Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis – Book Details
TITLE – The Key to My Heart
AUTHOR – Lia Louis
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2022
PAGE COUNT – 352
MY RATING – 4.5 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.44 of 5
What It Is About
I close the lid, and sit slowly down, looking around the station now. People swarm by, all of them busy, with places to go, and it’s like the world is on fast forward, but I’m on pause. Like something is happening, but I don’t understand what.
Natalie is a thirty-two-year-old widow whose life has hit a rough patch after her husband’s sudden death. The house renovations they were supposed to do together aren’t going anywhere. She sees her friends only when she has to. And dating again is the last thing on her mind.
Her music career is also on pause, but she finds relief in anonymously playing public piano at a London train station. But then someone starts leaving her music sheets at the piano – and they are all her late husband’s favorite songs!
The mystery brings excitement, hope and purpose, and Natalie is determined to get to the bottom of it. But the answers might be unwelcome as they are unexpected. Or they might offer an opportunity for a new start.
Themes & vibes:
- women’s fiction more than a romance
- grief, death of a loved one
- a dash of mystery
- the healing power of music
- mysterious notes/messages
- friends to lovers
The Key to My Heart by Lia Louis – My Review
I laugh, and as I look to the side, at his gorgeous, sweet face, I realise how glad I am to have met him, and to have been, mere meters from each other, even if we didn’t know, as the pair of our hearts broke, almost in unison. And now we’re here. Now, they’re healing.
The Key to My Heart is the third book I’ve read by Lia Louis. (I’ve previously read Dear Emmie Blue and Eight Perfect Hours). Though each one had something its own to offer, this one for sure was my favorite.
There’s something about Louis’s writing and her protagonists that I find relatable. Her stories always stay with me long after I finish them. And at this point, I’m pretty sure I’ll read anything she ever comes up with.
The Key to My Heart was such an emotional story. So tender and heartbreaking, but also sweet and hopeful and inspiring.
I usually don’t like books that explore death and grief, just because more often than not I can’t relate (I never went through an unexpected great loss, and I rarely find it well described in books). But this time I felt it.
The grief part of this story was done so well, it made me feel all sorts of things. And Natalie was endlessly relatable, so easy to care about and root for.
And while my friends and family were the ones that got me through the first few months after, very soon I started daydreaming about having a brand-new start, with a brand-new clean slate of fresh, new people who didn’t have anything to measure me against. Nobody who expected me to ‘get better’.
I loved how honest her emotions were described. She was like – I’m grieving and I’m sick and tired of still missing my dead husband. Shouldn’t have this stopped by now? Why doesn’t it stop?
Everything she was going through. How stuck she felt. Scared that changing anything might feel like a betrayal. Feeling like everyone is getting tired of her not moving on. The almost palpable empty space Russ has left in her life.
It all felt so raw and gut-clenching. But what surprised me was that the general feeling of the book was uplifting rather than dark and depressing.
I think the hopefulness mostly came from the many wonderful supporting characters. Each of them added to the story in their own unique way. They were really the driving force of this book, not allowing Natalie to crawl back into her safe hole when clearly that was all she wanted to do.
They bought it of course. Lucy, Roxanne and Priya bought the whole Tom thing, hook, line and sinker, and I think even I might’ve bought it too, if I wasn’t the one sitting at the bar.
Sometimes their attention was very much unwelcome. Sometimes they seemed too pushy or ignorant. But just like Nat, they also needed some time and help to figure out this new reality. I wouldn’t blame them too much for caring enough to keep trying.
We also get two potential love interests. It might be clear to you from short into the book where the story is headed. But I won’t be talking too much about that here, just in case you’d like a chance to slowly get there.
As with Louis’ other books, The Key to My Heart also had some strong serendipity vibes. Is there something more going on? Could it be faith? What does it all mean?
I personally love that aspect of her stories. Like something magical is going on and everything is possible. ‘Cause why not.
All I know is that I can’t stop thinking about it, and I feel… excited. And then I feel ridiculous for feeling excited. Embarrassed. Because, what am I even saying?
My biggest complaint about this book (and that’s something I was missing in Louis’s other books as well) was that the romance part wasn’t as romantic as it could have been. That aspect was deep and emotional, but I guess I wanted some more playful sparks and flirtiness that I associate with falling in love.
Although, there was a certain romantic exchange towards the end that completely knocked me out of my socks. So, so, so thoughtful! It might even be the single most romantic gesture I’ve ever read, so kudos for that.
All in all, The Key to My Heart is a book I’ve enjoyed very much, and I’d warmly recommend it to anyone who loves this type of stories. It was well written, effortlessly compassionate and thoughtful, full of heartfelt moments, and so easy to sink into.
It was definitely one of the better books I’ve read lately. I already crave a reread.