REVIEW – The Heart Keeper by Alex Dahl

The Heart Keeper

Published July 16, 2019 by Berkley Books

 

 

Two mothers. Two daughters. One heart.

Alison is barely hanging on since her daughter passed away. Alison and her husband, Sindre vowed they would stay together and learn to live this new life, but it’s been extremely difficult. Now they are like polite strangers interacting only when they absolutely have to.

After Amalie drowned they donated her organs in the hopes that they could save someone else from this terrible loss. Alison’s stepson, Oliver tells her about cell memory and asks which parts of Amalie were donated. Suddenly, Alison can’t stop thinking about parts of her daughter in other people. Other people are alive because Amalie is not. 

Alison wonders if transplant organs really hold donors memories.

“Could it be that they received more than just a life-giving body part?“

Alison is able to find out where Amalie’s heart went. She knows she should stay away, but something is pulling her towards Iselin and Kaia. Alison’s lack of sleep, alcohol intake and feelings of grief and loss have her thoughts jumbled together. She desperately wants to connect with Amalie.

What starts as curiosity becomes an obsession.

Iselin didn’t hear her phone ring the day the call came. When she finally picked up her phone, she saw that she had missed four calls from the hospital. “How soon can you be here?”

Iselin’s daughter, Kaia was getting a new heart. Iselin prayed and held her breath until the doctor showed her a screen that showed Kaia’s new heart beating steadily.

Now things are looking up. Money is still tight, but Iselin has started drawing again and has even made a few sales. She hopes it will continue. They are also interviewed for a magazine describing what happened to Kaia to help raise awareness for childhood heart disease.

Iselin doesn’t realize what this article may mean for her and her daughter.

Iselin meets a wonderful woman named Alison. Alison seems a little strange but is very kind and generous.

But what does she really know about Alison? Why is Alison so interested in Iselin and Kaia?

This was a very interesting and thought-provoking read that will stay with me for a long time.

The story is told from both Alison and Iselin’s point of view. I had a bit of a hard time getting into the book at first, but I am glad that I stuck with it. After a few chapters, I was hooked. This was quite an emotional read. I thought the characters were well-developed. Their grief felt realistic. The author did a good job of showing the relationship and bonds between parent and child and what might happen if that bond is threatened.

An emotional and gripping story about motherhood, loss, grief,  guilt, and love.

I’d like to thank Berkley Books for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

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