Review by Gabrielle

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Since Russ died, I don’t know anything. How I feel, who I am, what’s fun anymore, what I want. My life is nothing but a tangle of unfinished sentences. I am a tangle of unfinished sentences.

Prepare yourselves friends. The Key to My Heart will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions in the very best way.

Sparkly and charming Natalie Fincher has it all—a handsome new husband, a fixer-upper cottage of her dreams, and the opportunity to tour with the musical she’s spent years writing. But when her husband suddenly dies, all her hopes and dreams instantly disappear.

Two and a half years later, Natalie is still lost. She works, sleeps (well, as much as the sexually frustrated village foxes will allow), and sees friends just often enough to allay their worries, but her life is empty. And she can only bring herself to play music at a London train station’s public piano where she can be anonymous. She’s lost motivation, faith in love, in happiness…in everything.

But when someone begins to mysteriously leave the sheet music for her husband’s favorite songs at the station’s piano, Natalie begins to feel a sense of hope and excitement for the first time. As she investigates just who could be doing this, Natalie finds herself on an unexpected journey toward newfound love for herself, for life, and maybe, for a special someone.

When I reviewed Lia Louis’ Eight Perfect Hours last year, I wrote that she “wove a special kind of magic” with that book and I’m happy to report she does it again with The Key to My Heart. Lia is a master storyteller and an autobuy author for me.

This friends, is not a light-hearted book. If that is what you are after, please scroll on. But if you are looking for something a little deeper, something that will have you feeling ALL the feels, this is the book for you. It had me tearing up more than once as I followed Natalie’s story.

Natalie is stuck and with good reason. Her life simply isn’t the same since she lost her husband and she can’t seem to overcome her grief, even two years later. The joy of everything is just lost on her. Anytime she feels even a small glimpse of happiness, she feels guilty. Lia does an incredible job of addressing grief in this book. She once again deftly explores how grief shapes us as people. Through Natalie’s eyes, we see how she is coping and get great insight into how she is feeling. Natalie is a wonderfully constructed character. I just loved her. 

In this book Natalie ends up with two potential love interests – Tom and Joe. They are both great but admittedly I was cheering for Tom. He is just so witty and wonderful. Lia creates a lot of uncertainty as to whether or not Natalie will end up with either of them or neither of them and it kept me guessing right until the end.

I also loved the mystery aspect of the book as Natalie tries to figure out who is leaving her music on the piano in the train station. I found myself getting sucked right into the story wondering who it could be. I did not guess the end. The mystery kept the story moving and gave Natalie a great focal point to move through her grief.

The Key to My Heart is a wonderful story about grief, self compassion and finding ourselves after tragedy, you don’t want to miss.

Thank you, Simon & Schuster for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.