The Tell-Tale Heart: A Novel by Jill Dawson

Release Date - February 2015

Jill Dawson
Harper Perennial

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

He doesn't have long to live, not without a heart anyway. Thus begins the story of Patrick Robson, a professor of American Studies. The unbelievable occurs when a motorcycle accident kills 16-year-old Andrew Beamish. The heart Patrick so desperately needs is here, and surgeons decide to attempt beating-heart surgery to keep the heart alive until it reaches the hospital where Patrick is admitted.

After the surgery is deemed a success, Patrick begins to change. He's not happy with the way his life was. He's been given a tremendous gift, and he decides he wants to know more of this kid whose life ended so tragically.

There are really three stories in one in The Tell-Tale Heart: A Novel. Of course Patrick's story takes center stage, but there is also the story of Andrew and the events leading up to his crash. Going back more than a century is also the story of one of Andrew's ancestors, Willie Beamiss the oldest and only boy of six children born to a cobbler and his wife. Each of the stories revolves heavily around the heart in some way.

The Tell-Tale Heart: A Novel is a very emotional, touching story. You do have to get used to the shifts in stories, Patrick's character who was not an admirable guy, and the language itself. The author is British, this is a British novel, and there is going to be some terminology that some Americans may not know. It didn't phase me, but I've heard others say they struggled a bit.

If you're expecting a retelling of Alfred Hitchcock's famous story, you won't find it here. You will find a story woven with incredible detail that captures the story of three men and their struggles and triumphs.


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