Book Review: The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Duenas
The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Duenas
Maria Duenas won many awards for her masterful first novel, The Seamstress. Her second novel, The Heart Has Its Reasons is every bit as good.
Blanca Perea is a respected professor at the Madrid University, living a contented life. But then her husband of twenty years leaves her for a younger woman. Blanca decides that it is best for her to take a position away from Madrid, so she accepts the research grant in California. It seems like a dull project at first – she is researching a Spanish writer who died 30 years ago. But then she gets drawn into the writer’s world, a life of love and ambition.
As she delves deeper into her researcher, she finds herself also drawn to the charismatic professor Daniel Carter, who has crucial knowledge about the Spanish writer that he has never revealed.
This novel is essentially three stories. It is the story of Blanca as she questions her life in the follow-up of her husband’s betrayal. It is the story of a Spanish writer, far from home in California, and his work and loves. It is also the story of Daniel Carter, who connects with the Spanish writer in the past, and Blanca in the present, and we learn about a passionate love affair that is crucial to the overall book.
The writing is exquisite, the plot line mature and thought-provoking, and the characters are nuanced, fraught and memorable. Outstanding!