A bittersweet tale of a young woman’s diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor and the decisions and obstacles she must face before her life ends.
At the same time, I Give You My Heart is also a celebration of the love and life she held so dear.
While trying to accept her fast approaching demise, twenty-six-year-old Alice Richards foregoes any palliative treatment and gets busy planning for after she’s gone.
After some extensive research, Alice knows her organs could help up to twenty-two individuals and arranges to become an organ donor. She has one condition though; she wants to choose the recipient of her heart—a directed donation.
Such donations aren’t possible in England but they are in the U.S.
Making a directed donation is just one of the many things Alice receives unwavering support on from her small insular family. She will donate her heart in the states.
An only child, she’s very close to her parents and still visits and spend a lot of time with them.
Ryan is probably the best friend of all time and he’d walk across hot rocks for Alice.
And then there’s Alex, her husband and the love of her life. Their love story is breath-taking and inspiring. It’s Alice’s foundation, so it’s not hard to understand why she simply doesn’t want it to end with her death.
During the last months of her life, Alice writes The Manual for My Heart, in essence, it’s the love story of her and Alex.
It’s also instructions for things the recipient of her heart must do to help Alex through his grief.
Though fiction, I Give You My Heart is relatable and emotional and most readers will no doubt be able to connect real-life experiences to it in some way.
That being said, as I read more and more of Alice’s instructions, I couldn’t help feeling irritated, and I’m sure I’ll be in the minority on this.
No one wants to be forgotten, in life or death, and definitely not by the one loved the most, but Alice’s instructions felt selfish at times and burdensome.
The person chosen had no close ties or familial connections so… what? There would be nothing prohibiting them from carrying out Alice’s tasks?
And what if Alex didn’t care for the reminders? Grief manifests itself differently for us all and maybe he didn’t want reminders, finding them too painful to endure, especially for a full year after Alice’s death.
When she’s making her final arrangements, Alice asks Alex if there’s anything specific he wants in her funeral service. He tries to put her off and avoid the subject, but she persists, saying she wants to “make it as smooth as possible for him,” to which he responds, “It will not be smooth, Alice. It could never, ever be smooth. Half of me will be ripped away. I don’t even know if I will survive it.”
Doesn’t sound like a man who could handle a year’s worth of reminders of their love.
But my annoyance hit a high when she wrote in her manual, “I don’t want him to think you and he are just puppets on strings and I’m the puppet master making you dance. I need him to feel the connection to me and believe it – that it’s actually me with him, albeit from within you.”
No. Just, no. Came off as selfish to me… and just a bit creepy.
Though annoyed, I have to give Alice a pass. I can’t imagine receiving such a diagnosis and having mere months to resolve a lifetime unlived. Perhaps writing out The Manual of My Heart was also cathartic on some level and helped her retain her peace of mind and dignity during the indignities of dying.
I Give You My Heart is deftly written. The author perfectly captures the emotions of each moment in each scene. This is a sad time for Alice and her family but they’re not going to miss out on the fun, laughs (McDonald’s, anyone?), and love of the time they have left together.
Fans of women’s fiction and romance will get lost in this read. Just remember the tissues. The whole box, because there will be tears.
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 tumor.
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 fairy-tale 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’.
Amazon UK | Amazon US
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