ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – This Beating Heart by Laura Barnett

This Beating Heart by Laura Barnett will be published on 18th August by W&N in hardcover, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Federico Andornino from W&N for sending me a proof copy.


‘It was up to her now; everything was up to her;
she needed only to make a choice and step towards it,
out from the shadows and into the light.’

At forty-three, Christina Lennox thought her future was settled: marriage to Ed, children, a house of their own.

But this is not that future: her marriage has ended, fractured by the stress of five rounds of IVF and two miscarriages. Overwhelmed by grief and disappointment, Ed has relocated to San Francisco and Christina’s dream of becoming a mother rests on persuading him to let her go ahead with one final round of IVF, using the last frozen embryo they have stored at the clinic.

But when Ed drops a bombshell that threatens to undo everything Christina has strived for, she is forced, once again, to realign her plans.

Is this the end of her dream, or an opportunity to consider a different – perhaps happier – version of her future?

I think This Beating Heart is my favourite of all of Laura Barnett’s books. It’s a slim volume yet packs in so much emotion and heart-rending depth. It’s also beautifully observed and based around the author’s own experiences.

‘What if the family you want…..isn’t the family you need?’ Christina is 43 and has longed for a child with her husband, Ed. Several rounds of IVF have either failed or have resulted in a miscarriage and Christina and Ed are broken. They’re going their separate ways, the toll of the treatment and losses too heavy for them to bear.

The story is told from Christina’s point of view and I really felt for her. At one point the unthinkable happens and I didn’t know how she would cope with it but she found an inner strength from somewhere and what’s so wonderful about this book is the hope for the future, the sense that if Christina can move on she can come out the other side stronger and happier, like a flower that has closed its petals to weather a storm, only to blossom in the burgeoning sunshine.

The writing is sublime, so real and compelling, the everyday life of Christina drawing me in completely. I was enthralled by the way her relationships with her family and friends helped her deal with what happened to her, enriched by new friendships and new experiences.

This Beating Heart is entrancing in every way and I highly recommend it for its perfectly descriptive prose and its moving but ultimately uplifting story.

Laura Barnett was born in 1982 in south London. She studied Spanish and Italian at Cambridge University, and newspaper journalism at City University, London. As a freelance arts journalist, features writer and theatre critic, Laura has worked for the GUARDIAN, the OBSERVER and the DAILY TELEGRAPH amongst others.

THE VERSIONS OF US, her debut novel, was a no. 1 bestseller and has been translated into 23 languages. She is also the author of the novels GREATEST HITS, GIFTS and THIS BEATING HEART.

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