23 Jun 2011



"Thanks for the heart," she said.

It was a surprisingly simple statement in the midst of all that life and death and indebtedness.

Vida is nineteen, very ill, and has spent her short life preparing for death. But a new chance brings its own story, because for Vida to live, someone had to die.

Richard has just lost his beloved wife in a car accident. He hasn't even begun to address his grief, but feels compelled to meet the girl who inherited his wife's heart.

In hospital Vida sees Richard and immediately falls in love. Of course he dismisses her as a foolish child. But is she? Can two people be bound by a Second hand Heart?
.... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Vida: On my upcoming death): I'm probably going to die really soon.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 33): Didn't she know the thrill of freedom I got from walking up those stairs by myself? How could she take an important moment like that away from me, when I had so few?

KEEP IT OR NOT?: Despite the fact that I did like this novel, I can't see myself reading it again and know my mam will love it.

Have you ever read a book and not been able to put it down? I'm sure most of you have but have you ever done so not really knowing quite what made you read page after page after page despite it being silly o'clock in the morning? I found myself doing just this with Second Hand Heart.

A fascinating concept, I loved the thought that memories could perhaps be stored in the heart as well as the brain, that a  transplanted organ could contain memories of the previous 'owners' life as seems to be the case with 19-year-old Vida. 

Not just a story of cellular memories but also a tale of relationships and journeys of self discovery I don't know exactly why I found Second Hand Heart so compelling as I found the story rather over stretched and most of the characters fairly awful - Vida especially so. Immature and selfish, all her actions seemed to revolve around her wants and desires. That said, Richard, the other main character, hardly seemed much better though it could be argued that his grief for his wife, the thought that part of her still lived on within Vida, informed many of his decisions.

Perhaps it was the romantic in me, perhaps it was some deep-seated belief that the spirit does indeed live on, perhaps it was just to find out how the story ended - I don't know what it was but, despite my thinking otherwise, I did enjoy this novel which certainly had me thinking about the issues surrounding transplants and how it must feel to know someone has had to die in order for you to live.

Whoopeeee, I'm half way there - the 50th book read for my 100+ Reading Challenge. Second Hand Heart was a reading group read but luckily I already had a copy, purchased free of charge from NewBooks magazine, on my tbr mountain.


Misha said...

I have just read one book by this author and I loved it! I know I am going to love Second Hand Heart too; I am glad to know you enjoyed it.

R. Ramesh said...

50th book read? hey congrats buddy...u r so good and no wonder u r among my best friend..cheers

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh this sounds so good. I am a big believer in the organ transplant program. I had a good friend who was on that list. I do need to wishlist this book.

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a good book! I remember another book about someone who had a heart transplant; In A Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth. It had some paranormal elements (the girl who died ended up in a strange world as a ghost) but it was an interesting novel.

Thanks for the review!

Nikki-ann said...

I read Second Hand Heart last summer and enjoyed it. I have another of Catherine's books in my TBR pile :)

Chatty Crone said...

You're half way there! Keep it up!

Dizzy C said...

Lovely review.

Congrats on getting to your 50th read!


Kelly said...

Something about this book grabbed me right from the beginning of your review. I may have to put it on my wish list. As a side note, I've read a horror story about receiving a heart transplant that didn't have quite the same results.

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Great review. And glad you enjoyed it. Sounds like a wonderful book to keep you going. :) Thanks!

kavita said...

Thanks for a great review.You inspire me to read books which i am not doing much of lately.

Betty Manousos@ Cut and Dry said...

another great review, Tracy.
i'm glad you enjoyed it.

...and congrats on getting to your 50th read!

you're really awesome!

big big hugs!
betty xx

Monalisa said...

That would be a book i would wish to read, inspired by your review. And hey, congrats on your 50th book.

naida said...

This sounds really good, youre review makes me want to read it.
Theres a film called Return To Me, its the same premise.
Congrats on the 50th book!

Jenners said...

It is always great when a book keeps you up to "silly o clock" -- even if you aren't quite sure why!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Congrats Tracy; you are more than well on your way! You go!