Heart of the Matter Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Heart of the Matter

Heart of the Matter is a book written by Emily Giffin. This is the story of two women who live in a Boston suburb and whose lives are distinct yet intertwined in ways no one could have foreseen. Tessa is a housewife with two children and she is married to a surgeon, Nick. She has given up her career to be with her family. Valerie is an attorney who is a single-mother of one, Charlie, and who has stopped believing in love. One day, Charlie gets severely burn after a sleepover incident. Valerie brings her son to a plastic surgeon who is Nick and they are attracted to one another. As Nick is married with two children, they decide to only be friends. They eventually start communicating with each other on a daily basis and start telling one another that they miss each other - over the phone and via text messages. They eventually sleep together and Nick tells Valerie he has feelings for her, which Valerie reciprocate. Tessa suspects nothing and continues to take care of their son and gossip with her housewife girlfriends. Nick and Valerie falls even deeper in love and even though he will always love her, he breaks things off with her since he has a family to think of and he doesn't want to ruin what he has. Nick then confesses to his wife that he has been having an affair and is in love with another woman. Even though he promised he broke things off with Valerie and tells Tessa he loves her and wants to be with her, she throws him out of the house. Valerie remains alone and Tessa takes time to think whether she can forgive her husband for the sake of their family. Even though Tessa knows full well Nick is in love with another woman, she tells him she is willing to work on what they have to not ruin what they have built together - even though she knows she might never be able to trust him again. The book ends with Valerie back as a single mother and Nick and Tessa working on their relationship; Tessa being willing to make the effort of forgiving her husband for their family's sake.
Click here to see the rest of this review

Best part of story, including ending: I liked this story as falling in and out of love happens all the time. In this story, however, it was refreshing to see that love does not conquer all.

Best scene in story: The very first encounter between Valerie and Nick, upon bringing her son to get plastic surgery. The instant attraction that they experienced is well depicted.

Opinion about the main character: Valerie had become somewhat cynical with respect to romantic relationships and she still let herself fall in love with Nick.

The review of this Book prepared by Mary G. a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of Heart of the Matter

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Son because he/she is    -   physically ill Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Married, fooling around?    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   a lawyer creature Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   8 () United States    -   Yes

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Heart of the Matter

Emily Giffin Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian