*I received a free copy of The Heart Between Us from Thomas Nelson via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel
Published by Thomas Nelson on 13 March 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction
Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.
The Heart Between Us is a beautiful, beautiful story! Two sisters… lost in their own feelings, in their own fears.
The Heart Between Us is a very realistic story, even if not all of us go through a heart transplant, it was easy to identify with both Megan and Crystal. The beginning of their lives was very easy-going, up until the point when Megan was diagnosed with a heart condition. Going from begin best friends, twin sisters who did everything together, they started to grow apart. The growing apart is natural, it seems, as Megan spent her time in hospitals. Because their mom was always hovering, Crystal felt as if she was all alone.
At the time of the main story in The Heart Between Us, the twins are thirty-two years old. Megan got a new heart three and a half years ago, and hasn’t even seen Crystal since then. The story follows both sisters in their trials and tribulations. And their character growth is what I loved the most with this story. Megan finally meets her childhood friend Caleb at an event. This meeting brings her to action, to do something with this new life she has gotten thanks to her new heart.
After meeting with her donor’s parents, she takes on the bucket list her donor had left behind. Traveling the world, doing things way out of her comfort zone. All the while blogging about it. Crystal finds herself in a bind, and decides to go with her sister. This brings the possibility of reconnecting. Of re-discovering. Of getting a relationship with their twin as adults. And their journey is beautiful and full of feelings. Even the feelings Crystal really doesn’t want to feel.
The Heart Between Us is described as a Christian Romance, and while there is some religion in the story, it never felt preachy. And I think this is because both sisters had a complicated relationship with God. Struggling with this relationship on top of all their other struggles made them very real to me.
Megan got a new heart three and a half years ago – but she never really started living. Staying in her parents’ house, working as a library aide rather than following her dreams, she’s at a stand-still at the beginning of the story.
Crystal appears very successful on the outside. A great job, a wonderful husband, a possibility to advance in her field. Crystal is held back by her fears, though. And what she fears most is her own feelings.
Writing style :
The Heart Between Us is written in third person perspective, and in past tense. The story follows both Crystal and Megan closely enough to share their inner thoughts, feelings and doubts with the readers. The many dialogues also showed insight to the other characters who were important to their story.
All the feels! I felt very strongly for both Crystal and Megan. They had both had their struggles due to Megan’s illness, but neither of them was prepared to deal with the aftermath.
Blood pumped through her veins, and instead of circulating the fear she expected, another feeling made the rounds inside of her. Amanda’s heart in Megan’s chest sang with the pounding of her blood, beating out a new rhythm Megan wasn’t familiar with. The song invigorated her limbs, and as she readied her body to leap into action, a fuzzy calm tingled in her fingertips and toes.
Bravery. That was it, wasn’t it? He was nudging her toward bravery. And she’d been resisting. Resisting because she’d been afraid that she wasn’t enough.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: