BOOK REVIEW: The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington

The Legacy of Lucy Harte
By: Emma Heatherington
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 12 January 2017
Format: Paperback, 352 pages

Maggie O’Hara knows better than most that life can change in a heartbeat. Eighteen years ago she was given the most precious gift- a second-hand heart, and a second chance at life.

Always thankful, Maggie has never forgotten Lucy Harte – the little girl that saved her life. But as Maggie’s own life begins to fall apart, and her heart is broken in love, she loses sight of everything she has to live for…

Until an unexpected letter changes everything and brings Maggie back into the life of Lucy Harte – and a chance for Maggie to get her life back on track once more.

Lucy’s final gift to Maggie is much more than the heart that beats inside her. It’s a legacy that Maggie must learn to live by. A chance to make her heart skip a beat with every new discovery she makes; a promise to live, laugh, fall in love and heal her broken heart for good. (Goodreads)A novel all about self discovery and appreciating life, The Legacy of Lucy Harte by Emma Heatherington follows Maggie O’Hara’s journey as she rebuilds her life from scratch.

Maggie is currently living in a well of self-despair, with her husband Jeff having left her for a younger woman after only a few months. All of her dreams now seem impossible, and she is drinking heavily and making mistakes at work, waking up and not knowing what she did the night before. It doesn’t help that she harbours a misconceived notion that Jeff will come back to her, which is subsequently dashed when she finds out his new floozy is pregnant. Maggie is well and truly absent from the picture, and her state hasn’t gone unnoticed at work, with them generously putting her on paid leave until her life is sorted.

Her emotional state is also heightened due it being the anniversary of her teenage heart transplant, when she likes to pay tribute to Lucy Harte, the girl whose death gave Maggie her life back. Each new year is a gift, especially when so far she has exceeded the doctors’ original estimate for her life expectancy. It is all thanks to Lucy, who Maggie has kept with her every day and talks to as if she were right alongside her. She has always hoped to repay her family one day, and is shocked to receive a letter out of the blue from Simon Harte, Lucy’s brother. He wants to meet her, and needs to know that a piece of Lucy still exists in the world, especially when he has since suffered a further bereavement.

Maggie agrees to the meeting and is blown away by Simon’s strength and understanding of her situation, feeling even worse about her sorry state and her failure to look after the heart she has been gifted. She is even more surprised when Simon presents her with a box of Lucy’s possessions, giving her a list of things that Lucy had wanted to do in her life, and asking Maggie if she would consider carrying out the wishes Lucy will never get to complete. Being at a loose end and looking for an escape, Maggie agrees to undertake an adventure that will see her seek out the highest bridge in the world or throw a dinner party for strangers, healing her heart in the process.

I thought that the book was very well written and details Maggie’s journey at the perfect pace, with her life being slowly but steadily turned around. The plot also isn’t without its hiccups, as Maggie does often question if she has made the right decision in completing the list and does have her share of breakdowns and self-doubt. This made the premise more realistic, as the book deals with sensitive subject matter and is a reflection that not everything can be fixed overnight. Not everything on the list will be easy to achieve, but Maggie has to try, for the sake of the teenage girl who never got the chance to live the life she deserved.

There is a very strong backstory created for Maggie and Lucy, and I admired Maggie’s strength at being able to pick herself up from her dark place and pursue Lucy’s dreams. Her despair at losing her marriage has led to everyone else treating her with care, and she is keen to get back to her old self, being the bubbly Irish girl she is at heart. I found that I liked her even when she was being self-involved, and thought that the completion of the list gave her something to aim for that she didn’t realise she needed. It is like Lucy saves her a second time, giving her even more to be thankful for and opening her eyes to a range of new possibilities.

Overall this book is about hope for the future, and learning from the past that all is not lost. Life may be difficult and hopeless, but there is always a solution and a new opportunity right around the corner. Maggie rediscovers herself thanks to a special girl named Lucy Harte, enjoying new experiences and adventures that she never thought possible and becoming stronger than ever before. I really enjoyed the wholesome feeling of this book and, even though there are sad moments, I was left feeling hopeful at the conclusion. The story is uplifting and poignant, making you appreciate organ donation and what it means for the families involved, and I was happy to read Maggie’s determination and to pursue the list to the end with her. I would definitely recommend this book if you need a boost to remember what’s good in your life.

An uplifting tale about one woman’s journey of self-discovery following a marital breakdown, this book ends on a positive note that will make you appreciate your life. In completing Lucy’s life list, we get to see how experiences can change a person and how Maggie finds that she can do more than she ever thought possible. An inspiring plotline, this book offers a deeper look at the somewhat taboo topic of heart transplants, being full of hope and optimism to keep you hooked.




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