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The Heart of Henry Quantum


The Heart of Henry Quantum

Just two days before Christmas, Henry Quantum still hasn’t gotten his wife a present. Sure, that happens to a lot of men, but not Henry, not usually. True, his mind tends to wander. A lot, in fact. So much so that Margaret can barely stand it. At almost any point in time, Henry’s mind takes him from one subject to another --- seamlessly and endlessly --- and, yes, his wife detests that. When did she quit looking at him with adoration and start looking at him with disgust? They have been married only about 16 years and are highly successful --- Margaret is the real powerhouse, but Henry has done all right for himself, too. Anyway, back to that gift. He’s decided to run to Macy’s on his lunch break where he can pick up a bottle of Chanel #5. But Henry has a way of getting distracted, even when his goal is as simple as buying perfume.

"Defying genres...Harding’s debut novel is a fun romp through the streets of the beautiful Golden Gate city... The ending will probably not surprise you, but you will find yourself thoroughly satisfied when you turn the last page."

While pondering obscure thoughts about hip clothing in front of a store window on Grant Avenue, he hears his name being called out and discovers his ex-lover, Daisy. It has been four years since she broke it off, but there’s something about Daisy that has stuck with him. Henry never felt a tinge of guilt about the affair, and he wonders why that might be. He loves Margaret, right? He does, he assures himself. Of course he does. Right now, he’s on a mission to buy her a Christmas present. That’s what’s important. Yes, that’s what’s important. But, well, a small diversion wouldn’t hurt, surely. And it is lunchtime. So he and Daisy duck into a café.

Meanwhile, Margaret is off doing whatever Margaret does. She’s a woman with her own secret, having grown disenchanted with her husband. Since she has become a giant on the San Francisco real estate scene, Margaret can disappear into the city whenever and wherever she wants --- or, indeed, disappear outside of the city whenever and wherever she wants. Which she does. And while she does, she wonders what happened to her and Henry. How did he come to so bitterly disappoint her? And what should she do about it? He’s just so --- so Henry.

Divided into segments, THE HEART OF HENRY QUANTUM is told from the three perspectives: Henry’s, Margaret’s and Daisy’s. Each of the characters is remarkably, wonderfully different. So read their stories and decide which of them you’d like to see paired up with another, or which of them you might like as your best friend. Maybe all of them in some way. Or maybe you won’t like any of them, but I doubt it. The entire book spans only the 23rd of December, but the revelations that surface during those few short hours are epic. And, as author Pepper Harding notes, “If you care to, you can walk Henry’s walk, drive Margaret’s drive, or visit Daisy’s house. If you do decide to follow in Henry’s footsteps, you will have the pleasure…of falling in love with San Francisco, the most magical city in America, and perhaps in the world.” So maybe Harding has given his readers a fourth character --- San Francisco.

Defying genres, although leaning toward romance, Harding’s debut novel is a fun romp through the streets of the beautiful Golden Gate city, experienced through the eyes of Henry, a transplanted local, and his wife and lover. Naturally, the rain rolls in (it’s December, after all), but it’s hard to dampen Henry’s spirits or stop his ever-evolving thoughts. It may actually clarify things. The ending will probably not surprise you, but you will find yourself thoroughly satisfied when you turn the last page. Highly recommended, especially for those wanting a bit of holiday cheer.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on October 14, 2016

The Heart of Henry Quantum
by Pepper Harding

  • Publication Date: June 20, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • ISBN-10: 1501126814
  • ISBN-13: 9781501126819