New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin?s novel Heart of the Matter is the story of two women whose lives are brought together by a tragic accident. On one side is Tessa, a happily married mom who recently gave up her career to stay at home with her two kids. Her husband Nick is a pediatric plastic surgeon. On the other side is Valerie, a single mom who has given up on relationships and love. At a slumber party, Valerie?s young son suffers burns, and Nick is the doctor who treats him at the hospital. This emotionally charged encounter leads to a romantic involvement between Nick and Valerie. Valerie tries to battle her desires verses the consequences of being with a married man. Tessa?s confidence fades as her husband slowly retreats from her. She goes back and forth between doubting Nick, condemning herself for doubting and wondering whether he has lost respect for her because she chose family over career.
It would have been easy for Giffin to pick sides, but she was unbiased, not making one character seem better than the other. The women were dynamic characters. Tessa battles with herself over whether deserting her career was a good idea and doubting her husband?s faithfulness. Meanwhile, Valerie struggles over having an affair with a married man while also taking care of her son. Nick, however is a very flat character, which is slightly disappointing. He does not change throughout the book, and we never really learn much about him despite his being a major character.
The book has a good flow, it makes you keep on reading it until you can?t put it down. Giffin also provides humor through quirky friends and neighbors, so the entire book isn?t a downer.