Review: 'We Are All Made of Stars' by Rowan Coleman (2016)
Stella Carey has good reason to only work nights at the hospice where she is a nurse. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, Stella leaves the house each night as her husband Vincent, locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
During her nights at the hospice, Stella writes letters for her patients containing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings – from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent – and usually she delivers each letter to the recipient he or she has died.
That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time to give her patient one final chance of redemption…
One of the first novels I reviewed for this blog was Rowan Coleman’s ‘The Home for Broken Hearts’ and that’s something I always think of when I am about to read another novel by this author. I remember searching for a great chick lit novel to start my blog with and I really enjoyed Rowan’s novel, so decided it would be a good book to kick things off with. And here we are now, several years and many, many reviews later and I’m once again standing here with a Rowan Coleman novel in my hands! I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of ‘We Are All Made of Stars’, which was released in paperback format on January 28th by Ebury Press. I had heard many positive things about this book already, including some warnings that I would need to keep a box of tissues ready, just in case. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to check out this Rowan Coleman read!
Stella Carey used to work as a trauma nurse, a job she loved. However, after her husband Vincent came back from Afghanistan badly injured, things haven’t been the same between them and especially the long nights can be challenging. Because of this, Stella switched jobs and now works the night shift at Marie Frances Hospice, a place where people come for their last resting place. In her own way Stella has found something extra she can to help some of the patients, namely by writing letters for them with final words or wishes for their loved ones. Usually Stella makes sure the letters are sent after the patient has passed away, but with her latest letter Stella can’t help but feel the urge to deliver the letter as soon as possible, in the hope of fixing what might at first seem unfixable…
‘We Are All Made of Stars’ is a touching and simply stunning read that really managed to tug at my heart strings. Rowan Coleman is a great author and her engrossing writing style really turned this novel into the beautiful read it is. The story is told from the point of view of several characters, namely Stella (who works as a nurse in a hospice and is married to war veteran Vincent), Hope (a 21-year-old with Cystic Fibrosis who finds it difficult to deal with the fact that she has no idea how long she still has to live), and Hugh (a historian who likes to hide away from the world). These three different storylines were all really captivating and I was fascinated by all characters, wanting to continue on reading to see what would eventually happen to all of them. The storylines were also all connected to one another in a specific way, which was really well done by the author.
Next to the chapters with various perspectives, there is a whole collection of letters in the novel; letters Stella has written including the last thoughts and wishes from many of her patients. I loved these letters; they formed a great combination of humour and sadness and really added a special feel to the novel as a whole. When I discovered the setting of this book I was afraid the novel would be really sad, but Rowan Coleman really managed to turn it into something special; a book that definitely brought tears to my eyes, but also made me smile and feel hopeful. Fans of authors such as Amanda Prowse definitely will not regret picking up this book, I’m sure; ‘We Are All Made of Stars’ is a touching, emotional and beautifully-written story and a novel that has made me fall once again just a bit more in love with Rowan Coleman.