Review: Where My Heart Used to Beat

Where My Heart Used to Beat

Where My Heart Used to Beat
By Sebastian Faulks
Henry Holt & Company, Hardcover, 9780805097320, January 26, 2016, 352pp.

The Short of It:

A well-told story about love and loss.

The Rest of It:

Description from Indiebound:

London, 1980. Robert Hendricks, an established psychiatrist and author, has so bottled up memories of his own wartime past that he is nearly sunk into a life of aloneness and depression. Out of the blue, a baffling letter arrives from one Dr. Alexander Pereira, a neurologist and a World War I veteran who claims to be an admirer of Robert’s published work. The letter brings Robert to the older man’s home on a rocky, secluded island off the south of France, and into tempests of memories–his childhood as a fatherless English boy, the carnage he witnessed and the wound he can’t remember receiving as a young officer in World War II, and, above all, the great, devastating love of his life, an Italian woman, “L,” whom he met during the war. As Robert’s recollections pour forth, he’s unsure whether they will lead to psychosis–or redemption. But Dr. Pereira knows.

I really enjoyed this novel and I am not a fan of “war” stories so that should tell you something. This story is delicately told and hints at darkness but there are plenty of moments where the light shines through.

Hendricks is a lonely man. He seeks the company of women many times in this novel, mostly of the paid variety, but when he meets Luisa he knows he’s met the love of his life. However, all is not perfect and she has her own story to tell.

When Hendricks agrees to meet with Dr. Pereira to discuss the possibility of working for him, he finds himself revisiting his past where he’s forced to deal with the death of his father and the events that have shaped him thus far. All of which have everything to do with his current relationships.

This was a good read for me. Good storytelling, liked the setting, and although parts of the story were tragic, it never seemed heavy to me. I enjoyed it.

Source:Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

9 thoughts on “Review: Where My Heart Used to Beat”

  1. I have a copy of this one and can’t wait to read it. Sounds like such a good book. The only Faulks I’ve ever read was his Wodehouse novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed (of course, no one could ever write like Wodehouse, but Faulks did a great job). Glad you enjoyed this one. I’m not huge on ‘war stories’ either (or at least I didn’t think I was), but I guess I am somewhat of a fan of them.

  2. I absolutely loved Faulks’s novel “Birdsong” (they even made a TV short based on it), so I’m adding this new one to my list. I love war novels though, particularly if they’re about WWI and the Jazze Age–the Lost Generation. The era, the war, and the aftermath of that age is fascinating. This new installment sounds intriguing.

  3. Is it me or there has been an avalanche of war-related stories recently? I mean, I understand it ties in with the anniversary, but still… I’m ready for a new direction.

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