Publication Date: 5th February 2013 (1st published Jan 2013)
Book Source: Own purchase
Synopsis: 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 they wed. Now in their late thirties, the deeply devoted couple has everything—except the baby they've always wanted.
When a tragic accident leaves Elle brain-dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear losing her, he knows his wife, a thoughtful and adventurous scientist, feared only one thing—a slow death. Just before Matt agrees to remove Elle from life support, the doctors discover that she is pregnant. Now what was once a clear-cut decision becomes an impossible choice. Matt knows how much this child would have meant to Elle. While there is no certainty her body can sustain the pregnancy, he is sure Elle would want the baby to have a chance. Linney, Matt's mother, believes her son is blind with denial. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive by artificial means, no matter what the situation.
Divided by the love they share, driven by principle, Matt and Linney fight for what each believes is right, and the result is a disagreement that escalates into a controversial legal battle, ultimately going beyond one family and one single life.
The Promise of Stardust was so intensely emotional there were times I could barely breathe! It's a story of unconditional love and heartbreaking decisions.
Moral, ethical, medico-legal issues are covered in a blend of harsh reality and sensitivity. These are issues that are inherently divisive and deeply emotive. What's even sadder is that though fiction The Promise of Stardust isn't that far removed from reality ... I'm sure many of you followed Marlise Muñoz recent tragic story, it made the news in Australia and broke my heart.
As I mentioned in my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, I have firm beliefs in our right to die with dignity but the heartache of premature birth, neonatal death and infertility issues would have me ensuring my advanced health directive covered every possible eventuality. An action that would probably do me very little good in some 12 US states ...
As heartbreaking as it was I enjoyed the nursing/medical side of the story, the legal ramifications were morbidly fascinating and the flashbacks gave insight to Elle's character and Matt and Elle's love story. It's not a faultless story and it wasn't about agreeing or disagreeing with the decisions and actions of Matt or his mother Linney, for me it was just about sitting with the emotion.
Advanced health directives, living wills, enduring power of attorney, the importance of updating these documents and letting loved ones know your wishes as the years pass and circumstances change ... all to often our good intentions are put off for another day.
A stunning, emotionally wrenching, beautifully written debut. Priscille Sibley is an author to watch out for and I keenly await whatever's next.
Connect with Priscille Sibley