Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: "The Educated Heart" by Janet Logan

What would you do if your husband was not only cheating on you, but he's cheating on you with his secretary, who he's gotten pregnant? What would you do if said husband is murdered and as his lover lays dying she asks you to raise her as-yet-unborn child? These are the dilemmas that Bobbie Bloom faces when her husband and his lover are shot by his lover's enraged husband. Bobbie, a schoolteacher, has faced more than her fair share of troubles. After witnessing a horrific school shooting she temporarily moves closer to her mother in Florida to recover emotionally. There she meets the incomparable Norman, sweet and tender, but when a marriage proposal is not forthcoming, Bobbie moves on with his womanzing friend, Phillip. Phillip is the guy that you love to hate from the beginning, and it comes as no surprise when we find out that he's been cheating on her all along.

What does come as a surprise is the fact that as Phillip's lover lays dying from a bullet wound inflicted by her estranged husband, she begs Bobbie to bring up her unborn child as her own. From there comes a flow of emotions- how can Bobbie raise a child whose conception brought her great pain? When another tragedy strikes, Bobbie is forced to examine her complicated feelings for her adopted child, and her previous love, and make peace with the past that haunts her.

The Educated Heart is fast-paced and compelling. The plot was engrossing, and I found myself reading quickly to see what would happen next. I also appreciated the realistic questions raised and how they were dealt with- if you had to raise your husband's illigetimate child would you fall instantly in love with her? Or would your residual anger at your husband linger? The emotions tackled in this book are complex, and they were examined in a way that I found very satisfying.

I did have a few problems with the book here and there, namely some choppy dialogue and writing. At times I found that Bobbie's voice had some authenticity problems, and I couldn't match her words and how they were said with my picture of her in my head. This didn't detract from my overall enjoyment, and I would recommend The Educated Heart to anyone looking for a read that manages to be both compelling and fast-paced at once.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Recommended to: Fans of women's fiction with a little thriller thrown in for good measure
Challenges: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, New Author Challenge 2010

Thank-you to the publicist for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.