Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Book Review - We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

Amazon UK
Title: We Are All Made of Stars
Author: Rowan Coleman
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publication Date: 21st May 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

Do not miss me, because I will always be with you…I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved... Wherever you look, I will be there.

Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a soldier who has returned from Afghanistan injured in body and mind, she leaves the house every evening as Vincent locks himself away, along with the secrets he brought home from the war.

During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients to their loved ones - some full of humour, love and practical advice, others steeped in regret or pain – and promises to post these messages after their deaths.

Until one night Stella writes the letter that could give her patient one last chance at redemption, if she delivers it in time…

There are two main characters in We Are All Made of Stars, and everything that occurs in the story relates to one of their stories, whether you realise it at the time or not. We Are All Made of Stars is a very cleverly crafted story, that is a pleasure to read. 

Stella Carey, works in a hospice, offering love and care to all those patients there, whether in the hospice for a short of long time. She is a compassionate nurse and it is obvious she takes good care of anyone that comes across her path. She only works night shifts, as since her husband, Vincent, returned from Afghanistan, their relationship has changed. 

Stella, has got a reputation in the hospice for writing final letters, for those too frail to write themselves any more, and to post them to correct people after the writer's passing. The contents of the letters varies a great degree, but they are wonderful to read, and definitely add to the story, and fell of the book. 

When I first discovered what Stella does for a job, and that it would be the main setting for the book, I was worried that it would be a weepy, sad and traumatic story with no light points. I couldn't have been more wrong. I found the book to be written with such compassion and care, and Stella's letters are simply superb. I was in tears at the feelings in some of the letters (that tend to occur at the end of chapters), and laughing at others, which obviously must reflect the various states of mind a person can be in, as they approach their final days. 

The other main lead that we hear a lot about is Hope. Hope is a 21 year old Cystic Fibrosis sufferer. She is only present in the hospice, as she recovers from a bad infection (or as Hope would say, 'she stared at death, and beat it up). At the beginning she is surly, not interested in the world around her, and has a really bad attitude. As the story progresses you see many more sides to her personality, and I loved the story between her and Ben.

At the start of each chapter you get a header telling you who the chapter is focusing on, which is helpful, as it allows you to see a lot more into the lives of many other people, and lets you feel closer to all of them. At the end of the majority of chapters, you get to see one of the letters. All of them will make you stop and think for a minute, and I found myself wondering who I would write such a letter to and what it would contain.

I don't believe that We Are All Made of Stars is the best book that Rowan Coleman has written, but she has written some absolute crackers and it is still an incredibly good story. It is definitely worth all 5 of the stars I am giving it. 

We Are All Made of Stars is a life-affirming, courageous story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.  

Thank you to Ebury Press and Netgalley for a copy of this book. This is my honest review. 

We Are All Made of Stars is out tomorrow, in hardback and ebook, and in paperback later in the year. 

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