Martin, Marianne, “The Indelible Heart”, Bywater Books, 2011.
The Power of Friendship
When a good story comes together with beautiful prose, we get a wonderful read and these two attributes are trademarks of Marianne Martin. Martin has a knack for wit and writing about emotions that puts her in a special class of writers. Her character development is excellent and as we read, we begin to see the characters before our eyes. I met Marianne this year at Saints and Sinners and let me just say that her grace and charm as a person is reflected in the grace and charm with which she writes.
“The Inedible Heart” is the sequel to “Love in the Balance” and is set ten years later than the first novel and the characters of Charlie, Laura, Sage, Deanne, Kasey, Connie and Sharon are back with us. Sharon becomes the focus of the novel. The story opens with the news of the request for release of Charlie Crawford who had been sent to prison for murdering his lesbian neighbors. Charlie has put in a request for early release as he is terminally ill.
It was Sharon who was responsible for mobilizing her friends and bringing Charlie to justice and she realizes that if he is released, she will once again be called to action. Charlie not only killed her friends but also stole Sharon’s sobriety and her partner, Laura. Sharon has floundered ever since and life has become little more than survival from day to day. Now Laura has returned to town and Sharon must fight to keep Charlie in jail. Sharon feels that there will never be love in her life again and she has forgotten about friendship.
The basic themes of love and hate, of anger and depression and of life and death are all here. Sharon moves from having been a secondary character in “Love in the Balance” to becoming the main character of “The Indelible Heart” and from having been a character that we really had no feelings for to one that we want to learn more about. She is still upset and full of anger over the murder and she has been forced to deal with these issues and especially the issue of being unable to move forward. I think that many of us have had to sustain the loss of someone that we cared deeply for and we have felt the anger that accompanies the loss. Reactions vary and Sharon has really had to deal with her feelings by herself.
It is not easy to resurrect characters but Martin has done so and we begin to remember them as we knew them in “Love in the Balance”. However it is not necessary to read the first book in order to enjoy the second and for me that is the sign of a good writer. Even though the two books are certainly related, one does not depend on the other and each can stand alone.
Looking at Sharon once again, we see a woman who was bent on revenge for the murder of her friends; a woman who sought out justice. Unfortunately for her, gaining that justice did not make the hurt and pain go away and to come to terms with what happened, Sharon began to drink. When Laura left her because of the drinking, Sharon and depression began to walk hand in hand. That same depression slapped Sharon across the face and caused her to begin rebuilding herself and her life. She has been consumed by hate and with Laura’s return to town, love and friendship re-enter her life and the power of friendship becomes the major theme of the book.
Causes Marianne Martin Supports
HRC, Michigan Equality, Gay & Lesbian Task Force, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, ASPCA, HSUS