I’m delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for I Give You My Heart by Sarahjane Ford, a really emotional read. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and the author for my copy of the book which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. Make sure you enter the giveaway below the review.
“𝗔 𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗱𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗻𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘀. 𝗔 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲-𝘀𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘀𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲. 𝗔 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘄𝗮𝗹𝗹𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗮𝗿𝘁.
Alice Richards looked forward to watching the seeds of love she and her husband planted bloom and grow well into their old age. But her plans for the future shrivel up and die when she learns she has an inoperable brain tumour.
Determined that she won’t die in vain, she decides to become an organ donor. With a few precious months left, Alice begins documenting her fairytale romance—from their first meeting to the children they dreamed of having. She’ll pass on every detail to her heart’s next owner… along with careful instructions to send her husband reminders of her undying love. Before her time runs out, Alice must find the perfect candidate to guide her husband through unimaginable grief and hold the memory of their love in her heart.
I Give You My Heart is an emotional romantic fiction novel with an uplifting message. If you like strong-willed women, undying love stories, and honest portrayals of coping with a terminal illness, then you’ll love SarahJane Ford’s heart-warming epic.
An unmissable love story full of warmth, beauty and with a huge, beating heart. Perfect for fans of Cecilia Ahern’s ‘P.S. I Love You’ and Jojo Moyes’ ‘Me Before You’.”
This is a really tough book to review because there are some things I loved about it and some things I didn’t like so much.
This book was never going to be an easy read, dealing as it does with terminal illness and organ donation so, before you pick it up, be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster and get the tissues to hand. Regardless of any flaws I might have found in the book, it is definitely heart breaking and you would need to have a heart of stone not to be affected by it. It might be too much for people with a sensitivity to the topics covered to deal with because it delves fully into the topics and does not skirt the tough issues faced by people in these situations.
One of the main premises of the book is the subject of Cellular Memory and whether organs passed on from donor to recipient carry part of the donor’s personality or spirit with them into the new body. This is quite a controversial subject for some people and can raise strong opinions and reactions on both sides. If you are deeply opposed to this theory, this book will definitely trigger you and, if you are skeptical, you will need to be prepared to suspend your misgivings in order for the plot to carry you with it fully. This may be where I had my first issue with the book; to be frank, it is not an idea I can get my head around at all, although it is an interesting theory to contemplate and discuss.
Th writing in this book is beautiful. This is its biggest strength. I absolutely loved the author’s voice and she is extremely skilled in painting a beautiful scene and drawing out the emotion of the plot. The part I enjoyed most about the book was the writing, language and imagery and I really believe the author is very gifted writer. I think the book is well plotted and I really enjoyed the mechanism of Alice writing the ‘Manual’ as a way of telling the story of her and Alex’s relationship, it worked very well and was very moving. The book definitely sucked me in and had me in tears in places so I was invested…but
I hate to have to put in a but because I really, really wanted to love this book unconditionally. PS. I Love You and My Sister’s Keeper and The Time Traveller’s Wife are some of my favourite books so I am not remotely put off by books with difficult subject matters or that make me cry. That aspect was not the issue here, and my reservations about the Cellular Memory subject were also not the reason I could not completely give my heart to this book. I had a two major issues with the book that spoilt it for me a little. Firstly, the characters were just too perfect. All of them. There was nary a negative character trait nor a cross word amongst them and, for me, this just made them unrealistic and I could not get fully engaged. People and relationships are just not that perfect in real life. Alice, in particular, came across as saintly and, since I’ve never met anyone that good, she just did not come to life completely for me which is a problem with the central character for a book.
The other problem was Alice’s reaction to her diagnosis. Again, it did not feel authentic. I don’t want to give too much away, but she settled on her course of action in response to hearing her illness was terminal too quickly without any disbelief, rage or despair, I just could not see that as a natural reaction to what she was told at the age of 26. Following on from this is the Manual. Would she really have wanted Two to do what she asked her? For her to relive those moments with Alex, given how Alice felt about him? This comes back to her saintliness again, I suppose. I just didn’t believe it, I’m afraid. I realise that this is not likely to be a popular opinion and maybe the failure is mine in being old and cynical and being unable to suspend my disbelief enough to invest in the story without these niggling thoughts, but I couldn’t. My reactions are very likely coloured by certain experiences I have had in my own life, but isn’t that true of all of us and every book we read? We all come to a novel with our own slant on the world.
I really think this is a book everyone should read. It is a beautiful story for sure. It is well-written and plotted and covers some very emotive and relevant topics. Everyone will have a different reaction to it and most of the reviews I have read so far seem to be wholly positive so I think my issues may be peculiar to me. You need to read the book and make up your own minds, it may end up being your favourite book of the year.
I Give You My Heart is out now and you can purchase a copy here.
If you would like the chance to win a signed hardback copy of the book with a personalised message, click the Rafflecopter link below:
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
To get a different perspective on the book, make sure you check out the rest of the blogs on the tour:
About the Author
SarahJane is the debut author of ‘I Give You My Heart’ which is due to be published on September 1st 2018.
SarahJane was born in Scotland but grew up in the Cheshire countryside, which is home to her. After a few years living in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where she went to secondary school, she has now settled back in Cheshire in a quirky flat surrounded by trees, birds and rolling fields.
A marketing professional since finishing her formal education SarahJane is delighted to be following her writing dream. She still works part-time as a Marketing Manager, whilst furiously penning her second novel.
Harbouring an adventurous spirit, SarahJane loves to travel, be surrounded by the wilderness or be riding Cornish waves.
SarahJane loves to read (ideally by the sea!). She was raised on the greatest love stories, which is where her romantic soul comes from. She is in love with love…Mr Darcy’s brooding looks in Pride and Prejudice; Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s arresting chemistry in Runaway Bride; the intensely emotional Titanic; going weak at the knees for Danny Zuko in Grease; Cecilia Ahern’s heartbreaking P.S. I Love You and Patrick Swayze’s mega moves in Dirty Dancing.
Connect with Sarahjane:
Facebook: Sarahjane Ford Author