Review: The Heart Has Its Reasons by Maria Duenas


Title: The Heart Has Its Reasons

Author: Maria Duenas

Published: Pan Macmillan Au December 2014

Read an Extract

Status: Read from December 11 to 13, 2014 — I own a copy   {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

When her husband of twenty years abandons her for a woman only a few years older than their son, Spanish linguistics professor, Blanca Perera is desperate to get away and accepts a temporary fellowship position at a Californian university. Blanca’s task is to sort through the private and professional papers of the late Andrea Fontana, a fellow Spaniard, tragically killed in a car accident decades years previously. While Blanca initially cares little for the work, she finds herself increasingly fascinated by the life of the enigmatic professor, and his living protege, Daniel Carter.

The Heart Has its Reasons is a character driven novel exploring the themes of grief, loss, recovery and starting anew. Unfortunately I thought Blanca was a fairly bland character, passive and introverted, which is uncomfortable when the story is told largely from a first person narrative. Daniel Carter was perhaps the more interesting character, and I did enjoy reading about his time in mid century Spain.

The story does contain a hint of intrigue involving Daniel Carter’s motives, academic rivalry and a ‘missing’ Mission, and Blanca’s task plays into these threads.

As I know little about Spain, or its political or social history, I did find some of the information interesting, particularly regarding the Spanish Revolution and the influence of Spanish culture in America.

Despite some lovely writing  I really struggled with The Heart Has it’s Reasons. The tone was overly formal at times, possibly a fault of the translation. I also found the pace to be quite slow and was tempted to skim more than once.

Just barely an okay read for me.

Available to purchase from

Pan Macmillan Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Bookworld I via Booko

Amazon AU  I Amazon US

and all good bookstores.



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