The Heart of a Woman (1981) is an autobiography by American writer Maya Angelou. The book is the fourth installment in Angelou's series of seven autobiographies. The Heart of a Woman recounts events in Angelou's life between 1957 and 1962 and follows her travels to California, New York City, Cairo, and Ghana as she raises her teenage son, becomes a published author, becomes active in the US civil rights movement, and becomes romantically involved with a South African freedom fighter. One of the most important themes of The Heart of a Woman is motherhood, as Angelou continues to raise her teenage son. The book ends with Angelou's son leaving for college and Angelou looking forward to newfound independence and freedom. Like Angelou's previous volumes, the book has been described as autobiographical fiction, though most critics, as well as Angelou, have characterized it as autobiography. Although most critics consider Angelou's first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings more favorably, The Heart of a Woman has received positive reviews. It was chosen as an Oprah's Book Club selection in 1997.
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"These English have no heart"
The life of an ordinary woman with an extraordinary capacity to love is turned upside down when the man she loves is first supplanted and then accused of murder. Though the action of this book revolves around a murder mystery, it is really a love story rather than a detective novel, as its title indicates. Though Orczy was a foreigner, she wrote about English restraint with peculiar tenderness and acute perception. It is as though her purpose in writing this book was to illustrate the extraordinary strength of passion and character that can be be found behind the mask of Convention and seeming impassivity. This is a psychological drama of great beauty, and I recommend it to those who like books that dwell as much in the head as in the action.