The Heart of Everything by Henrietta McKervey is May’s Irish Times Book Club pick

‘McKervey is brimming over with promise. She has wit, imagination, and an understanding of human beings, hallmark of the true novelist’ – Éilís Ní Dhuibhne

“Henrietta McKervey is a novelist in the early stages of her career, brimming over with promise. She has wit, imagination, and an understanding of human beings, which are the hallmark of the true novelist,” Éilís Ní Dhuibhne wrote in her review of McKervey’s second novel, The Heart of Everything (Hachette Books Ireland, £12.99), which is to be May’s Irish Times Book Club selection.

When Mags Jensen disappears, soon after learning she has early-stage dementia, her three grown up children are brought together to search for their mother. Over several days, old tensions rise to the surface, harking back to an earlier tragedy that splintered the family.

The Heart of Everything is a taut and compelling account of the nature of family relationships and the uneasy grasp of the past over the present. Powerful revelations take hold between the siblings and their efforts to find Mags become increasingly frantic as they are forced to ask: will they ever see their lost mother again?

“It’s a page turner,” wrote Ní Dhuibhne. “But just because a book is accessible doesn’t mean it’s lightweight or thinly written. The author’s light touch should not blind us to her stylistic skills.”


“This is the kind of book you won’t want to put down; I read it in two greedy sittings,” wrote a reader on Amazon, “Henrietta McKervey can do anything she wants with language, and here, she uses it to create a contemporary Irish family whose lives have either broken or drifted apart. Events of the past are gradually brought to the fore, where they skilfully meet the central crisis of the book; particularly admirable is McKervey’s startling, yet unsentimental ending. There is much in this book to admire and enjoy.”

McKervey was born in Belfast and brought up in Dublin. She is a fiction writer and design & advertising copywriter. Her first novel, What Becomes Of Us, was published by Hachette in April 2015. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UC. She won the Hennessy First Fiction Literary Award 2015 and was the first winner of the Maeve Binchy Travel Award.