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Change of Heart    by Jodi Picoult Amazon.com order for
Change of Heart
by Jodi Picoult
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Washington Square, 2008 (2008)
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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

I thought I had read all of Jodi Picoult's novels. Seems I was wrong. I missed two Harvesting the Heart and Change of Heart. I've read the latter first and can't wait to get to the other. Picoult always tugs at the heartstrings and produces a book that affects one's emotions big time. As does Change of Heart. I admit, I cried. The novel also made me reflect on the content. It's worth the reflection.

Shay Bourne has been convicted of murdering June Nealon's husband and her seven year-old daughter. He's on death row awaiting the final moment of his life. Eleven years he has waited. Now, hearing that June's second daughter Claire is in need of a donor heart, he wants that child to have his. His execution by lethal injection would not only kill Shay but also render his heart useless. He petitions to be hanged so Claire might live. Hanging would not damage his heart.

Imagine the dilemma June faces. Her daughter to be saved by the heart of the man who killed her other child. Adding to the drama is a priest, Father Michael, who seeks to give comfort to the man faced with knowing the time of his own death. But Father Michael has issues of his own that are debated by Father Mike in his mind and with his Lord.

Jodi Picoult always works her plots with skill and presents characters who fill the places in which she has put them. June plays her part of agonizing mother as though born to it. The killer seems to have accepted his fate who wouldn't after eleven years? but we still can't see into his mind. Father Mike searches his soul for the answers he seeks, feeling he can't give his all to the condemned man while he has such turmoil in his heart. Change of Heart is a darn good read.

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