beautiful and heartwarming

filled star filled star filled star filled star filled star
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Perhaps too much of the plot is given away in the blurb but I can assure you there is plenty more! Helen Hoang is an accomplished writer who admits to putting more of her own life into this novel than her previous ones. Both Anna and Quan are multi-layered and very real, especially as The Heart Principle is presented by both their voices, alternating, in the first person. The story is told straightforwardly, without any whizzing back and forward in time as has become so popular of late.

Anna is particularly vulnerable and this is mostly her story but Quan too has some vulnerabilities, struggles, problems and choices. These are delicately but clearly set forward for the reader to consider and this is definitely one of those novels where "I wonder what I would do" frequently comes to mind. But this is not just a consideration of manners nor a psychological examination of characters and behaviours (Anna's family is complex). Above all, this is a beautiful and heartwarming love story. And it offers throughout an explicit exploration of the progress of a new couple's sexual relationship, intimately detailed without ever being gross!