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6 April 2013

Review: 'A Message to Your Heart' by Niamh Greene (2012)

Frankie Rowley is far too practical to believe in karma or fate ... and her family and friends reckon that work-obsessed Frankie's strongest relationship is with her phone. (And why not? At least it never judges her for cancelling dinner for the umpteenth time.)

When she loses that precious phone on a business trip to San Francisco, Frankie is forced to hire a replacement. Soon she's getting texts meant for someone else - a woman called Aimee who seems like a lot of fun, and whose family clearly loves to keep in touch - and whose presence in her life is the last thing Frankie needs.

Frankie goes on the warpath, but she is in for some surprises when she blunders into Aimee's world. And the biggest surprise of all is how your life can be changed forever by losing a phone. Frankie may not believe in karma or fate, but suddenly it looks like they've got her number ...

Alright, I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but come on... How can you possibly resist this one? I certainly couldn’t when I saw it lying on top of a pile in a book shop. The gorgeous shade of blue, the small stars which give it a kind of magical feel, the lovely San Francisco scene at the top, the swirly font of the title... If I had to review books by their cover, this one would definitely score very well. But, that’s of course not how it works. Thankfully, the novel itself turned out to fit this amazing cover very well and didn’t let me down.

‘A Message to Your Heart’ tells the story of Frankie Rowley, an Irish literary agent who is devoted to her work (perhaps a bit too much...). After leaving the big organization she used to work for, Frankie decided to turn one of her dreams into reality by starting her own business. However, this particular dream could turn into a nightmare rather quickly if Frankie doesn’t find a new and successful author to sign with her. In order to save her business, she spends the last bit of her money on a plane ticket to San Francisco, where she hopes to be able to reel in famous, but slightly eccentric and stubborn, writer Ian. However, at the start of her trip Frankie loses her phone and in the world of a true workaholic there is probably no bigger disaster imaginable. To make matters even worse, though, Frankie starts to receive strange text messages on her replacement phone. Text messages to a woman named Aimee, and it doesn’t take long before Aimee’s life starts to take over Frankie’s in all kinds of ways...

I don’t want to give too much away about the story, because that is one of the things I liked most about this novel. The blurb on the back of the book definitely didn’t give the whole plot away and even though some of the story might be a bit predictable to some people, it definitely didn’t ruin the reading process for me. I liked Frankie and felt myself really hoping and wishing she would eventually find her happy ending. Most of the other characters introduced in the book (for example Rosie, the American woman Frankie meets on the plane to San Francisco, and Aimee, the woman who is supposed to get all those strange text messages) are also really well-written and make the story come alive. One specific thing that definitely jumped out at me in this particular novel is the scene setting. Most of the novel is set in the city of San Francisco, a place I have never been before but can’t wait to visit after reading Greene’s description of it. It is obvious she has spent quite some time in the city and it has taken up a special place in her heart. I could easily imagine Frankie walking around the city, and it made me long to find a quiet place and get lost in the world of this novel again and again. One thing I was a bit disappointed with was Frankie’s love life. I don’t want to say too much about the development of the story, but I felt the story missed a bit of real chemistry between Frankie and her potential love interest, which was too bad.      

If you are looking for a good summer read, or simply a novel that can add a bit of sunshine to your everyday life, then this is the book for you. Niamh Greene’s uplifting story definitely got me hooked, and I can’t wait to pick up some of her other novels!


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