The Gift by Louise Jensen
Book Review by GJ Williams
The Gift centres on Jenna, the recent recipient of a new heart donated after the tragic death of a young girl. As Jenna moves through the stages of recovery, far from the expected wellbeing from having had a second start in life, she is dogged by strange dreams, irrational fears and apparent flashbacks.
Against all advice she investigates the donor and finds that she died in strange circumstances. Not content with that, Jenna contacts the family and learns more. Why was her donor, Callie, frightened?; why did she leave a wedding the night she died without saying goodbye?; why did she have a black eye when she was in a loving relationship? As time passes, Jenna becomes more obsessed with finding out why Callie died and who was involved. She is increasingly disturbed by dreams of a childhood she did not have and a lover who was not hers – and then there is the terrifying dream of running through woods, pursued – but by whom? As Jenna’s distress grows, others become more concerned. When she decides that she has to find Callie’s killer, she is very much alone and frightened. What she is sure about, is that Callie’s heart is speaking to her and giving her the memories and fears which might lead her to find justice.
Jenna’s investigating leads her into dangerous territory – I cannot reveal the characters of more of the plot or I will be creating a spoiler. Enough to say that a perfect family harbours dark secrets and the danger increases until the final reveal and, yes, it is a surprise.
Louise Jenson has created here a fast paced story with a range of characters – good, bad and downright ugly. There was quite a lot of tell not show for my liking, but when you are constantly in the perspective of the protagonist, it is difficult to avoid this. However, lines such as “My mind is a riot of thoughts and emotions” as she meets her donors parents is taking the reader too much by the hand. Likewise, sometimes the dramatic language such as “the desire to find more burns hot and bright and eclipses the words” was too much for me. That said, Louise Jensen is hitting the top of the ratings on this book and her first book, The Sister, reached number one several charts – so readers are liking it. Looking at the kindle ratings and reviews on Goodreads, the vast majority rate 3 and above, though the more negative ratings, like me, focus on the writing style as an over-dramatisation.
About the author
From her brief biography, it appears Louise Jensen is a self-taught, self-published writer and good on her for striking out there. Like many of us, she buried her desire to write until life forced her to make a choice. After a car accident which limited her ability to work, she buried herself I books and then began to write with gusto – with success it seems.