Book Review: Bleeding Heart by Liza Gyllenhaal


Bleeding Heart
Author: Liza Gyllenhaal
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: Fiction
Released: November 4 2014
Review Source: NAL Trade

“A compelling story … Deftly balances comforting descriptions of gardens and small-town life with the suspenseful unraveling of a mystery" — Kirkus Reviews*

“Gyllenhaal nicely weaves environmental politics, financial shenanigans, and murder into Alice’s compelling story. Could get heated for book groups.” —Booklist

“The multilayered plot and deceptive characters makes this a strong crossover chick lit/mystery novel. Great for book club discussion groups.” —Library Journal

"Alice Hyatt is trying to move on with her life after her husband’s disappearance; he took millions of dollars and a female accomplice with him. She finds solace and stability in her landscaping business, Green Acres. When nearby millionaire Graham Mackenzie asks her to design his garden, she can’t say no—not just because he promises to give a generous donation to her best friend’s charity, but because she wants to take on the challenge of creating the most beautiful garden in the Berkshires. Mackenzie doesn’t exactly have a spotless reputation, however—he earned his money in the hydraulic fracturing industry, and many residents aren’t happy about it. Alice’s controversial client soon causes her problems with many locals, including Tom Deaver, the environmental writer on whom she develops a crush. But Mackenzie doesn’t really cause trouble until he drops dead …‘Gardening thriller’ may seem an unlikely genre, but Gyllenhaal pulls it off.”— *Kirkus Reviews Conversation Guide included


Bleeding Heart follows Alice, a woman who has lived through some turmoil and is just getting back on her feet when she's thrown into a similar conflict. Going to work for Mackenzie to create the garden she's most proud of takes her down the rabbit hole when she figures out that Mackenzie might not have as much money as he proclaimed to have.

There is so much more to this story than what meets the eye. When reading the back cover I thought I knew what kind of story I was in for, and as the book progressed the more intriguing it became! This is not my usual genre when reading books, I tend to enjoy fantasies more than any other genre. So for me to enjoy this book was a shock. Of course I wasn't completely gripped until "Part 3" of the book. That was when it became hard for me to put it down.

One thing that I really liked about this book was the fact that it was as close to real life as a fictional story can get. You were never ready to believe that the happy ending was around the corner, and there were always real world problems coming up. It's rare to read a book about people going into debt, and struggling to keep their business from going under. So it was refreshing to be able to read a story that didn't shy away from reality.


Gyllenhaal has a natural ability when it comes to writing. I really enjoyed how she described things, mainly settings that Alice was encountering. I was always able to envision what was going on. She also has a knack for making a story that's captivating. For her to be able to get someone who wouldn't normally read her books (me!) to get hooked is a great talent, I wouldn't say that I will now go in search for stories such as this one. But now if I come across another one of Liza Gyllenhaal's books I might pick it up. 

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