As a librarian I try to read a variety of genre so I can suggest authors for patrons. Sometimes I may only do a five minute quick read to become acquainted with the author’s work and sometimes I will find something that I want to read personally. For the past several months I have been struggling with finding a book that grabs me, reels me in and keeps me reading to the very end. I have tried recommendations from booklists, friends, co-workers and patrons. I have found two.
They are both romance novels but not in the sense of boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl live happily ever after like Sophia Kinsella, Kate McAlister or Jennifer Cruise. These novels are similar to Nicholas Sparks and Jodie Picoult’s novels. In both, the characters must grapple with some tough life choices and things may not turn out like they had wanted them to. In both, the authors do a good job of developing the character going back and forth from the past to the present.
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
The Promise of Stardust is a first novel for Priscille Sibley. Dr. Matt Beaulieu, a neurosurgeon in Maine and his college professor wife Elle McClure, once a hero astronaut, grew up as neighbors and supported each other in rough times. After high school and college their life took different paths and eventually they found each other again. Now they are best friends, happily married and trying to get pregnant.
One summer morning, Matt is off to work and Elle goes off to help her brother clean windows. She falls off the ladder and strikes her head which places her in the emergency room and on life support. Elle’s directive, signed years earlier, was never to be put on life support. But when it is discovered that Elle is pregnant, Matt realizes that a piece of Elle could live on. Matt enters a legal whirlwind where the moral and ethical issues of when does life begin and keeping someone alive on life support are played out with family members taking sides.
Will Traynor, is a man who always lived life to his fullest. He took risks in sports, business and travel and he had been successful. On a dark, rainy morning in London while trying to get a taxi to take him to the office and fully engaged in a conversation on his Blackberry Will does not see the car coming at him in time to get out of the way. Receiving severe spinal injuries Will is confined to life in a wheelchair, a life that he finds hard to embrace. Will has tried to end his life and plans to try assisted dying but has promised his parents that he will wait six months before doing anything. Will’s parents place an ad for someone to care for Will in hopes that they will show him that there are still good things in life for him.
That person is Louisa Clark who has just lost her job at a local restaurant. Louisa is content on staying in her small town, marrying her boyfriend of seven years and living in her sister’s shadow. When Louisa begins to look for another job she applies for a position as a caretaker for Will Traynor Will is bossy, moody and doesn’t want anyone’s pity. Louisa is determined to show Will that life is worth living even if it means letting him think that he’s doing it for her. Her plans include taking Will to the races, theater, on walks around the castle and even to an island resort where they both realize that they have fallen in love with each other. But loving someone sometimes means accepting another’s decision, even if you don’t agree with it.