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Heart of the Matter
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Heart of the Matter

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  93,241 Ratings  ·  4,282 Reviews
Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2010)
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Lisa Mcadams I think he found his soul mate with Valerie, but didn't have it in him to leave his children. I think he fell out of love with Tessa, a long time ago,…moreI think he found his soul mate with Valerie, but didn't have it in him to leave his children. I think he fell out of love with Tessa, a long time ago, because of how shallow and insecure she was.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Marjie Tessa and the kids could have eaten them, the babysitter, Nick (who spent time at the house with the kids) probably would have eaten the pie ordered…moreTessa and the kids could have eaten them, the babysitter, Nick (who spent time at the house with the kids) probably would have eaten the pie ordered for him. They could have been gifts to others or brought to a neighborhood potluck. Tessa could have shared them with friends or just thrown them in the trash.(less)

Community Reviews

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Rating details
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Jun 22, 2010 rated it did not like it
The formula for HOTM:

Weak women characters + Cheating scandal + Blaming parents for the way they are + Forgiveness on the woman's part = $UCE$$. Let's review.

I am getting very frustrated with the cheating scandal that seems to plague all of her books. Haven't we seen this before?

The story begins with Tessa and Nick, a seemingly perfect couple who have it all. A high powered career, 2 beautiful children, rich friends, yet there are cracks in their foundation. BLAHHHHHHHHHHH. Give me something n
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it

Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie—a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance—and even to some degree, friend
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women
Shelves: owned
I remarked to someone over the weekend that all of Emily Giffin's books are about cheating. But they aren't. Not really. Just like cheating isn't usually the cause of a relationship breaking up; it's a symptom of a relationship that is already broken. Cheating is the plot of these books, but it isn't what the books are about. They're about choices. They're about growth. And here, the "heart of the matter" is forgiveness.

In this novel, Giffin skillfully tells the story about two women and the way
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2010 rated it liked it
I love the author's style of writing and would have given this book 5 stars if it had an alternate ending option.


Maybe it's just me, but I was unsatisfied with the way the story ended. It wasn't because the story didn't turn out for the characters the way I had hoped, but the fairytale ending was extremely predictable and bothersome. I know the theme of the story was forgiveness, but sometimes things just need to end. Who goes to a different city to get "tipsy" with
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
When I began reading this book, actually my first Giffin novel, I had not a clue what it was about. I refused to read reviews, allowing the book's jacket to be my only insight. A wise move since the anticipation simmering page by page and the unpredictability of what lay ahead in the pages of the first two-thirds of this book were terrific.

Therefore, I will do the same; I won't reveal the "heart" of this book. I will only say that Emily Giffin is a gifted writer, as you all knew and I now know,
Apr 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I had a really hard time with this book... for a couple of reasons.
Spoiler Alert:
First, I had a hard time accepting that Nick would have an affair without first discussing any marital problems he was having with his wife. I feel like even after, when he fessed up and asked for forgiveness, he still never really gave a valid reason - "you changed" doesn't really count.
While I completely feel for Tess throughout the story, and feel like she was completely and unfairly wronged - at times I had a di
Oct 09, 2011 rated it did not like it
I am mortified to have to spend precious reading-time on this junk which was inexplicably selected by my book club. Guess we let somebody slip this in without much vetting.

The characterization is lazy and boring.

The men in Tessa's family, though as beautiful as models, are somehow also in 'finance- Goldman Sachs' (oh cool, money) and 'the best pediatric surgeon in the world' (oh cool, money AND he loves children, calling George Clooney)-- and they live in regular suburbs like you & me! Gran
Pamela Pickering
Read for my April bookclub. First, I have to disclose that this is not my preferred genre and the only reason I read "Heart of the Matter" was because it was chosen by my book club. Now...why the three star rating? I couldn't put the book down but I absolutely hated it. What a weird paradox. Giffin sure writes well and she knows how to pull you into a story but I just found the main characters incredibly frustrating. Although they all had their good characteristics, Giffin surely highlighted the ...more
Aug 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
Okay holy s*** this was Emily's worrrrrrst work everrrrr. I usualy love her work but this was just pitiful. The women characters were soooooo weak, and the book essentialy gives the message that cheating is completely forgivable if your husband looks at you with his pretty eyes and says he's sorry, and that it won't happen again, and that it only happened "once" (I personally consider every flirty moment, kiss, and touch cheating).

Not to mention the fact that he doesn't even admit to it until he
May 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Blah! The ending was lame. (Serious Spoilers) Shockingly enough, I would have had more respect for Nick had he have of chosen Valerie. It seemed as if he stayed with his wife only because it was the "right" thing to do, not because he truly loved her. Hell, he tells Valerie he wants to take her home and "just be with her" and that it scares him because he will always love her then goes directly home and tells Tessa how he wishes he could take it back! LAAAME! I don't see a happy ending for these ...more
Jun 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
Spoilers in review!

Sooooo, we're supposed to believe that this renowned surgical attending at Mass Gen (one of top hospitals in the nation) had all this free time to sit around and chat it up and get “friendly” with a patient’s mother and nooooooooobody noticed! Not the nurses, not his interns, residents, NOBODY noticed. He didn’t have any other patients?

The characters got on my nerves, especially Tessa’s friends. Who really does brings wine to a waiting room in a hospital? Tessa too! If you’re
Lori Loves Reading
May 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2010
I wanted to love this book. I have been waiting for it to come out for what seems like forever and I was so excited to be able to preorder it on Kindle. The happiness ends there.

I felt empathy, I felt anger, I felt rage. For evoking these feelings, I would say Emily Giffin has done it again and written fantastically. However, the subject matter itself was too sad for me to enjoy. Infidelity is not something I enjoy reading about. The story of Something Borrowed was so different in this way beca
Jun 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit, favorites, 2013
Loved, loved, loved this book! Had a hard time even putting it down. I loved the fact that the characters weren't perfect, their relationship wasn't perfect. I liked that Giffin didn't write the token "happy ending". This wasn't a light read like some of her other stories. I highly, highly recommend this book to readers that enjoy family & relationship-based dramas. One of my favorites of the year.
                   Hazzie Faith
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, romance
''All wounds heal.''

That is something you can read near the end of the book. I'm trying to heal my own wound now, knowing there is no ''they lived happily ever after.'' but... at the same time, there is a lesson even greater than that. Forgiveness. Without trying to spoil the whole story, I think the main goal of the story is to learn to try and forgive loved ones. Through the story of two women, who are completely different, Valerie and Tessa, I learned that, though it doesn't always end up the
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I devoured and relished Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter. There are so many reasons why I love Giffin's books, not the least of which is that she tells compelling stories. But it is more than that. It's that she creates such believable and relatable characters who face believable and relatable situations. In Heart of the Matter, the lives of two women intertwine in unexpected ways after a tragic accident. These women are suddenly caught in an imperfect, heartbreaking situation. As they face de ...more
Tina Hayes
Apr 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: vine
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The LAST Emily Giffin novel I really, really loved. "Heart of the Matter" is probably her best novel. Too bad it all went downhill from there.

2.5* sebenarnya
(view spoiler)
Nov 10, 2016 rated it liked it

Pastaruoju metu vieną po kitos skaičiau rimtesnes, sudėtigesnes knygas, ir be galo pasiilgau kažko moteriško ir paprasto. Būten tokia man ir pasirodė ši knyga. Paprastas meilės romanas, šeimos drama, jausmų audros - būtent tai ko man reikėjo.

"Tai, kas svarbiausia" pasakoja dviejų šeimų istorijas. Nikas ir Tesa - laimingai vedusi sutuotinių pora, auginanti du nuostabius vaikučius. Valerija ir Čarlis - mamos ir mažamečio sūnelio šeima. Pirmoji šeima gan sunkiai p
Gail Dologuin
May 12, 2010 rated it liked it
So I really did not want to read this book for my strong affinity for fidelity. I read Something Blue first and loved it, then I read Something Borrowed and could not finish the book. I read the book backwards because I couldn't help myself and it was hard to swallow the inevitable between Valerie and Nick. However, I did not have any sympathy for Nick. Valerie, even though she should have known better at least had the moral compass somewhat pointed up. What I found disturbing was in the end. He ...more
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
(Review was originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)

Heart of the Matter is written in Emily Giffin's style - a strong female perspective, matter of fact and brutally honest. This is what drew me to her book Something Borrowed in the first place, and what has kept me returning time and again despite the delicate subject matter she covers.

I was gripped by the subject matter of this book quite intensely. Kudos to Giffin for portraying the whole concept of adultery in a light that allows us to have b
I devoured this book, gave me anxiety attacks… it was so gripping I couldn’t put it down. I suggest you have a nice spam of time before starting this book, like an eight hours flight or something, because you will not want to put it down.

One more thing, I despised Nick so much that if I’ll ever meet him I’ll steal Charlotte’s opening line for Mr. Big in Sex and The City, “I curse the day you were born.”
Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars, and I had a hard time thinking about my rating!
The story was amazing, I won't lie, I literally couldn't put the book down, and read it slowly, analizing each situation and how would I react.
I've read some reviews and I have to agree and disagree with most of them. I agree the ending is terrible, it almost ruined the whole book for me and it changed the idea I had about each character.
And I have to disagree about the characters: Although IT WAS WRONG, I rooted for Valerie. I am in no
Jul 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
I just finished reading this book and I wouldn't even be giving it one star if I didn't have to do so. It was an extremely disappointing read. After reading all of Emily Giffin's books, this is probably her worse so far and makes me second guess reading her book coming out this July. The story line was yet another soap opera style story line with a man cheating on his wife with someone whom he told he loved, told her it was over and then went home crying to his wife wanting to make it "work". Fo ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although I did not agree with the overall story-line and the way it ended, I found myself reading this book without taking breaks, actually reading it in less than a day. I liked the narrative between the two characters, Tessa and Valerie. Honestly, I just wish there would have been more of a completion for Valerie's story. It implies she is going to contact the biological father, which I know will then be the 'real father figure' Charlie needs. I felt the depiction of the women in this novel wa ...more
Love Fool
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.

After Something Borrowed and Something Blue, this is my 3rd choice for Emily Giffin books. It was different and once again was rooting for a character I didn't think I would root for. I felt for Vale
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Emily Giffin is a graduate of Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia School of Law. After practicing litigation at a Manhattan firm for several years, she moved to London to write full time. The author of seven New York Times bestselling novels, The One & Only, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Baby Proof, Love The One You're With, Heart of the Matter, and Where We Belong, she
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“I think of how each person in a marriage owes it to the other to find individual happiness, even in a shared life. That this is the only way to grow together, instead of apart.” 226 likes
“In days that follow, I discover that anger is easier to handle than grief.” 201 likes
More quotes…