I read this book online for PIF, and I have to give Jaimey Grant credit: she knows how to keep a reader's attention. The characters were believable and well-drawn. And from the very beginning, the book pulled me in. I did feel that the story got off track in a few places, where details seemed to be there that weren't directly relevant and too much time was spent on secondary characters, but all in all, I enjoyed the read. Romance isn't ordinarily my thing, but Heartless kept my attention (which is especially tough to do on the computer screen--where my email, and various social networking sites summon). I have to give the author her kudos for that.
This was an eye-opening and intense introduction into the world of anorexia. Moreover, the book is timely in that it speaks to an audience of men and women who have grown up in the electronic age, when everything about our lives is to be shared and promoted. It seems awkward at first, for the protagonist to be filmed about her battle with an eating disorder, but in being exposed and vulnerable, Lydia learns to reconcile her outlook, learns to look within.
There is nothing so destructive to a relationship than that which goes unsaid. It is everything that is not said, that is kept a secret, that wears away at a marriage: easily summed up, not so easily portrayed in a novel. It is this portrayal of a silent, strained marriage, as it follows husband and wife through normal personal struggles (James, working too hard; Pamela, feeling ignored) that creates such a subtle, heartbreaking beauty here. But what begins as a sparse and realistic plotline quickly opens up to a mysterious journey when Pamela leaves a "Dear James" letter and sets off with their children to reconcile her past.
What's beautiful about this novel is that as the plot opens up and takes its twists and turns, the relationship between husband and wife remains the strength of the prose. These two people are so confused, so in love, and have so much to contend with. They need to talk! And each time they do, they seem to say everything but what they need to say. I kept thinking the world seemed against them, but all they really needed was to confide in each other, to share.
Notice how I'm speaking of these characters as though I know them? This is Savva's magic.