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Poignant tale with a whole lot of heart

Posted: 11am 19 Sep 2020

According to the old adage, only time can mend a broken heart. But what if you can’t wait?

That’s the question author Jacqueline Henry poses in her debut book, The Whole Heart.

The Whole Heart is the endearing tale of a little girl who has lost someone dear to her, and seeks help from a repair man to ‘fix’ her heart as she grieves.

That moment of bravery unfolds into a journey exploring the nature of the human heart, and its different meanings to people riding the rollercoaster of emotions that are grief and heartbreak – and the wish to feel ‘whole’ again.

Memories of Scarborough

Jacqueline’s passion for creativity began early in life, as a child growing up in Scarborough.

“I always found myself drawn to Scarborough beach – when I had a school photo project, in summer with my friends, or when I just needed time to think,” she says.

“Scarborough beach and those pine trees – that’s my childhood.”

Jacqueline’s love of writing began as a pupil at the then St Bernadette’s Primary School, and blossomed during her junior high school years at Soubirous College, and senior high school at Frawley College (all now under the banner of Southern Cross Catholic College).

Following a passion

Her first job was as a check-out operator at Kmart at Kippa Ring – an experience she recalls as challenging.

“It taught me I was no good at retail,” she laughs.

Instead, she followed her passion for writing, working as a journalist and in communications, all the while tinkering with her dream of becoming a published author.

Jacqueline says it was a childhood driving game on a seemingly ordinary journey a few years ago that brought the inspiration she always knew would reveal itself.

Chance inspiration

“I was driving behind this old truck, and I was thinking, ‘I bet this is an old guy, I bet he could fix anything except a broken heart’.

“By the time I reached my destination, I had the whole concept in my head,” she says.

Jacqueline says changes to the way we live brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic have made her realise The Whole Heart is as much about hope as it is about grief.

“For me it’s about accepting grief, as grief is the price of love.

“Initially, I didn’t have a title for it. About six weeks later I woke up and thought ‘The Whole Heart’, but it wasn’t in the book.

“So I created the page where the girl says she just wants her heart to feel whole again, and I love that, because there are so many quotes about mending broken things.

“It makes me think in a way, we’re all broken and we’re all whole.”

Beautiful illustrations

Adding to its uniqueness, The Whole Heart features beautiful hand-drawn illustrations by women close to Jacqueline, who each chose which ‘category’ of heart they wanted to draw.

The Whole Heart is available to order at thewholeheart.com.au.

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