The Promise of Stardust

( 77 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sibley's debut dissects the ethics of a patient's right to die with dignity as a family is torn by a decision to terminate life support. Neurosurgeon Matt Beaulieu finally marries the love of his life, astrophysicist Elle McClure, having known her since he was two years old. After several miscarriages, the couple give up on the idea of having a baby, but when Elle falls and suffers severe head trauma, Matt's life falls completely apart. He knows her biggest fear was to die on life support, as her mother did. During preparations to remove her from life support, it's discovered that she is pregnant and if she remains connected she could potentially carry the fetus to term. Matt decides her desire to have a child would supersede her fear of life support, but his own mother takes him to court as executor of Elle's living will. Jake Sutter, Matt's college roommate, takes the case, using Matt's personal dilemma to serve his own prolife political agenda. The family's anguish is agonizing, each member doing what they believe to be Elle's desire or in her best interest, and while the ending is predictable, the journey is heartrending and tragic. Agent: Laney Katz Becker, Markson Thoma Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Booklist
Sibley does a wonderful job of exploring a complex and controversial moral issue, skillfully giving both sides of the story…. This is a gripping, thoughtful, heart-wrenching, and well-written debut that would be a great discussion vehicle for certain book groups.
Library Journal
Elle is brain dead, and shattered husband Matt is about to pull the plug when he learns that she is pregnant. But Matt's own mother is ready to take him to court to assure that Elle is removed from life support, which she insists Elle would have wanted. Great book club choice; with a 100,000-copy first printing.
Kirkus Reviews
Personal tragedy becomes an ethical and legal quandary in Sibley's debut literary fiction. Dr. Matt Beaulieu is a Maine neurosurgeon. His college professor wife, Elle McClure, was once a hero astronaut. Matt and Elle grew up as neighbors, their two families intertwined into one. Now, they are best friends and blissfully in love, their marriage marred only by repeated miscarriages. One summer morning, Matt is off to work and Elle is off to help her acrophobic brother clean windows. She falls from a ladder and strikes her head. Emergency surgery reveals "subarachnoid bleeding and shearing." But then during a trauma work-up to declare brain death, which would allow the devastated Matt to cease extraordinary care, Elle is discovered to be pregnant. Realizing a piece of Elle might live on, Matt enters a legal whirlwind. It seems Matt's mother, Linney, holds Elle's advanced care directive. As a teen, Elle had signed the directive after her own mother died slowly and painfully from cancer. Linney, an obstetrical nurse, wants to follow Elle's directive to the letter. "It's just wrong to keep her in this state, as an incubator for something that isn't even a baby yet." Enter Jake Sutter, attorney, Matt's college roommate, and incidentally, a pro-life advocate. The media circus begins, growing even more twisted when another advanced care directive is brought forth by Dr. Adam Cunningham, a NASA scientist with whom Elle had lived when she and Matt were estranged. While the novel is a fictionalized Schiavo-like intrafamily moral war, Sibley ups the ethical stakes by interweaving pregnancy with end-of-life issues. Characters are well-drawn, although the arrogant vindictiveness of Cunningham may be overblown. While she does take the easy way out regarding the end-of-life question, Sibley translates medical and legal issues solidly, bringing both emotion and reason into an examination of our collective failure to agree upon when life begins and ends. A literate and incandescent Nicholas Sparks-like love story complicated by intense moral and ethical questions.
Booklist
“Sibley does a wonderful job of exploring a complex and controversial moral issue, skillfully giving both sides of the story…. This is a gripping, thoughtful, heart-wrenching, and well-written debut that would be a great discussion vehicle for certain book groups.”
Jacquelyn Mitchard
“I read this first novel two times. The first time, I was intrigued. The second time, I felt privileged to share in such an amazing story.”
Catherine McKenzie
“In The Promise of Stardust Sibley explores an ethical dilemma in a way that might lead you to question your own beliefs. Woven with elegance through a twenty-year love story, the novel takes numerous twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages.”
Katrina Kittle
“I loved this book. Priscille Sibley manages a delicate and brave balance with this gripping novel.”
--Patricia Harman CNM
“The Promise of Stardust is a story about love and sacrifice, conflict and hope. I couldn’t put it down and when I open it next time, I’ll read it more slowly. Highly recommended. A winner!”
Kristina Riggle
“The Promise of Stardust is a riveting story of a family ripped apart by an impossible choice. You will live these characters’ lives like they are your own, and race through the pages of this engrossing, deeply moving novel.”
CNM - Patricia Harman
"The Promise of Stardust is a story about love and sacrifice, conflict and hope. I couldn’t put it down and when I open it next time, I’ll read it more slowly. Highly recommended. A winner!"
—Patricia Harman CNM
“The Promise of Stardust is a story about love and sacrifice, conflict and hope. I couldn’t put it down and when I open it next time, I’ll read it more slowly. Highly recommended. A winner!”
Jacqueline Sheehan
“Sibley wrestles with the most complex medical ethics in our time and gives us characters who will stay with us long after the last page. She is a skilled story teller.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062194176
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/5/2013
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 399
  • Sales rank: 127,857
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 77 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(60)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 77 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Love

    I don't usually write reviews but I felt I had to for this book. It was very well written with such a unique story line. I truly enjoyed this novel, and after reading a little about the author and her background I became even more intrigued. A nurse writing about a medical controversy, I wish more books had that much depth of knowledge behind them.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2013

    When I read the inside cover I goosebumps, so I took this as a s

    When I read the inside cover I goosebumps, so I took this as a sign that this was a book for me.  I am happy that I listened to my instinct.  i was afraid the book would be too "medical" & that the story would only happen in the hospital setting.  I am so happy that I chose this book and I will recommend it to all of my friends!!!  WONDERFUL!!!!!  

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    Great Book

    Couldn't put this one down, a book worth talking about while you are reading. So many decisions going on between the main character and the decision's he has to make. Makes you think about life. Would read it again.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 10, 2013

    Could not put it down. Highly Recommended!!! This book makes yo

    Could not put it down. Highly Recommended!!!

    This book makes you never take a day for granted. I absolutely loved this book, a definate page turner, filled w/ indescribable love, and moral dilemas. I was in awe of this book, totally choked me up. I read an average of 3 to 4 books a week and I can honestly say this is by far one of my top 10 fav. I will be keeping an eye out for anything Priscille Sibley writes.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    good,good,good

    This story is a tear jerker for sure. I loved the story and the length.
    don't pass this on up, its very good.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    True Love

    A great book about love; love between a husband and wife, mother and son, father and daughter. When does life begin and end?

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    This book broke my heart, yet lifted it at the same time.

    <3

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    This book was exceptional! I had a hard time putting this book

    This book was exceptional! I had a hard time putting this book down. I live in North Dakota and with the new abortion bills and reading this book, it makes one think! Something so simple is so very complicated! It left me thinking even after I was finished reading it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 8, 2013

    Beautiful story, it is a book I would recommend to anyone young

    Beautiful story, it is a book I would recommend to anyone young or old.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Wonderful!

    The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley...if you like a book with twists and turns, and something to make you think...READ IT. Reminds me a little of Jodi Picoult, but a little less intense. I was actually holding my breath in the last chapter. Big fan!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

    Wow

    This was a great novel, very compelling, I would definitely recommend people to read this

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2013

    Good

    Very goid book, although i was very disappointed that pages were missing at the end that ruined it for me. I dont know how it ended. Of course bn wont make good on it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Outstanding!

    This book was recommended to me on Goodreads by a friend and I'm not quite sure how to thank her. Having experienced the heartache of a sudden illness resulting in brain death and having helped make the decision to withdraw life support only 5 months ago, I wasn't sure I could even read this novel at first. I can say that I shed quite a few tears during the reading and I could hear the hospital in my mind more easily than I wanted to, but that is the mark of a great author.
    The similarities between my experience and the novel were limited but the bottom line questions are very real. I believe that we all need to swallow our fears about incapacity and death and make our decisions early and make them known, legally if at all possible, so that we can spare our loved ones from the horrible "what if" scenarios. The conversations are not easy, but they are necessary and this novel highlighted one that I had not thought of previously but will be having with my 18 year old daughter... because someday she will probably get married and have children and I don't want to wonder what she would want if she were in Elle's situation.
    I don't like to reveal much about a novel when reviewing it because I think that discovering the details is the best part of the reading experience so I'll end by saying that this was a phenominal, emotional read with wonderful, human and engaging characters that I find myself thinking about after the last page has been turned. I highly recommend this novel and eagerly await another from this author.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Promise Of Stardust is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's

    The Promise Of Stardust is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2013

    This book is heart wrenching. There are no easy parts. Sibley pl

    This book is heart wrenching. There are no easy parts. Sibley places chapters throughout the book that chronicle the relationship between Matt and Elle as they grow up, and that makes it ten times worse for the reader because you get to see this beautiful and destined love blossom, only to be forced to remember what waits for them at the end. The journey that you will take with Matt is one of the most difficult literary experiences you will face. As a debut novel, this is brilliant. Sibley, a neonatal intensive care nurse, sees plenty of joyous and heartbreaking situations and you can see how much of herself she puts in this story. Read it. Cry. Hug your loved ones. And don't take anything for granted.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2013

    I have never written a review but this book needs to be read.  I

    I have never written a review but this book needs to be read.  I felt he love the husband had for his wife through the whole book; i couldn't even put it down.  The last 15 pages had me sobbing.  It is by far the best book I have ever read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2013

    Awesome book!

    I coud not put this book down. Get your box of kleenex, truly heartfelt story of love and devotion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2013

    One of the best books I have read in some time

    What a great book to read and for book clubs to discuss. The author has done a good job of bringing the characters to life and addressing the moral issue in this book. In some ways it is like a Jodi Picoult book with there being a definite moral issue. There isn't a lot of the research that Jodi is known for. Put this on your wish list or waiting list at your library.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2013

    Great book

    Everyone in our book club enjoyed it. Makes you think.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    Priscille Sibley does a masterful job of grabbing you on the fir

    Priscille Sibley does a masterful job of grabbing you on the first page and holding you to the very end of the book.  She takes an ethical dilemma that challenges, parents, doctors, lawyers, and court systems throughout our country: the rights of an unborn baby when the mother is declared brain dead, and allows her individual characters to struggle with the needs, wants and desires of the comatose victim.  Without taking sides one way or the other, Sibley, challenges the reader to struggle along with the characters of her novel.  Her personal experience as a neo-natal intensive care nurse shines through as she expertly walks us through the physiological aspects of the many challenges to maintain life under these circumstances.  Well worth the read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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