“The Promise Of Stardust” mixed medicine, law, and love to create a deep tale of love and loss. The storyline focused on Matt’s difficult struggle to keep his brain-dead wife, Elle, alive long enough for her to give birth to the baby she is carrying. The emotional legal battle at the heart of the story reminded me of “My Sister’s Keeper”, and Elle and Matt’s love story reminded me of the passion present in “The Notebook.” Matt was convinced that his wife would want to be kept alive to give birth since she desperately wanted children. But Matt’s mother claimed that after Elle watched her mother’s slow death, Elle specifically requested that life saving measures not be used on her. Both Matt and his mother claim they are doing what Elle would have wanted, but soon the contrasting opinions require judicial intervention.
The Pro-Life groups immediately supported Matt’s decision, making him an unwilling spokesperson for the rights of the unborn. It took me most of the book to figure out how I felt about the events transpiring. I was really torn between whether medical treatment should be used to keep a brain-dead woman alive so she could give birth. What Sibley did so well was create a story that constantly provided contradicting information about Elle and her relationship with Matt that supported both keeping Elle alive, and then also not. In the end, Sibley provided enough justification for the ultimate decision, and I found myself agreeing with it even though it was the opposite of my initial feelings. The novel moved from the present to the past, where the complex relationship between Elle and Matt was revealed. The strong writing was enhanced with characters and events that seemed realistic because they were so honest. The medical aspect of the novel did not overpower the story, and all of the procedures and terms were described simply enough that readers not in the medical field could still follow what was happening. I was less impressed with the legal procedures, which seemed a little off to me and were discussed at a very basic level. I wanted a heavier discussion! This was my only negative with the book, which was very minor.
This was an amazing novel and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a serious love story set against an equally serious topic.