The Heart Whisperer, like Postcards From The Heart is a comedy with a bittersweet edge. Ella Griffin has an amazing ability to move from comedy to heart-wrenching emotion at the turn of a page.
Claire Dillon is an actress, although not a very successful one. She is thirty-three with no romance in her life, her car is on it's last legs, her flat is owned and subsidised by her best friend (ex Rock Star Ray Devine), and it's really time that she did something about her life. Claire's mother died aged 33, on Claire's seventh birthday. Her mother had it all, two beautiful children, a loving husband and a career as a GP. Claire is determined that by the time her next birthday arrives, she too, will have life sorted.
Ella Griffin has created a cast of characters who are larger than life, and wonderfully realistic. A family, who on the face of it, appear to be happy and settled. Claire the actress, her brother Nick the relationship guru and his shiny, happy American wife Kelly. Their father is a little odd, eating only omelettes and Jaffa Cakes, but he's happy in his own way. Claire's best friend Ray Devine is her rock, once a very successful rock star, he now lives on the royalties from his most famous song and makes sure that Claire is well cared for.
Possibly the best, most lovable character of the story is the wonderful Dog! Claire's Dad rescued the aged mongrel many years ago, after a group of louts tied him to a shopping trolley and let him loose. Known as 'Dog' ever since, he is a old, wiry haired, eat and chew anything sort of guy - obsessed with the TV News programme and able to win over the heart of the most serious dog-hater.
I have only praise for Ella Griffin's writing and I loved The Heart Whisperer as much as her first novel. I laughed and I cried as Claire discovered the secrets that had been kept from her over the years. I cheered when she found happiness and I hissed when she was betrayed - I rooted for her on every page.
This is a smart and uplifting story cleverly written with humour and emotion. It is modern and will appeal to anyone who has ever enjoyed authors such as Marian Keyes and Milly Johnson.
My thanks to Gaby from Orion Books and Ella Griffin, the author, for arranging an advance copy for me to read.
Ella Griffin has a Twitter page, you can follow her here