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Wednesday Weekly

A Well Tempered Heart

By Jan-Philipp Sendker

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Welcome back to the blog!! This edition features the sequel to Sunday’s book. This book has the same characters as the first book, but the storyline is very different. How does it compare to the first book? I liked the first book the best, but this one is also really good!! It was originally released in 2012 and the translation in English in January of 2014.  It is 400 pages, but it goes fast!!

Almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father’s native country. Though she is a successful Manhattan lawyer, her private life is at a crossroads; her boyfriend recently left her, she has suffered a miscarriage, and she is, despite her wealth, unhappy with her professional life. Julia is lost and exhausted.

One day, in the middle of an important business meeting, she hears a stranger’s voice in her head that causes her to leave the office without explanation. In the following days, her crisis only deepens. Not only does the female voice refuse to disappear, but it starts to ask questions Julia has been trying to avoid. Why do you live alone? To whom do you feel close? What do you want in life?

Interwoven with Julia’s story is that of a Burmese woman named Nu Nu who finds her world turned upside down when Burma goes to war and calls on her two young sons to be child soldiers. This spirited sequel, like The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain: the human heart (Goodreads).

This book contains more of the Asian influence in its writing. It has Julia hearing voices of the ghost of Nu Nu. We learn about the many facets of Burma. There is poverty, Buddhism, the horrors of being a young soldier and lack of medical care. Julia is finding herself and bonding with her stepbrother as Nu Nu reveals a parallel story of her children. It is a love story based on brother and sister bonds. The end of the book is left open when Julia decides to stay with U Ba instead of returning to New York and her old life. I anticipate that there will be a third book in the series!! The writer’s style shines again in this one!! I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.

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