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A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker

A Well Tempered Heart

Literary Fiction   Books of the Month   Family Drama   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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March 2014 Book of the Month.

An intriguing and beguiling read, told with great eloquence and understanding. Burma and the USA are unlikely bedfellows as a setting, however this juxtaposition helps focus on the different characters and their yearning for compassion and love.
Part of the novel is set within a period of civil war, the hardships accentuate the spiritual and friendly nature of the community caught in this internal conflict and you feel that the author has a great love for Burma and its people. His lightness of touch, when dealing with heartache and sorrow, emphasise the intensity of feelings within the main characters.
There is no discord or disharmony between the different stories being told and by the end the tales fit enchantingly together like two sides of the same jigsaw. Although this is a much anticipated sequel, you do not have to have read the award winning The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. This book stands resolutely in its own right, however there are suggestive hints, that if you haven't yet done so, will encourage you to explore the story of Julias father, the man who could hear heartbeats. ~ Liz Robinson

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for A Well Tempered Heart a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'A beautifully written book about a beautiful country and culture. If you love a sensitive thoughtful book then this is the one for you.' Sarah Musk

Scroll down to read more reviews.

A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher...

Normally publishers are wary of sequels but Jan-Philipp Sendker’s follow up to the smash hit Art of Hearing Heartbeats does not disappoint. Everything is there: the mix of East and West, the pain of lives pulled apart by the bitter conflict of war and, most of all, the emotional pull of love, loss and forgiveness. All infused with Jan-Philipp’s spellbinding story-telling; you won’t be able to put it down.'

- Neville Moir, Editor, Polygon Books

If you like Jan-Philipp Sendker you might also like to read books by Corban Addison.


A Well Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father's native country. Though she is a successful Manhattan lawyer, her private life is at a crossroads; her boyfriend recently left her, she has suffered a miscarriage, and she is, despite her wealth, unhappy with her professional life. Julia is lost and exhausted. One day, in the middle of an important business meeting, she hears a stranger's voice in her head that causes her to leave the office without explanation. In the following days, her crisis only deepens. Not only does the female voice refuse to disappear, but it starts to ask questions Julia has been trying to avoid. Why do you live alone? To whom do you feel close? What do you want in life? Interwoven with Julia's story is that of a Burmese woman named Nu Nu who finds her world turned upside down when Burma goes to war and calls on her two young sons to be child soldiers. This spirited novel, like The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain: the human heart.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review A Well Tempered Heart. You can read their reviews below.

Richard Hamlin - 'It is a heart wrenching tale of love and loss but it also conveys an absorbing sense of peace and unusual and ultimately rewarding read.' Click Here to read the full review.

Barbara Gaskell - 'While not quite as good as The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, it is highly recommended. I am looking forward to the next instalment.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sue Broom - 'A portrayal of how love and compassion can heal even the most terrible wounds. A book to lift your spirits.' Click Here to read the full review.

Catherine Larner -
'it is a beautiful book, with a powerful sense of place, which leaves the reader wondering on the universal consequences of love, loss, suffering and forgiveness.' Click Here to read the full review.

Sarah Musk -
'A beautifully written book about a beautiful country and culture. If you love a sensitive thoughtful book then this is the one for you.' Click Here to read the full review.

About the Author

Jan-Philipp Sendker

Jan-Philipp Sendker lives in Berlin with his family. He was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, his first novel, was an international bestseller, and he’s the author of A Well- Tempered Heart, Whispering Shadows and its sequel Dragon Games. He is currently at work on the third novel set in Hong Kong.

Click here to read a Q&A with this author.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th February 2014


Jan-Philipp Sendker

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


336 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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