The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae — Stephanie Butland

Having really enjoyed Lost For Words, i soon added this, Stephanie’s second book, to ‘The Pile’ — and i’m really glad i did.

A great story about a heart transplant patient who spent the first 28 years of her life dying while first waiting to get onto the transplant queue and then having to wait for a suitable heart, all the while knowing that someone else has to die in order for her to survive.   And then, once she has her new, second hand heart, she then has to learn to live — not live again, but live for the first time.   How does one live a normal life when they’ve never had a normal life?

Mixed into this is the missing father thing, who did a runner when he found out his new born daughter was dying from a defective heart.   Then there’s the ex-boyfriend, dying from liver failure due to hepatitis, also needing for a transplant to save his life; the celebrity actor who needs a cornea transplant to save his eye; and plenty more besides, crammed perfectly into this little book.

What’s also good about this book is how Stephanie has brought the world of blogging into the story.   The story is half told through Ailsa’s blog posts which are interspersed throughout, which gives Ailsa’s character a much more genuine feel.

Here we are in a world crammed with social media, blogs, vlogs, posts, comments, polls, flame bait, click bait, trolls, likes, dislikes, etc., and i’m surprised to not find more books using these styles of communication within their narratives.   I think a lot of writers are a little worried to jump into this new way that humans have found expressing themselves, but Stephanie certainly got it right with Ailsa, and i hope to read more of this kind of story telling in the future.

And, just like Lost For Words, Stephanie throws in a nice little romance thing, and just like Lost For Words, i felt it was just the right amount for the story and never overdone.

So, my final view is that Stephanie is a really good writer and this book is really good.   Stephanie jumps bravely into the deep end of transplant issues and swims amazingly well bringing out the real issues being faced by all sides, donors, recipients, families, friends, life before, life after and other things besides.   And Stephanie manages to package all this into a really good, well written story.   It’s well worth a read.

I find Stephanie’s writing similar to Ruth Hogan’s, so if you like Ruth’s books then i’m sure you’ll enjoy Stephanie’s just as much, and vice versa too.

Stephanie’s Page

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