Desert Isle Keeper
Jar of Hearts
Jar of Hearts, the latest thriller from Jennifer Hillier, has gotten a ton of buzz in the months leading up to its release. Some have gone so far as to refer to it as the thriller of 2018, and while I might not go quite that far myself, I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and am eager to check out the author’s backlist.
It’s been fourteen years since Angela Wong disappeared without a trace. The police have done everything they possibly can, and now her friends and family have been forced to come to terms with the fact that they’ll probably never know what really happened to her. And then, a shocking discovery is made. Georgina Shaw, called Geo by those closest to her, is arrested and brought to trial for her part in Angela’s murder. The two girls used to be best friends, and no one can figure out what could have driven Geo to take Angela’s life.
There are a lot of things about that night that Geo simply isn’t telling, and most of them have to do with Calvin James, Geo’s first love and the person who bears the bulk of the responsibility for Angela’s death. The relationship between Geo and Calvin was always turbulent, and there were plenty of things about Calvin’s behavior that made Geo uneasy, but she loved him beyond all reason, and it seems she’ll still do almost anything to protect him, even after all this time.
After serving a prison sentence for her role in the crime, Geo returns to her childhood home in an attempt to get back on her feet. Her former neighbors aren’t the least welcoming, going so far as to vandalize her house and car, but Geo is done running. She’s back, and the truth will be revealed no matter who gets caught in the crossfire.
Jar of Hearts is a complex book that is almost impossible to describe without ruining it for the reader. It’s a mystery for sure, but there’s also a delightful second chance romance that adds a bit of sweetness to what is otherwise an incredibly dark story. The romance definitely takes a backseat to the mystery though, something that won’t work for everyone.
Geo has to be one of the most flawed heroines I’ve read about in quite some time. In fact, I wasn’t sure I could ever like her. She does some horrible things for reasons that were difficult for me to relate to, and yet I did find myself warming to her as the story progressed. She’s not the kind of person I’d hang out with in real life, but there’s something about her determination to move on from all the bad things in her past that drew me to her.
The novel moves back and forth in time between the present and the days leading up to Angela’s death. I liked that we got to know Angela as a person rather than simply the victim of a horrible crime. She wasn’t always the nicest person, and her relationship with Geo was quite complicated. So often, we only learn about the victims in the past tense, so I applaud Ms. Hillier’s decision to actually allow Angela to be a part of the story.
If violence is problematic for you, you’re going to want to skip this book. The story contains several very violent scenes, including a couple of rapes. The descriptions aren’t unnecessarily graphic, but the author doesn’t hold back either. There are also quite a few mentions of domestic violence throughout the story, and they’re quite realistic and therefore disturbing.
If you’re looking for a dark, gritty thriller this summer, Jar of Hearts just might be the book for you; I had to force myself to put it down so I could go to bed at a somewhat reasonable hour. It’s a great mix of action and character development, and I’m glad I got the chance to read it.