Nobody would call Professor Patrick Robson warm and fuzzy. In fact he’s a womanizing boozer. It comes as a surprise to him, therefore, when he wakens from heart surgery to see his ex-wife by his side.
Patrick had been given a death sentence because of his failing heart, but sadly thanks to Drew Beamish, a young man who died in a motorcycle accident, he’s been given a new heart.
As he recovers, Patrick realizes that his perspective has changed. He feels compassion for his ex-wife and even considers how his past actions have harmed her. As he learns more about Drew, he also begins to wonder about how this heart may have changed him. He not only re-examines his treatment of his ex wife, but begins to develop a more solid relationship with his two, formerly estranged, sons. At the same time he begins to build relationships with some new people in his life.
The novel is told primarily from the perspective of Patrick and Drew (along with a brief chapter from Drew’s ancestor Willie’s perspective that sheds some light on Drew and his past). This lovely reflective piece questions our notion about mind and heart. Is it possible that the romanticism of the heart with its own mind is possible? Is Patrick’s changing nature simply a matter of having a second chance?
Jill Dawson has given us a novel that calls on us to reflect on these questions. This is perfect choice for book clubs that enjoy richly drawn characters and place.
The Tell-Tale Heart by Jill Dawson. HarperPerennial/HarperCollins, 2015.