Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Women’s Fiction
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2018
“God wants nothing more than to restore us…”
My friend Suzie at Remembrancy said that she loved the concept of this book – and then it turned out to be even more than she hoped it would be. I feel exactly the same way! I expected this to be an inspiring story with lots of feels and travel adventures I could vicariously live through. And it is. But the concept of heart – and all it means for the different players – and the healing that is painted on these pages far exceeded my expectations.
I absolutely love Megan. She is such a layered character with a sweet personality and more courage than she gives herself credit for. After being sick for so long, she is finally able to live a full life but fear has been holding her back. As she connects with her donor’s family and gets to know her donor via the journal Amanda left behind, she is inspired to complete the teenager’s unfulfilled bucket list. Amanda did complete one of the items on the list already, and it’s actually that item that becomes the theme of the book in ways you might not at first expect. (I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’m trying to gush over the storytelling weavery without really gushing over it. Do with that what you will. LOL)
There’s a dash of romance that of course I loved. Really loved. I swooned. And sighed blissfully. BUT at the same time it doesn’t overwhelm the plot. And there’s another love story going on that I didn’t expect – and one that hit me right in the feels. Again, I don’t want to give a lot of the plot away because part of the beauty of the novel is joining these two sisters on their journey and taking each step with them. As a side note, can I just say that I love Crystal’s story and I’m so glad Lindsay agreed to give her a voice too. Though Megan remains my favorite! And Caleb… there I go swooning again!
Bottom Line: The Heart Between Us is part travel adventure, part hit-you-in-the-feels women’s fiction, part exploration of sisterhood and part romance. But it’s ALL excellently done. I knew I would enjoy this one; I just didn’t realize I would enjoy it so much. Megan’s story intertwines with her twin sister Crystal’s, her donor Amanda’s, and her best friend Caleb’s as she travels across the globe on a mission to finish a bucket list and find her own footing. Her multi-country, multi-cultural adventures are fun to experience vicariously and they serve well to move the story forward without bogging it down. Overall, the faith message is subtle but woven in so sweetly, and I wouldn’t change a bit of it.
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4.5 stars / A must-read!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years, and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com
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