I Know You by Heart
by Linda Spear

BookSurge, 2009. ISBN 978-1-439-24878-2.
Reviewed by Patricia Daly-Lipe
Posted on 04/16/2010

Fiction: Literary

The title, taken from a poem by Diane Scanton and Eve Nelson (quoted in the Introduction), is most appropriate. It is from the heart that the book was written (as any good literature should be). It is also with the heart that we relate to friends and to family. However, it is all too easy to break your heart when there is a family member involved. This book weaves a tale of family relationships. Mother/daughter, mother/lover, father/daughter, daughter/husband, and two sisters. Most readers will connect on some level. Although it could use some editing (I found problems in punctuation and verb tense), the story is well presented and draws the reader in as if he or she were a close friend. I particularly relate since my mother also died of cancer at the age of 56. In Ms. Spear's book, the mother dies at the age of 58. Death of a loved one is never easy, but in this case, the protagonist discovers that her mother has spent her adult life cradling a secret. But it is a secret she will only share after death.

I recommend this, Linda Spear's first novel, to anyone who cherishes and, at the same time, questions family values and personal relationships. As an aside, I also loved the role of Lester, her sweet canine companion. Especially poignant was knowing that the author's dog had died while she was in the process of writing this book. So much of an author's personal life always enters a book, even a work of fiction.

"She Writes" is a new online destination for women writers. It is here I found Linda Spear's page. Linda and her husband and their two daughters live in Dobbs Ferry, NY. "Actually, I was born in a small rural town southwest of Philly, but my first fiction, I Know You by Heart, was born in a library next to the Hudson River in Irvington, NY. It's next to the village where I live now and where the book was gestated and delivered to me, the author, with the best expectations in mind."

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