Do not miss me, because I will always be with you...I am the air, the moon, the stars. For we are all made of stars, my beloved. Wherever you look, I will be there.
Stella Carey exists in a world of night. Married to a war veteran who has returned from Afghanistan brutally injured, she leaves the house each night as Vincent locks himself away, unable to sleep due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. During her nursing shifts, Stella writes letters for her patients, detailing their final wishes, thoughts and feelings - from how to use a washing machine, to advice on how to be a good parent - and posts them after their death. That is until Stella writes one letter that she feels compelled to deliver in time, to give her patient one final chance of redemption...
Rowan Coleman is a writer with not just a gift for storytelling, but a gift for connecting on every level with the reader, sending a myriad of emotions; laughter, love and so many tears.
As I started to read I knew I was blessed with this being 'one of those books', the ones that will stay with you for a very long time if not ever, and you will rush to recommend to your friends; as I am doing to you all now. If you read one book this year - make it this one. It is a book that is not just words.
I loved Stella's character, quietly fulfilling so many patients last wishes while all the time facing the heartbreak that her husband's injury had brought to their marriage. I also loved the character of Hope, a young girl with Cystic Fibrosis, brought into the Marie Francis hospice after a nearly deadly chest infection to give her rest and relaxation to recover. You felt the struggle that not only being young brings, but the axe that hung over her head of a life limiting illness and the ramifications to her friends and family.
I really hope that I'm not portraying this book to be morbid and maudlin, because as much as it is sad in places, it really isn't a book that will have you heading to the nearest bottle of gin. It's written in such a positive way that the end, death, the journey, whichever way you look at it it will make you think.
And lastly Hugh, lovely Hugh. Read it and find out why!
ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.