Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
William Morrow Paperbacks
February 2013
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Source: Personal copy

Matt Beaulieu was two years old the first time he held Elle McClure in his arms, seventeen when he first kissed her under a sky filled with shooting stars, and thirty-three when he convinced her to marry him. Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything-except the baby they've always wanted.

When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing-a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.

But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle's pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt's mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court-armed with Elle's living will.

Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family . . . and one single life.

My thoughts: I was on the fence about reading this book as I felt that the subject matter might hit a little close to home being that I have struggled with trying to get pregnant myself for a few years. But, after getting the opportunity to meet Priscille Sibley at the Princeton Library this past June and hear her talk about the book, I knew it would be a good story. What I didn't know was just how powerful and touching it would be.

This is the type of book that definitely makes you think...what would you do if you were to find yourself in Matt's position? If you knew your spouse would not want to have life-saving measures taken if there was no possibility of a normal life, would you respect their wishes? Matt is ready to do that after his wife, Linney, suffers a head injury, but is halted when he realizes that despite their years of trying to get pregnant and history of miscarriages, Linney is pregnant. How can he take away the one thing she wanted most in the world? Even if she won't be there to see their child grow up, he knows she would want to be kept alive until the baby is born. Unfortunately, others do not see it his way, mainly his own mother and a man from Linney's past.

What ensues is a struggle to have the right to say what Linney would want. As the story enfolds, we find out the long history between Matt and Linney's families and why Matt's mom is fighting against him. It is a fight that wrenches the heartstrings and causes you to realize just how important it is to have those pertinent documents (living wills, health care proxies, etc) set up for all possibilities.

I loved this story - it was a powerful, heartwrenching, emotional tale that will stay with me always. I had tears streaming down my face as I reached the end of the book - so much so that I had to reread it after I finished my crying jag. It's simply a beautiful story of love.



  1. This does sound like a really amazing and heartbreaking story and I definitely want to read it. I think it would make a great book for discussion too.

    1. My aunt read it for her book club and found it be perfect for discussion. Hope you get a chance to read it.

  2. This doesn't sound like my sort of book - I'm not big on sadness or contemporary issues - but I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. This is definitely one of my favorite reads of the year!


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