From the acclaimed author of One September Morning
comes a gripping new novel that explores one family’s journey in the wake of a horrific crime and its unexpected aftermath.
Kate McGann is wrenched from sleep by the 3 a.m. phone call every parent dreads. Her nineteen-year-old son, Ben, is lying unconscious in a Syracuse hospital after being attacked in his sleep by an unknown assailant with a baseball bat.
While Kate waits, frantically wishing for Ben to wake up and take back his life, she tries to uncover who could have done something so brutal. Ben’s talent as a baseball player on his college team
made some teammates jealous, but could any of them have hated him enough to do this? The crisis brings all of Ben’s relationships into sharp focus—and also leads Kate to unsettling revelations about her marriage. And with each discovery, Kate learns what happens when a single unforeseen event changes everything, and the future you’ve taken for granted is snatched away in a heartbeat…
Praise for Rosalind Noonan’s One September Morning
"Reminiscent of Jodi Picoult's kind of tale...it's a keeper!"
--Lisa Jackson, New York Times
"Written with great insight… Noonan delivers a fast-paced, character-driven tale with a touch of mystery." --Publishers Weekly
"Noonan creates a unique thriller…a novel that focuses on the toll war takes on returning soldiers and civilians whose loved ones won't be coming home." --Booklist
1. The call Kate McGann receives at the beginning of the
book sets inevitable changes in motion. Have you ever
received a life-changing phone call like Kate’s? Or was
there a defining moment in your life that set off major
2. In a Heartbeat is written from multiple viewpoints. Did
you find it jarring to transition from one character’s
point of view to another’s, or did you enjoy jumping
into a different person’s thoughts?
3. Which character(s) did you most enjoy spending time
with? Do you find that you prefer reading about people
you relate to, or characters who expose you to a different
culture or worldview?
4. Eli McGann escapes the real world through his art, as
evidenced by this quote: “Music, paintings, a certain
slant of light through colored glass—these were stored
in his mind as sanctuaries, a place to go when life grew
flat and sour.” Did you find Eli self-indulgent, or do you
think art is a healthy outlet for a man struggling with
5. With much advancement in medicine, health advocacy
has become more important than ever. Do you think
Kate made the right choices as her son’s advocate? If
you were in her place, what might you have done differently?
6. Dr. Teddy Zanth’s Balinese grandmother holds fast to
the ancient way of accessing the “disease” in a body.
As Teddy muses, “Ether, air, water, fire, and earth . . . to
Nyoman’s way of thinking, those elements held the keys
to good health, to happiness, to life.” Do you see a conflict
between Nyoman’s way of thinking and Teddy’s
Western practice of medicine?
7. Although Emma is quick to remove herself from her relationship
with Ben, what do you think she learns from
8. Revenge is a recurring theme throughout In a Heartbeat.
Explain how it applies to the players on the Lakers
team. How does it affect Kate? Would you say
revenge is Dylan’s primary stimulus, or were his actions
the result of complex motivations?
9. When Marnie searches her conscience for someone who
might have a vendetta against her, she comes up with an
incident from her childhood when she caused emotional
harm to someone. Considering her age at the time, do
you think her mother should have pursued it further?
Do you think her father’s response was appropriate?
10. While raising children, it often “takes a village” to sustain
their physical and emotional health through adulthood.
Compare the nurturing that Teddy received from
her grandmother Nyoman to the care Dylan’s grandmother
Ginger Mayers provided.
11. Both Kate and Eli have been keeping secrets through the
course of their relationship. If they were honest in the
beginning of their relationship, do you think things
would have turned out differently?
12. At the end of the book, when Kate and Eli talk about
fathering Ben, there is a new dimension to their discussion.
How has Eli’s approach to parenting been changed
by the events of the story?
13. How do Kate’s feelings toward Eli evolve through the
course of the novel?
14. If you were casting In a Heartbeat for a film, whom
would you choose to play Kate and Cody? Marnie and