My rating: (4 / 5)
While this book was a slow starter, it had a nice payoff in the end.
Heart and Soul centers around a Irish clinic that treats patients with heart disease, helping them to learn to live with their condition, rather than dying from it – dietician Lavender holds cooking workshops, trainer Jimmy puts them through their paces in the gym, Dr. Decklan monitoring their health, nurses Fiona and Hillary minding the patients, clerical Anya working her behind off in every way, and administrator Clara overseeing them all.
The chapters are divided into the stories of different characters, so that you are changing perspectives off and on. The book starts with Clara, and while I can’t remember the exact order, I do know that I was pretty bored until Anya’s story was picked up in Chapter 4. I was considering giving up on the book, to be honest, but once I got into the tale of this lovely Polish immigrant and her troubled background, I was hooked!
The story is very character driven, and there seems to be someone to relate to for everyone who might read this book. There are some hints that several characters are reappearing after being highlighted in other books Binchy has written, but I haven’t read enough of her recent work to have known who they were or what the connections might have been. It didn’t detract too much from the story, but did pique my curiosity. If there had been more information about the other books, I probably would have picked them up to see the background, but I can’t seem to find much info on that. If you have any – let me know!
By the end, I was very wrapped up in this story and stayed up late to finish it. Though parts of the book dragged, overall I really enjoyed it.