Book Review: The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson

What it's about

isbn9781444731088-detailOne heart, two lives…

When a teenager dies in an accident in rural Cambridgeshire, it affords Patrick, a fifty-year-old professor, drinker and womaniser, the chance on a life-saving heart transplant. But as Patrick recovers, he has the odd feeling that his old life ‘won’t have him’. He becomes bewitched by the story of his heart, ever more curious about the boy who donated it, his ancestors, the Fenland he grew up in.

What exactly has Patrick been given?

Review

Firstly I’d like to thank Bookbridgr for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The Tell-Tale Heart is told from multiple viewpoints, starting with that of Patrick, the 50 year-old professor and womaniser who has just received a life-saving heart transplant and been given a second chance. Patrick starts to wonder about his new heart and where it came from and when he discovers the heart previously belonged to a teenage boy named Drew Beamish, he seeks out to find out more about his donor. Rewind to 1816, where Willie Beamiss – an ancestor of Drew tells us his story all about the Fenland, the very place that Drew still lives now and then finally, Drew’s story and what happened on the fateful day before his heart would soon belong to someone else.

I have been in two minds about this book for the majority of it, but now having finished it and having seen the big picture, I’ve concluded that it actually was quite a philosophical and thought-provoking novel. Not without it’s flaws but I loved the way the entire story came together and showed the connection, not only between yourself and your ancestors, but between yourself and someone who was a stranger. In this case, 50 year-old Patrick and 16 year-old Drew Beamish. The multiple viewpoints in the novel gave it the touch it needed – having not particularly warmed to Patrick (who generally wasn’t a very nice person anyway), I was thrilled to see that when the time came for Drew to tell his side, the story completely came alive because this boy was just so full of life and youth and emotion – a complete contrast to that of Patrick. I instantly warmed to Drew and found myself devastated about his coming fate.

The only part I found myself struggling with was the viewpoint of Willie Beamiss – Drew’s ancestor. It was a vital part of the story and it was written in an entirely different tone to the rest – you could instantly see the differences in each characters chapters however because it was set so long ago, I did find myself not knowing how to picture the settings or what was going on. Immaculately written but unfortunately went over the top of my head a bit. By no means perfect, somewhat slow in parts and could have potentially had more substance to it but overall a good read which poses interesting questions and ideas about life and death.

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Rating

3.5/5

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