Author: Sheila O’Flanagan
Publication Year: 2003
From the Heart reveals the unexpected tales that lie beneath the surface of every-day lives, through a memorable cast of characters all in search of their own happy endings. A hot date gets off to a disastrous start; a young couple long for peace and quiet as they prepare for their first Christmas as parents; two eavesdropping passengers realise they share more in common than they had thought; a couple celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, wondering if it's all a sham; and Isobel from Isobel's Wedding encounters an unexpected reunion in a luxurious Caribbean getaway.A touching and heart-warming selection of stories taken from Sheila O'Flanagan's bestselling collections Destinations, Connections and A Season to Remember, available together exclusively in this digital-only edition.
From The Heart is a collection of short stories by Sheila O’Flanagan. It consists of 5 short stories about women and their relationships. The first story, Hot Date, tells a tale about a woman who always has bad luck dating-wise. One day, a cute co-worker asked her out on a date. Thinking that it was her only chance, she planned her preparation ahead of time. Unfortunately, something came up at work which resulting in her being late and not having enough time to prepare herself. This is one cute story. Though the co-worker is described as almost perfect to the point that he might be a jerk when on a date. But he’s surprisingly sweet and seems genuinely interested in the main character. I really enjoy reading this short story.
The second short story, A Peaceful Christmas, is about the struggle of a new family who has just been welcoming their new little member. It was christmas time and grandparents from both sides of the family are equally enthusiastic to have the first christmas with the baby. Both sides don’t want to give in, resulting in a chaos that this new family has to face. A Peaceful Christmas is a funny and heartwarming short story. The characters in this short story (especially the grandparents) seems unreasonable. But sometimes, that is just the reality. It has a nice and quite cheesy conclusion that I think is suitable for the theme of this story.
Next short story, Anniversary, is quite dark. It’s about a couple who’s been married for a long time. Their children sent them on a vacation trip as a gift for their anniversary. However, as they went on a trip the woman reminisced how she and her husband met, their first date, and their marriage. Messy things came up and we soon learn that their marriage is not as perfect as it seems. This one has an open ending. Not the kind that I like. I usually like stories with open ending, but still give me some kind of direction of the possible outcomes. Anniversary is not like that. It’s just left hanging. I have no idea what will happen to the characters.
While Phone a Friend is a story about two strangers making connection because they both have the same problem. Boyfriend problem. These two women were on the train when one of them got a call from her boyfriend. The other one over heard the call and assumed that the woman was underappreciated by her boyfriend. Later, the other woman also got a phone call from her boyfriend and facing the same problem as the first woman. I like this story. It was a nice story. Sometimes a stranger can understand you even more than your best friends.
The last story, Isobel’s Reunion apparently a companion short story to O’Flanagan’s other book called Isobel’s Wedding. It contains spoiler of that book. I haven’t read the book, but I kept reading this short story anyway. It was okay. It did feel like it’s a part of a bigger story, so this short story doesn’t tell me much about the characters involved. Even the plot is like only a piece of big puzzle. I have no intention to read Isobel’s Wedding anyway. So there’s that.
Overall, it was a nice read. Some stories are heartwarming or cute and fun to read. Some are just bland. From the Heart is a nice contemporary short story collection. Although I don’t recommend reading all of them. I give this 3.5 out of 5.