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Game of Hearts Paperback – November 27, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

"Nemer’s debut novel unfolds against the backdrop of the world wars and 1950s Europe.
Ben and Charlotte, an American couple, decide to spend a year living in Brussels in 1958. Ben plans on doing scientific research at a university lab, while his wife, Charlotte, will be continuing her art studies. A slight mix-up on their first day in town brings them to the doorstep of a local figure known as the Countess, who becomes fast friends with the pair. Ostensibly, everything is fine with Ben and Charlotte’s marriage, but surgery has left Charlotte with the inability to have children. The issue, lurking just below the surface, is a touchy one for the couple. Charlotte’s regular visits with the Countess turn the unique woman into a confidante who reveals her somewhat mysterious past. The novel blends two distinct stories: that of Ben, Charlotte and their European adventures told by way of an omniscient third-person narrator, and the Countess’ story told in her own voice, beginning with her unconventional family life and continuing to her teen years, when a World War I romance with a prince—who would go on to become the king of England—forever changed her life. A mystery lies at the intersection of these two stories. What connection do a possible poisoning, spies and a man who knocks Charlotte down on the sidewalk have to the Countess? Is the Countess correct in thinking that these shadowy men mean to isolate her in an attempt to prevent her from trying to claim what she feels is her rightful share of her royal family’s inheritance? All Ben and Charlotte have to go by are their own best guesses as to what’s behind the bizarre incidents. Nemer deftly weaves together the different story strands, with the Countess’s ill-fated royal love affair and Ben and Charlotte’s marital struggles convincingly intertwining.
A compelling novel that captures the feel of midcentury Europe, bringing it to life with complex, sympathetic characters."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480262293
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480262294
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,918,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Coyote on February 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is said to be the first novel by M. Nemer, a noted molecular biologist interested in how living creatures develop from single cells. There is more literary polish and cultural depth to "Game of Hearts" than one might expect from a bench scientist. I like this "fictionalized history" for that reason, and also because for me it was a page-turner. From the beginning - a description of a very young American couple suddenly confronted with their first night in a European city with plans gone awry - my interest was piqued. Where was this story headed? Was it a murder mystery? Or a tale of espionage? Or a story of how the game of love gets played? The book held my attention, led me to speed-read, then return to some passages for a second read. The author left me wondering where the line between historical narrative and fictional fancy really lay. I loved his depiction of character, though not his mastery of dialogue. Some silly typos were not caught in the publication process, but I don't hold the author responsible for that.
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Format: Paperback
This novel is a wonderful mix of love story and spy thriller with shocking
historical possibilities. It is an engaging telling of deftly
woven-together tales - the one simple yet profound, the other, complex and
consequential in many possible ways. The professional pursuits of a young
American scientist and his artist wife lead the couple to Belgium in 1958.
The story of their mutual love and excitement in furthering their careers
is astonishingly enhanced by their chance association with a
still-Victorian, Belgian Countess. This enigmatic Countess recounts an
intriguing history of her youth during the First World War and a scandal
involving her romance with British royalty. The Americans are often drawn
into the ever-present danger surrounding this possibly fictional - but
quite believable - character and story. Altogether a great read with plot
twists and surprises.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The intertwining of this novel's story lines is stunningly realized by the author's juxtaposing of mirrored scenes. E.g., the sexual naiveté of an adolescent girl, displaying self-conscious Victorian astonishment, in one love scene, registers intriguingly with the naiveté, in the next chapter, of a man, who, in an unlikely liaison with a lesbian, goes from being oblivious to surprised over her sexual orientation. Contrast also shows up in lovers' reunions, where the hesitant pace of one is matched with the next chapter's robustly disported and overtly detailed sexual reunion. In vignettes such as these, and through other means, the story lines play off one another throughout this well-wrought and continually fascinating novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Nemer's page-turner novel straddles the line of historical truth in its revelation of a hidden British Royal scandal. Whether real historical fact or not, it is an intriguing historical possibility, especially when mirrored by, as well as contrasted with, the predicament of the American couple, who stumble into the scandal's repercussions.
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