Critically acclaimed author Alex Dahl explores how love can turn darkly sinister when a desperate mother looks to reconnect with her lost daughter in this riveting Norwegian set psychological suspense novel.
Two mothers. Two daughters. One heart.
When Alison's beloved daughter Amalie drowns, her world turns impenetrably dark. Alison tries to hold it together throughout the bleak Fall, but in the darkest days of the Norwegian Winter she completely falls apart.
In another family, Amalie's passing is a new beginning. After years of severe health problems, young Kaia receives a new heart on the morning after Amalie drowns. Her mother Iselin has struggled to raise Kaia on her own and now things are finally looking up. She's even made an affluent new friend who's taken a special interest in her and her daughter.
Alison knows she shouldn't interfere, but really, she's just trying to help Iselin and Kaia. She can give them the life they never had, and by staying close to them, she can still be with her daughter. Kaia is just like her, and surely, something of Amalie must live on in her. As her grief transforms into a terrifying obsession, Alison won't let anything stop her from getting back what she has lost.
Told by two suffering mothers, this sad, wild, alarming tale from Norwegian author Dahl (The Boy at the Door) is all too plausible. Alison and her husband are grieving over the drowning of their five-year-old daughter, Amelie. Alison is close to losing it, despite therapy and her heavy use of pills and alcohol. Meanwhile, Iselin, a single welfare mother, has waged a seven-year battle caring for her daughter, Kaia, who was born with a life-threatening heart problem. Then Kaia receives a new heart from a girl who drowned. As she begins to blossom into a happy, active child, Iselin's burdens lift. When Alison hears about the phenomenon of cellular memory whereby organ recipients can take on characteristics of donors, she becomes obsessed with finding the bearer of Amelie's heart. On learning it's Kaia, she quickly insinuates herself into Kaia and Iselin's life, as best friend, benefactor and keen observer of Kaia's emerging Amelie-isms. To Alison it's clear: Kaia is more her child than Iselin's, and she alone deserves the girl. This psychological thriller may also be a horror story, but one that feels natural if utterly unhinged.
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The Heart Keeper
Spoiler Alert: Too long, too sad, and terrible ending!