everything harder. But when she begins to have memories of places she has never been, he wonders if the love of his life might somehow live on.

I was initially wary about this book, as the title and cover are similar to that of 'Change of Heart' by Jodi Picoult, which also deals with the subject of heart transplants, and I thought this might be an imitation. However, this is different in both story and style.

At first Vida is a difficult character. After her transplant she forces herself into Richard's life: telephoning him at 1am, pestering him to visit her, even attempting to seduce him. This made me inclined to dislike her, as she seemed unable to accept Richard's grief and allow him to deal with it, instead making things more painful by reminding him of what he has lost. In this part of the book, Vida reminded me of the young Japanese girl from the film 'Babel', who was also desperate to find affection and love to enable her escape from a tragic and sheltered life. When Vida eventually grasps the freedom she never had, thanks to her heart condition and over-protective mother, she becomes a much more sympathetic character. The girl sets out to travel around America, and in her absence Richard begins to work through his grief, realising that Vida might be the key after all.

I found the sections of the novel that followed Richard's story most engaging, as they are moving and genuine. Both he and Vida develop throughout the story, from being sad and lost characters, from each other they find a way to live again. The story is told in the form of a journal - Vida's writing inspires Richard to begin - so the book has a very personal and sometimes chatty style that is easy to read, and this becomes a very compelling novel that I didn't want to put down, which deals with a difficult subject without ever becoming heavy-handed or overly emotional.
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