Harvesting the Heart: A Novel

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From the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers Small Great Things and My Sister's Keeper, a novel exploring the story of a young woman overcome by the demands of having a family.

Paige has only a few vivid memories of her mother, who abandoned her at five years old. Now, having left her father behind in Chicago for dreams of art school and marriage to an ambitious young doctor, she finds herself with a child of her own. But her mother's absence and shameful memories of her past force her to doubt whether she could ever be capable of bringing joy and meaning into the life of her child, gifts her own mother never gave.

Harvesting the Heart is written with astonishing clarity and evocative detail, convincing in its depiction of emotional pain, love, and vulnerability, and recalls the writing of Alice Hoffman and Kristin Hannah. Out of Paige's struggle to find wholeness, Jodi Picoult crafts an absorbing novel peopled by richly drawn characters, and explores motherhood with a power and depth only she is capable of.

“A brilliant, moving examination of motherhood, brimming with detail and emotion.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Jodi Picoult explores the fragile ground of ambivalent motherhood in her lush second novel. This story belongs to… the lucky reader.” —The New York Times Book Review

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of Small Great Things returns with a powerful and provocative new novel about ordinary lives that intersect during a heart-stopping crisis.

“Picoult at her fearless best . . . Timely, balanced and certain to inspire debate.”—The Washington Post

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order to save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester, disguised as a patient, who now stands in the crosshairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

One of the most fearless writers of our time, Jodi Picoult tackles a complicated issue in this gripping and nuanced novel. How do we balance the rights of pregnant women with the rights of the unborn they carry? What does it mean to be a good parent? A Spark of Light will inspire debate, conversation . . . and, hopefully, understanding.

Praise for A Spark of Light

“This is Jodi Picoult at her best: tackling an emotional hot-button issue and putting a human face on it.”—People
 
“Told backward and hour by hour, Jodi Picoult’s compelling narrative deftly explores controversial social issues.”—Us Weekly
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With richly layered characters and a gripping moral dilemma that will lead readers to question everything they know about privilege, power, and race, Small Great Things is the stunning new page-turner from Jodi Picoult.

SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE

“[Picoult] offers a thought-provoking examination of racism in America today, both overt and subtle. Her many readers will find much to discuss in the pages of this topical, moving book.”—Booklist (starred review)

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

Praise for Small Great Things

“Small Great Things is the most important novel Jodi Picoult has ever written. . . . It will challenge her readers . . . [and] expand our cultural conversation about race and prejudice.”—The Washington Post

“A novel that puts its finger on the very pulse of the nation that we live in today . . . a fantastic read from beginning to end, as can always be expected from Picoult, this novel maintains a steady, page-turning pace that makes it hard for readers to put down.”—San Francisco Book Review
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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Apr 1, 1995
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9781101042441
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Family Life / General
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Women
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This is the diary of Nancy Chan, turn-of-the-millennium call girl, who lives and works on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Although she’s in her thirties, she’s at the top of her career–a better twenty-five-year-old today than when she was twenty-five. Most of her regulars don’t realize how long she’s been working. Her new fiancé, Matt, an up-and-coming M.B.A. on Wall Street, does know her age and how long she’s been working but not what she does for a living. And at least for the time being, Nancy wants to keep it that way.

Nancy is full of contradictory desires. She frequently has to choose between making love and making money. On good days, she gets to do both. Surrounded by devoted, wealthy, and powerful johns, some of whom want more than just sex, and caught between two complicated call girl friends who, shall we say, make her life more interesting than it really needs to be–not to mention an unwitting fiancé who has started to apartment hunt and arrange a wedding–Nancy navigates the tricky currents of the world’s oldest profession. With one foot in the bedrooms of her rich and demanding clients and one in the straight world of her fiancé and his family, Nancy demonstrates, in her inimitable fashion, that if you know the dance, you can keep those two worlds from colliding. At least for a while.

Based on the highly successful Salon.com column “Nancy Chan: Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl,” this wonderfully intelligent, sexually frank, rollicking novel gives us fresh insight into the machinations and politics of being an expensive call girl in the modern world. Tracy Quan pulls no punches, gives no apologies, and has written one of the best and most honest books yet on the topic.


From the Hardcover edition.
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