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The Promise of Stardust: A Novel

The Promise of Stardust: A Novel

Escrito por Priscille Sibley

Narrado por George Newbern


The Promise of Stardust: A Novel

Escrito por Priscille Sibley

Narrado por George Newbern

valoraciones:
4.5/5 (23 valoraciones)
Longitud:
10 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Jun 11, 2013
ISBN:
9780062293527
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Descripción

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.

Told with sensitivity and compassion, The Promise of Stardust is an emotionally resonant and thought-provoking tale that raises profound questions about life and death, faith and medicine-and illuminates, with beauty and grace, the power of love to wound . . . and to heal.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Jun 11, 2013
ISBN:
9780062293527
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Sobre el autor

Priscille Sibley is a neonatal intensive care nurse who lives in New Jersey with her husband and three teenage sons. Her short fiction has appeared in MiPoesias and her poetry in The Shine Journal. She is a member of Backspace Writers Forum and Liberty State Fiction Writers. The Promise of Stardust is her first novel.

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  • (4/5)
    I would highly recommend this book This is not just a love story but a book about emotional struggles between family members. Matt and his wife want a child desperatley and wheen Elle dies Matt finds himself in a position on whether to keep her on life support against her wishes.
  • (5/5)
    Such an interesting topic. How do you choose between a person's wishes and the potential life of a child? This book showed both viewpoints and the struggle that no one should ever have to go through very well. I thought the characters past experiences were presented beautifully to integrate with the current situation.
  • (5/5)
    THE PROMISE OF STARDUST is more than just a love story. It is also a story of conflict with family members, as well as with oneself. When Matt Beaulieu decides to keep his wife Elle, who had a terrible accident and was pronounced brain dead, on life support knowing that she would not want to be kept alive indefinitely but also confident she would want the baby she’s carrying to have a chance at life, he faces family members and the community who think she should be allowed to die peacefully. Believing as Elle did in the right to die with dignity and also in the baby’s right to live, left me in a quandary. How did I want it to end? I couldn't have it both ways. What would you do? The characters and story were remarkably believable. Priscille Sibley knows how to write a story to hold your interest, even after you’ve finished the book. I highly recommend THE PROMISE OF STARDUST. I couldn’t put it down.
  • (4/5)
    Do you have a living will or an advanced directive? Do you know the difference? Do your loved ones know what your wishes are? Have you covered any and all possible scenarios with them? If you've chosen to not be kept alive by artificial means, is there anything that could possibly negate that wish? That question is at the heart of Priscille Sibley's beautiful and heart-wrenching debut novel The Promise of Stardust.Matt and Elle have known each other their whole lives. They grew up next door to each other and were family long before they married. They know each other inside and out having weathered the tragedy of losing Elle's mother to cancer when they were just teenagers in love, again when Elle's previously undiagnosed medical condition causes her to miscarry several desparately wanted pregnancies, and most recently when their son was stillborn. Their relationship and devotion to each other has been tested by fire and it hasn't always stayed constant, with the two of them going their own ways for almost a decade before finding their ay back to each other. But by the time the novel opens, they have been married for five years and are clearly soul mates. Matt is a respected neurologist and Elle (nicknamed Peep) is a college professor and celebrated former astronaut and they have a pretty good life in the Maine town in which they grew up. Their one overwhelming heartbreak is their inability to have a child. When the novel opens, Matt gets called to the ER because Elle has been injured in a freak accident. As a neurologist, it is immediately clear to him that she has suffered a terrible trauma falling from a ladder and hitting her head on a rock and she's brain damaged. After an operation to try and save her, she is undoubtedly brain dead and Matt makes the difficult and heart-rending decision to remove her from life support. But before that happens, Elle's doctor tells him that she is pregnant, only 8 weeks, but pregnant nonetheless. When an ultrasound shows that Elle's brain death doesn't seem to have affected the fetus, everything changes for Matt. He knows that her greatest fear in life is to be kept alive in a vegetative state, especially after she witnessed the slow, terrible, and painful death her mother suffered, comatose in the end but still obviously in pain. But he also believes that she would have given her very life to have a baby and so as long as there is even the most remote of chances to bring the baby to viability, he is certain she'd want to be kept alive by any means possible. And so he changes his mind about life support, desperate to give the baby a chance, to give Elle's baby a chance, and to give himself a reason to go on living. Matt's mother Linney, a labor and delivery nurse, and her younger brother Christopher, whom she mothered even as their own mother was dying, both disagree with Matt's decision, arguing that Elle would never, under any circumstances want to be kept alive like this. And Linney feels so strongly about it that she is willing to take her own son to court over it, showing that 18 year old Elle drafted an advanced directive giving Linney the power to make her health care decisions so that she would never end her days the way her own mother did. Matt is unable to convince his mother that since Elle is brain dead and feels no pain that she would want to do everything in her power to give their baby a fighting chance. With the court case and Elle's added notoriety as an heroic astronaut, the case becomes a media circus and a locus for the right-to-life movement. Matt does not want to use his private struggle to to further a public political agenda he doesn't even agree with and which is only tangentially related to what is actually going on in the fight over whether to keep Elle alive or not, but the situation is a lightning rod anyway. The tragedy of losing Elle is not the only tragedy in the book, there is also the tearing apart of a close-knit and loving family because each of the characters is convinced that he or she knows what Elle would want, even in such a totally unfathomable situation. The story is told in the present as the accident occurs and the court case moves forward but Sibley also adeptly uses flashbacks to give the reader the long and deep history of Matt and Elle, who they are now and the forces that shaped them into those people. Matt tells the story of his greatest heartbreak, losing the wife he loves more than life, but he gives Elle a voice as well, reading snippets from the journals she kept religiously. In recalling conversations with her and reading her journals, he is certain that he knows Elle's mind, can accurately predict what she would have chosen to do, and that in fighting to keep her alive for the baby's sake he is doing the right thing. Since the narrative is not told from Linney's perspective, there's no way to gauge why she believes equally adamantly that this is the wrong thing, the reader can only know Matt's assertion that his mother is unequivocably wrong. The book and the many issues it raises are incredibly emotional ones and Sibley definitely tugs at the heart strings. The end was never really in doubt although there are some unexpected twists to get there and that generally made for a stronger plot overall. There were some incongruous bits (Elle's brother raging at Matt for getting Elle pregnant again as if it was all Matt's fault alone, as if Christopher actually got to have input, or that it was any of his business in the first place as well as the reappearance of Elle's ex-boyfriend and his fight to discontinue Elle's life support) that detracted a bit from the story. And the secondary characters, perhaps because of the narration perspective, came off as flat and one dimensional. But Matt and Elle's love story was well done and lovely and the grief and shock Matt was in, fluctuating from anger to despair and back again, felt authentic. This is exactly the sort of book that would be perfect for book clubs, packed with controversial issues and the idea of the intersection of private and public.
  • (5/5)
    Quite possibly one of the best books I have read in a long time! The Promise of Stardust grabs you from the first page. It is an emotional read about what one would do in unforeseeable circumstances. There are many characters invested in the outcome and you find yourself relating to all the characters and their point of view. I am almost beyond words about how much I enjoyed this book. The characters were so well developed and the story so tense and compelling that I almost jumped ahead to see how it turned out. I did not do that and instead embarked on the emotional roller coaster of hope, sadness, promise, opposing forces and love in various forms! This is a novel not to be missed. I cannot wait to read more by Sibley! I highly recommend this book and rate it 5 stars!
  • (4/5)
    This was a complicated read. It turned into so much more than the sum of its synopsis and I'm not sure I liked the insertion of the public into the personal. I suppose I should have expected it when the subject has anything to do with life support and fetuses. The world comes knocking nowadays even when these decisions should remain personal and private.The Promise of Stardust revolves around Elle, a retired astronaut, now professor living in Maine. She and her husband Matt have been trying to have children but she has had several miscarriages. The reader learns the story of their love through a series of flashbacks and in Matt's reading of her diary combing for clues as to her thoughts on abortion. Why is he doing this? Because Elle has had a catastrophic brain injury but just as the plug was about to be pulled Matt has learned she is pregnant. He feels she would want to do ANYTHING to give the child a chance at life while others, including his own mother feel she would not want to be kept alive on machines. Matt is in full agreement on that - except for the baby. His mother brings suit to pull the plug and Matt counter-sues - hence the search of her diaries.I LOVED this book when it told the story of Matt and Elle. It was heartrending, it was beautiful, it was a love story. Matt is a complicated character who was dealing with a situation none of us ever want to face. He knew that the thing Elle feared the most was a slow death but he also knew the thing she wanted the most was a child. His mother saw only Elle's desire to not be hooked up to machines due to the way her mother died. Matt could not seem to get across that Elle's mother died in pain from cancer but that Elle was feeling nothing.Due to the presence of the baby the case draws national attention and it becomes a battle between pro life forces and right to die people and any other group that might have a stake. This is the part that I didn't care for. The politics. While not heavy handed, I didn't sign on for a political discussion - although in this day and age as I stated above no one can do anything in private any longer.There are a number of twists and turns one of them being an old boyfriend of Elle's whose presence and interference just doesn't make sense. He is not likable nor should his opinion hold as much weight as it does.The Promise of Stardust is a thought provoking book. With the one exception mentioned, the main characters are well developed. I was looking for more interplay from both Matt's and Elle's siblings - it was as if they disappeared once introduced - but overall I was glad I read the book. It made me think and it provided hope.
  • (4/5)
    Priscille Sibley's debut novel, The Promise of Stardust, will appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult's novels. Sibley is a nurse who has worked in neonatal intensive cars units and her experiences have informed this emotional, thought-provoking and hopeful book.Matt and Ellie are married and have been unsuccessful in their attempts to have a baby, as Ellie has had a few painful, sad miscarriages. Ellie has a tragic accident and is in a coma, brain dead. What Matt discovers at the hospital is that Ellie is pregnant. he must now consider the life of his unborn child in addition to Ellie's.Matt is a physician, so he understands that Ellie is brain dead, but he also knows in his heart that Ellie would do anything to keep their baby alive. There is an outside chance that they can keep Ellie on life support until their baby can be delivered.Ellie's mother died when she was a teen, wasting away from cancer in front of her family's eyes. It was a painful, long death, one that forever scarred Ellie. She and Matt were neighbors and in love, and Matt and his family helped Ellie and her father and brother through the horrible time. Ellie swore that if she were ever faced with illness like her mother's, she would not want to suffer.Not only did Matt have deal with this, he had to do it publicly. His mother Linney, a nurse who was a second mother to Ellie, knew about Ellie's wishes and disagreed with Matt. She believed Ellie's life support should be removed.The dispute became public, reminiscent of the Terri Shiavo case in Florida years ago. Matt hired a friend from college, a lawyer looking for a test case for a right-to-life issue. Ellie's old boyfriend comes forward with a power of attorney he said Ellie signed naming him. Everyone gets drawn into this, everyone has an opinion.The Promise of Stardust asks you to question right-to-life and right-to-die issues. Is it so black-and-white or are there shades of grey? It will encourage you to discuss your wishes with your spouse and family.While the novel takes on a tough issue, it is also a beautiful love story. Matt and Ellie were destined to be together, even though they went through tough times and spent some years apart. Although Ellie is in a coma, we see her through the eyes of others, in her writings and in flashbacks as the story goes back and forth through time.I had the chance to participate in a Google hangout with Sibley and some other bloggers, and it was a great way to chat with the author and find out where she got the idea for this engrossing, heart-breaking story. Sibley is such an interesting person, I look forward to reading her next book.This is a book that will make your heart hurt and mind question. I fell in love with Matt and Ellie and their tragic love story.
  • (4/5)
    OMG. This novel. It broke.my.heart. It's like a mixture of Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks and the writing is fabulous.I felt so many things while reading this novel and it reminded me of why I'm such an avid reader. This is the type of book I live for. The ones where I have to stay up late reading under the covers, or grab a few more spare minutes. This novel is fast-paced, character driven though completely predictable. It presents an ethical dilemma that forces the reader to think through the issue as if they were the one in the situation. This is my first Priscille Sibley novel but I'm such a fan now.
  • (5/5)
    Dr. Matt Beulieu gets a call from the ER. It is Matt’s wife, Elle. Matt rushes to the emergency room to find that his wife is brain dead. She fell off a ladder and hit her head on a rock. Matt is about to pull the plug when he learns that Elle is pregnant.Matt and Elle dreamed of having a family and have several miscarriages; they never thought they would have a child. Now Matt could have the family that he and Elle dreamed of. Matt makes the choice to keep Elle on life support until she is far enough along for the doctor to deliver their baby. Matt is stopped by a road block. Elle signed papers giving Matt’s mother medical power of attorney. Matt’s mother knows that Elle would not want to be kept on life support and wants to carry out Elle’s wishes and pull the plug. It will be a battle of love and ethics that will have families taking sides. The human aspect of the characters and the story touched my heart. It made me really get in Matt’s corner and cheer him on. Matt fought hard even with it seemed like the odds were against him. I can not imagine what Matt had to go though with Elle. As I was reading this book, I was discussing it with my husband. He was just as intrigued as I was in how this story was progressing and how it would turn out. I don’t want to give anything away in regards to the ending, so all I will say is that I did shed tears. The Promise of Stardust is not only a must read but a must tell everyone about it type of book. I pretty much devoured this book. Watch out as Priscille Sibley is going to be the next big Jodi Picoult. Priscille came out with a huge bang with her first novel. I can not wait to see what is in store next from this author.
  • (5/5)
    Very pleased to receive this book as an early reviewer. A thought-provoking novel, dealing with the morality of medical technology and the thorny question of how far is too far. The main characters are easy to visualize, and no matter which side you agree with, you'll feel some empathy for the other side as well. A very readable and enjoyable first-time effort by this author. I'll be on the lookout for more from her!
  • (4/5)
    This debut novel by Priscille Sibley will be an instant hit with book clubs as soon as it is released in February. I was fortunate to be able to read it early through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. The Promise of Stardust is an emotional roller coaster that you will be tempted to read in one sitting and spoiler- have plenty of Kleenex handy. Matt is a surgeon and his wife, Elle is a retired astronaut. They have known each other most of their lives and have had a happy marriage despite their inability to have children. One day the unthinkable happens as Elle falls off a ladder and goes into a coma from the head trauma. Matt's grief is overwhelming but then he discovers that Elle is pregnant. What follows is a nasty court battle that will tear apart the family as well as test their belief in their faith and in each other. This emotional upheaval reads true and it makes you question what you would do if faced with the same situation.
  • (5/5)
    The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley is a phenomenal novel, and echoing many of the other reviewers, amazing that this is Ms. Sibley's first novel. The novel tells the story of a couple who has known each other their entire lives--families are completely intertwined--who are desperate to have a child. Sadly, Elle, the wife, has an accident and is declared brain dead. Her husband, a surgeon, then discovers that she is pregnant. The novel then tells the struggle Matt goes through, against his own mother, Elle's former boyfriend, and society to keep Elle alive long enough to deliver the baby.This book was extremely well written, full of twists and multiple times I had to put the book down as I was on the subway and didn't want to cry!
  • (3/5)
    Matt Beaulieu is a surgeon and the husband to Elle, an ex-Nasa personnel. She ends up brain dead and he is ready to let her go. Then he finds out she is pregnant with their child. He feels she would want their child to live (as they've lived through numerous miscarriages). His mother happens to disagree. As Elle's mother went through a long painful death, she thinks Elle would despise living on life support. So starts a long legal battle. I feel it was a good premise, just too many people end up getting involved and the ending was too pat.
  • (5/5)
    This was an excellent book, though I must admit I had no idea when I choose it how sad it would really be. If this is truly a first novel I cannot wait for the authors next novel. From the very beginning the characters pull you in and you feel a real connection and concern for their well fair, each and everyone of them. The plot was both believable and fast paced. The story was one that really needed to be told and yet something that one would probably not think about until it is to late to make the choices that really matter. There wasn't anything I did not like about this book. It was a quick read with emotions running high and low. I LOVED this book and would recomend it to anyone. Much praise for Priscille Sibley!
  • (5/5)
    "Women are more than vessels for offspring..." as said by the mother-in-law of Elle, a young pregnant women in a coma! THE PROMISE OF STARDUST is a compelling drama which tries to prove and disprove this statement from the viewpoint of Elle's husband, her father, her mother-in-law, and her ex-fiance. This is very readable, hard to put down story that holds your attention to the very end. I had a few of my own ideas on how it would conclude. But it didn't! So full of possibilities!This is a first novel for PRICILLE SIBLEY. Her experience as an ICU nurse makes this a very credible read as she interprets the medical jargon for all.I would highly recommend this book!
  • (5/5)
    Let me begin by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I agree with other Reviewers, it is hard to believe that this was Priscille Sibley’s first book – it was beautifully written. You really get to know each character and you truly want to understand each role that they play in this novel. I look forward to her future work. I would highly recommend this novel, but I will warn you, it is a hard book to put down.
  • (5/5)
    Received the book from Early Reviewers - it is fantastic!! I can't believe that it is the authors first book. I loved the storyline and the characters. Couldn't put the book down. Will be using it for my book club when it comes out.
  • (5/5)
    I was thrilled to receive this book as an early reviewer. My advise, don't start reading unless you have the time to devote to finishing it before you set it down. From the first few pages you will be invested in the storyline and taking sides with the characters. This book grabs you by the heart in the first few pages and never lets go. Priscille Sibley has set the bar high on her first novel! Engaging plot, endearing characters. Highly recommended.
  • (5/5)
    I was given a wonderful opportunity (by Bookreporter.com and William Morrow books - thank you!) to read and review this book.I was immediately drawn into this book after reading just the first few pages. It reminded me a lot of a Jodi Picoult book: Lone Wolf + The Pact = The Promise of Stardust.It's a love story like none you'll ever read with hope and despair. A young couple working against the odds of their age finally break-up and go their separate ways but when times heals the pain and they are reconnected they have an unlikely opportunity to rekindle what they once had and to start a family. If it were only that easy.This book will make you think about things you never thought of before and you will realize that some things in life should be sacred - that you shouldn't have to fight for what's rightfully yours.One last thing that I feel the need to mention, The Promise of Stardust is Priscille Sibley's FIRST book. I can't believe it. It's written like a pro, not like a novice. Well done Priscille!I highly recommend.