Open Heart

A poignant and gripping historical novel about the enduring power of love



Life is fleeting. Love is a gift.

In this coming-of-age novel set in the early 1970s, Gene Hull is whitewashing the trunks of Arizona citrus trees when he spots a beautiful girl and falls instantly in love. The girl is shy and vulnerable and distant. But when Gene finally breaks through her reserve, a date at a wave park turns into a near disaster, and Gene must call on the one person he can always rely on—his doctor father.

Although the girl survives and Gene wins her over, what will happen when they leave for college? Is she truly “the one,” or will distance drive them apart?

Intent on a medical career, Gene heads off to Cal Poly. When an emergency phone call from home blows a hole in Gene’s freshman year, his grades tank, and he bobbles the ball with the love of his life.

She’s gone. Out of his life forever. Not only that, but he’ll never get into med school on grades alone.

Hoping to improve his chances of admission, he arranges to spend the summer trailing a famous heart surgeon. But can Gene, trying to live up to his father’s legacy, turn his summer in the “Heart Room” —an operating theater of chilling cold, bone saws, and macabre humor—into an experience that would make his father proud?

If you like novels where family life is complicated and parents’ expectations trickle down into their children’s lives, then you’ll love Gregory D. Williams’ roman à clef about life and love and finding one’s own true path.

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