Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Book review: We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman


My edition: Paperback (proof), published on 21 May 2015 by Ebury Press, 400 pages.

Description: Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as Vincent locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients, detailing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and posts them after their death.

That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time, to give her patient one final chance of redemption...

Rating:



Rowan Coleman is one of those authors I discovered thanks to word of mouth in the blogosphere. Her previous novel, The Memory Book, received raving reviews (and rightfully so) and for a while was all over my social media feeds until I simply had to get my own copy. It was a beautiful story and so when I had the opportunity to read her new book, We Are All Made of Stars, before its official release (my review is a tad slow as I've been busy moving house) I jumped at the change - and it didn't disappoint.

Stella is a nurse in a hospice, which is a difficult and draining job at times, but also incredibly rewarding as she not only forms beautiful connections with those she cares for but also provides a unique service to help them in their final days; offer to write them one last letter. Being on the receiving end of a letter in today's digital age may sound old-fashioned but getting the chance to hold a tangible message from a friend or loved one who has just passed away is of unmeasurable value not only to the recipients, but also to the person it has come from as it means they can pass on words of wisdom, or even make amends and die peacefully.

A book with such a premise is bound to be a tearjerker, and it most certainly is. Yet the moments of beauty that shine through are worth the embarrassing blubbing on the train (I read on my commute) as they really reaffirmed my faith in people through the amazing things they do for another person to make their final moments worth while. It doesn't have to be huge either; take for instance Stella, something as small and simple as a letter can bring that invaluable piece of hope or relief that people cling on to towards the end of their lives.

We Are All Made of Stars is as heartwarming as it it heartbreaking; the acts of kindness that run throughout are the former, while of course in a novel set in a hospice the loss of characters you've come to know and love leads to an emotional roller-coaster from one page to the next. Rowan Coleman is quickly establishing herself as the queen of beautiful tearjerkers and I for one cannot wait for her next novel for a good weep and a boost of faith in the selfless kindness of my fellow human beings.


(Sorry for today's short review, I really am super busy with moving house - my reviews will be longer again towards the end of June.)


You can purchase We Are All Made of Stars from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: rowancoleman.co.uk

Twitter: @rowancoleman


Many thanks to Lovereading for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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