Set against the backdrop of a city in turmoil during the drama of destructive aftershocks, post-traumatic stress, and the strains of trying to rebuild lives and find a new normal for everyday existence, A Jolt to the Heart reveals the tremendous tenacity of people under pressure and the enduring power of love to overcome the odds.
When one of the world’s most destructive earthquakes hits Christchurch in February 2011, Ellie Le Lievre’s world crumbled along with thousands of homes and most of the city’s CBD. When the dust-cloud cleared, one of the many dead was her husband, the popular blogger Max Maguire.
But at the funeral wake, Max’s best mate Lew Hastings finds that the flame for Ellie he had managed to smother for over forty years is being rekindled. Trouble is, he still can’t help upsetting her almost every time he opens his mouth and, like a lot of people living with the daily aftershocks, he’s turned to the booze for comfort. Besides, there’s a deeper reason for Ellie’s dislike – a reason the two former lovers have both tried to forget.
Meanwhile, Lew’s journalism unearths the scandal of why Max’s building was allowed to remain occupied, a cover-up that will throw him closer to Ellie and scare the hell out of them both as their investigation uncovers the city’s commercial underbelly.
And all the while, Ellie’s beloved cat is still missing and Max’s dog is pining for his master.