What the Heart Remembers

Image of What the Heart Remembers
Release Date: 
September 4, 2012
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“. . . you’ll be glad you got on for the ride—and made it safely to the end.”

Reading What the Heart Remembers is exactly like driving down the infamous Del Dios Highway featured in Debra Ginsberg’s book: The plot, like the dangerous two-lane road in Southern California, is twisting, turning, and always leaving the driver on the edge.

The novel begins in Portland, where Eden Harrison, madly in love with her fiancé, undergoes a heart transplant to correct her arrhythmia. As she recovers she finds herself longing for the sunny beaches of San Diego, California, and realizes her boyfriend and her successful career of working with children just isn’t enough. She needs . . . something else. Not just needs—she longs for things she never even thought about before the transplant.

She moves by herself to the California coast and takes a job as a waitress, encountering there a beautiful and wealthy young widow Darcy Silver. The two women find the need to become friends.

“There was something . . . haunted about her.

“Yes, haunted was the word, Darcy thought. And that did feel familiar to Darcy. Although there was really nothing similar about them—at least as far as Darcy had been able to tell—there was something, some experience or aspect of their lives that they shared. Darcy was sure of this. There was no other way to explain how she already felt linked to Eden despite knowing her only a short time.”

There is a lot of déjà vu type stuff going on once Eden arrives in California, making us think, “Oh I see what’s going on here.” But you don’t. Just keep reading.

As Eden begins dreaming about people and places that somehow feel familiar, her ex-fiancé in Portland is doing what he can to understand her abandonment. He researches something called cellular memory. It seems the heart transplanted into Eden came with some memories—and baggage.

This phenomenon occurs when organ transplant receivers report a change in their personalities, acquiring the memories, experiences, and/or emotions of their deceased donors. Even without this knowledge, you’ll find author Ginsberg fills the pages of this haunting thriller so skillfully you would never consider tossing aside the book and saying, “Oh, that can never happen.”

Because apparently it can. And it does.

What the Heart Remembers is dark and clever and grabs you right from the first page. It’s about love, friendships, deceit, and the paranormal—all delicious elements with which to populate a novel.

What the Heart Remembers would be a great beach read, but as the days turn shorter and darker, it’s even more apropos to read this chilling novel by the fireplace. Like driving on the treacherous Del Dios Highway, you’ll be glad you got on for the ride—and made it safely to the end.