"I Know You by Heart" takes an extended family through the death of its matriarch and then through the formalities of the mourning period. Readers, no doubt, know from experience, that no mourning period for anyone, or any family is like any other. All members of the Fielding family have unfinished business, hidden scandals, fearful secrets that create unwitting behavior. Each character provides harsh, but horribly true information, revealed for the first time. In "I Know You by Heart," all of these elements float about uncontrolled, and the family runs amok. The characters in "I Know You by Heart," expect their reasonably responsible family members to behave in traditional ways, but the truth is, the Fielding family faces this crisis in the most irrational ways possible. From moments before the funeral, until after the formal grieving process is over, they begrudge, punish and some even learn to love again, over time.