Heart Conditions by Sara Lewis
After five years with Nick, Alice finds herself alone and pregnant. Nick’s name is on the apartment lease, so she has to move out. She doesn’t want to tell her family about the pregnancy until she has to and plans to keep the baby. If Nick doesn’t contact her again she doesn’t plan on telling him about the baby at all.
Gram, a Hollywood starlet briefly in the 1930’s, is almost 90. Her latest live in companion has quit. Alice moves in with her grandmother “temporarily”. Aunt Louise, who raised Alice and her sister Laura from their teens, bulldozes Alice into staying for a while since she is homeless anyway. Alice looks for an apartment in the city, but her arrangement with Gram is working for the moment – sort of.
Alice’s family is forthright and it’s difficult for her to stand up to them. Her only friends are two men from work, Eric and Dan. She is in a job she doesn’t like. As a copy editor at a New York City publishing house she spends long hours correcting copy, fact finding, and doing secretarial jobs for the editors. She can’t seem to stand up to the editors, either. But she’s due for a promotion and a raise. Maybe then she can find an apartment, move on her own and raise her child. That’s if her family will let her.
Heart Conditions is a heart warmer. Alice is in her early 30’s and is still looking for her place in the world. The novel is told in her first person narrative. She reflects on her relationship with her mother. Her parents were killed in an accident when she was 13. She longs for Nick to love her again. She usually gives in to Gram, never forcing the woman to go on the healthy diet the doctor and Aunt Louise insist upon. In fact, Alice abets, buying ice cream and chocolate sauce whenever Gram wants it. Alice is a giving soul and a good listener.
Sara Lewis has created a gentle, enjoyable book. Heart Conditions could be considered chick lit, but although amusing in many spots isn’t the in-your-face humor that is part of so much chick lit these days. Alice becomes a real and sympathetic person who needs to fine her backbone. It’s amazing what can happen to you when you become responsible for someone else. I was rooting for Alice, glad to see her end up with the right job and the right guy.