More About "Eli's Heart"
“The story was fairy tale, full of music and wonder. I felt the love that Eli and Krissy had for each other. I recommend this to anyone who loves a good love story and a good cry.” – Margaret Bender, Amazon 5-Star Reader Review
There is a fairy tale element about Eli’s Heart; there almost has to be. Eli Levin comes into this world with two challenges: he has a heart that is not working correctly and can never be made normal; and he has a prodigious musical talent. Either of these is daunting. Taken together, they mean his hope for a productive, happy life will require a heroic effort. In the “Prologue,” the brief opening chapter of the book, Krissy thinks of Eli as “a noble prince.”
Eli’s heart condition means his life will inevitably end too soon. When he was born in the late 1930s, there was no hope for children with his condition: Tetralogy of Fallot. Many died in infancy; of those who did not, very few survived puberty. In 1944, though, a surgical procedure was developed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Eli had this surgery, which gave him a better quality of life and added years. But he feels he has very limited choices as to how he can make his life productive. Playing the piano is really all he can do.
Happiness: Eli feels very isolated, but while visiting his older, married sister in a small town in Tennessee as a teenager he meets Krissy, a girl a few months younger than he is. Through their shared passion for music, they quickly become good friends, and Eli hopes for more; but for several reasons the “more” never develops. They re-connect through letters and phone calls when they are both college students, and when Eli and Krissy see each other again they acknowledge the strong love between them. They marry while they are still in college. After graduate school he quickly begins a successful career as an accompanist.
Eli’s heart condition is always a shadow over his and Krissy’s happiness. Krissy eventually realizes what her life as Eli’s wife has to be. Eli tries to live a day at a time, grateful for each of those days. Krissy has to learn to “make every minute they have together the best minute of their lives,” advice she is given by the husband of a college friend who is a medical resident. She talks with Les Allen before she and Eli manage to see each other after a separation of three years.
After her talk with Les, Krissy writes to Eli to let him know she’s learned more about his heart condition, and concludes her letter:
I know you and I haven’t talked about what our future together might be. Maybe I am writing this and telling you all this too soon. But I think it’s important for you to know that I’ve learned more about your heart. If I should be so fortunate that you give that heart to me, I will treat it with love and tenderness, and I will do my best to help you face anything that happens.
Les said something to me I will remember all my life. He said, “If you love each other, make every minute you have together the best minute of your lives.” I think that’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard.
I love you, Eli. I believe we are meant to be together. I don’t want you to hesitate because you think I don’t know what loving you includes. I will love all of you, especially the heart you told your sister I couldn’t break because it’s already broken. It’s the best heart I’ve ever known.
All my love forever,
ELI’S HEART can be purchased on Amazon, paperback currently on sale for $11.30 and Kindle edition for $6.99.