Meet Me When My Heart Stops
by Becky Hunter
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Pub Date 21 Mar 2024 | Archive Date 26 Mar 2024
Atlantic Books, Corvus
What if your soulmate could only ever be the love of your afterlife?
Emery is born with a heart condition that means her heart could quite literally stop at any moment. The people around her know what to do - if they act quickly enough there will be no lasting damage, and Emery's heart can be restarted. But when this happens, she is briefly technically dead.
Each time Emery's heart stops, she meets Nick. His purpose is to help people adjust to the fact that they are dead, to help them say goodbye, before they move on entirely. He does not usually meet people more than once - but with Emery, he is able to make a connection, and he finds himself drawn to her.
As Emery's life progresses, and she goes through ups and downs, she finds that a part of her is longing for those moments when her heart will stop - so that she can see Nick again.
This is the story of two fated lovers who long for each other, but are destined never to share more than a few fleeting moments - because if they were to be together, it would mean the end of Emery's life.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 28 members
I really enjoyed this novel a lot more than I thought I would.
It is not my usual type of book but I can be a bit of a sucker for a romantic guilty pleasure. In this book, we meet Emery who dies (for the first time) aged 5. Emery has a heart condition which means that her heart stops when she experiences sudden pain, shock or excitement. After she does, she meets Nick, something of a guardian angel whose job it is to guide her into the next world. However, Emery isn't really dead and her heart can be restarted which means the time she spends with Nick is fleeting.
Over the course of the novel, which charts Emery's life, she dies a number of times and meets (and falls for) Nick a number of times. But the only way to be together is for Emery to die .....
This was a really heartfelt, poignant novel and it really does tug on the heartstrings. I enjoy books which are set over the course of a person's lifetime as it really immerses you in their life and Emery is a really strong character.
Definitely an enjoyable read and thanks to Netgalley and Atlantic Books, Corvus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Please don’t let the opening scene scare you into not reading this book.
During the first few pages I was like oh no, I’m not going to enjoy this. But let me tell you, this was fantastic and the first few pages can be forgiven ( and a little misleading if I may say ). Beautifully written, a reflective read and one which I will recommend.
Straight into my Top Twenty Books of all time. Unashamedly Romantic. Beautifully written. Deliciously Inventive. Poignant and tender. I'm so sad I've finished this book.
It's not dramatic to say that Becky's previous book - One Moment - helped save my life. I read it during a very dark time, and it really helped lift me out of the fog, and so promised there and then that I would read everything she wrote. But there is always a worry that the second book won't live up to the first. But I needn't have worried.
I thought at first it was narrated by death, but it's more complex than that, with multiple layers running through it. I won't spoil it by confirming or denying this theory, but hopefully you'll see what I mean. But the way she's written it is great as we get to learn how Emery's condition affects everyone she encounters.
It was such a fascinating premise, completely original - or, at least it's original to me, I admit I haven't' read every single book premise in the world. But it's such a simple premise. Sometimes this can be the downfall of a book because it's not interesting enough. But executed properly, like this one is, it can be perfect, and that is how I would describe this story.
What I love about both of Becky's books is this exploration of the afterlife. Of course we can't know the truth until we get there ourselves and then it's too late to tell anyone. But I'm sure everyone has their own imagination when it comes to what's next, whatever your beliefs. But Becky has taken this idea of the unknown and run with it, and I found both books very comforting.
It's such a tender book. But it's also conflicting. Emery's parents are so cautious about her, which makes sense given the circumstances. Her Mum wants her to live her life, but her Dad is wary and frightened. But all of this means her life is never really her own. And it really gives you food for thought. Because you'd do anything to keep your child safe, no matter their age, but is wrapping them in bubble wrap and stopping them from living, really keeping them safe, or is it just another form of death?
Like Emery, I fell in love. With an idea o thinking, with a want to live your life without being held a prisoner by your health. I feel in love with a want, a desire, a passion. And with a man. But it's more about that that man represents I think, rather than him as a person. He was beautiful in many ways and I hope you think the same.
Becky's books are unbelievably touching. She has this power that she weaves through her words that...it's hard to explain, and definitely impossible to explain without sounding corny, but they're life changing. This idea of mortality, and life and death, and limbo, and strength and weakness. They're not just books for entertainment, although they are that; they have the power to create a sense of love and loss and passion and wonder an curiosity that I've rarely seen.
I have concluded that if she continues down this vein of story, they will always make me cry. And we're not talking a cute tear that falls down my cheek every so often. We're talking big, loud, breath-taking ugly sobs.
I'm sure it wasn't necessarily the aim she had when writing it, but it almost took away the fear of dying. Personally, I'm not scared of death, but I am scared of the act of dying. And whilst I am aware this is a fictional book and so make-believe (we assume), I think it has really tackled some very big topics, and ends up being so powerful, but like a gentle power, a quiet power, that just takes your hand and roars.
The way Becky writes, the characters, the story, the sentence structure, the word choices, the emotions she's woven into it, the meanings - it makes its way into your heart, into your very soul, and it sits there. It could potentially have been a downer of a story, but it's anything but. It is really life affirming and positive and hopeful and, bizarrely, joyful.
I've done my best to describe this book, to explain what it's like to read. But even though I earn my living through words, I don't have the right ones for this. It's a feeling, it's a beauty. It's something you need to sit with yourself and absorb. Everyone will get something completely different out of it frrom everyone else. And that's what makes it pretty bloody special. Once again, I think Becky will end up on my best books of the year roundup at the end of 2024.