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rview of Shatter My Heart by Thelma A. Giomi

 Review Shatter My Heart by Thelma A. Giomi

 Review by Reynold Conger  
 This novel is tender where it should be tender and intense where it needs to be intense. It is a tale wonderfully told.  
 The first chapter is likely to lead the reader to think this is a standard sweet romance between two medical professionals who are romantically attracted to each other but separated by professional differences of opinion. What a great way to start, but that is only an illusion.  
 All romance authors look for some problem that will split the couple apart like a wedge splitting wood, but the skill of romance writing is to find a way to eventually heal the relationship just before that wedge splinters their romance into kindling. Lauren is already comfortably settled into her career as a psychologist, and they marry just as Ian starts his career as a surgeon.    
 The marriage is of fairy tale quality until Lauren develops symptoms that evade diagnosis and do not respond to treatment. The symptoms are real, but some people question if the symptoms are not psychosomatic. This mysterious disease is the wedge, but the couple, like most of us, is also carrying some psychological baggage that erodes the strength of their love.  
 Because her symptoms are real and becoming progressively worse, she consults a range of people from specialists to healers, My grandfather practiced medicine in the depression, and he would have called the majority of these medical professionals, “charlatans”. My grandfather put patient care at the pinnacle of his practice. These charlatans either misunderstand her disease or, in some cases, accuse her of pretending to be sick.  
 Fortunately, Lauren and Ian have close friends who do what thy can to help as Lauren searches for and finally locates a doctor who is willing to work with her for the long haul. Lauren can not be healed, but at least the symptoms can be controlled to some extent. Meanwhile Ian has discarded some emotional baggage that  has been getting in the way. With their hearts shattered, there is a path open by which they can restore their marriage.  
 It would be a spoiler to identify the nature of Lauren's disease or the emotional and psychological problems that threaten the marriage, but Thelma Giomi is in a position to write with skill about them.    
 You may need an entire box of tissues to read the intense parts, but press on.  
 Review by Reynold Conger