Title: A Message to Your Heart
Author: Niamh Greene
Publication date: May 30, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Ireland
Length: 357 pages
Genre: Chick lit
Age group: Adult
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository
Frankie Rowley is far too practical to believe in karma or fate…
Work-obsessed Frankie is also far too busy to spend time with her family or friends. They all reckon the strongest relationship she has is with her phone. (And why not? At least it never judges her when she cancels dinner for the millionth time.) So when she loses that precious phone on a crucial business trip to San Francisco, Frankie is beside herself – her life was on it.
Sure, Frankie can make and take calls on a hired phone, but it’s not the same. This new phone isn’t a part of her like the old one. And the last straw is when she starts getting texts meant for someone else – someone called Aimee. This Aimee seems like a lot of fun, and clearly her family loves to keep in touch, but why is Frankie getting her messages?
Bad enough that she has lost her old phone, but now Frankie is supposed to share her new one with some stranger. Frankie goes on the warpath, but she is in for some surprises when she blunders into Aimee’s life. And the biggest surprise of all is how your life can be changed for ever by losing a phone.
Frankie may not believe in karma or faith, but suddenly they seem to believe in her…
Even though I have a copy of the Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife – one of Niamh Greene’s earlier books – I haven’t managed to read it yet. So when I received A Message to Your Heart, I had no idea what to expect. The story itself reminded me a little bit of Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number but it turned out to be completely different. However, it is an entertaining and a very uplifting read – if you like this genre and you’re looking for a quick summer read then it is definitely something you must add to your reading list.
If I had to pick one thing I enjoyed the most in this book then I would say the setting and the way San Francisco is described in the story. At the end of the book the author mentions that she spent some time living in San Francisco and in this novel she tried to give a sense of what this city meant to her – and she really managed to get her message across. I’ve been fascinated by this place ever since I read Meg Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake and the two books are quite similar in this respect. Both of them are very atmospheric and they’re guaranteed to make you feel as if you were there, sitting on the balcony of a small Italian restaurant in the dazzling sunshine, eating pizza and sipping a glass of wine.
As for the characters, I think Frankie, with her slightly sarcastic attitude and Irish humour, makes a great narrator. Take Frankie – a workaholic and tiny bit impatient literary agent whose only hope for saving her agency is signing a book deal with a writer called Ian -, add a stubborn and eccentric writer called Ian who’s afraid to step outside his comfort zone and who’s like a big kid, and spice it up with the world’s clumsiest PA named Helen and you know you’re in for a funny adventure!
The only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of is the fact that the story can be quite predictable at times. Aimee’s story is a nice touch and I love the mystery element in the novel but as soon as it turns out who’s behind these unknown messages and why they’re texting Frankie instead of Aimee, it’s quite easy to predict where the story is going and what’s going to happen next.
Other than that, it’s a nice summer read filled with down-to-earth characters, beautiful setting and more importantly, humour – it’s definitely one of those books that you can read in your garden with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) in hand on a bright summer day. If you’re looking for a book to take on holiday, A Message to Your Heart is a must-have.
“In another corner there’s a playground where children are pushing each other energetically on the swings and scrambling up and down the slide. How easy everything is when you’re a kid – the worst that can happen is that your best friend can go higher on the swing than you. If only the rest of life was so straightforward.”
*Thank you to Penguin Ireland and Niamh Greene for sending me a review copy of this book*