Review: The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

Posted February 12, 2013 by in Book Reviews / 12 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Promise of Stardust by Priscille SibleyThe Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Published by William Morrow on February 5, 2013
Genres: Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432
Source: the publisher

Goodreads | Amazon

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 he convinced her to marry him. Now in their late 30s, the deeply devoted couple has everything--except the baby they've always wanted.

When an accident leaves Elle brain dead, Matt is devastated. Though he cannot bear the thought of life without her, he knows Elle was afraid of only one thing--a slow death. And so, Matt resolves to take her off life support.

But Matt changes his mind when they discover Elle's pregnant. While there are no certainties, the baby might survive if Elle remains on life support. Matt's mother, Linney, disagrees with his decision. She loves Elle, too, and insists that Elle would never want to be kept alive on machines. Linney is prepared to fight her son in court--armed with Elle's living will.

Divided by the love they share, Matt and Linney will be pitted against each other, fighting for what they believe is right, and what they think Elle would have wanted resulting in a controversial legal battle that will ultimately go beyond one family...and one single life.

(from Goodreads)

The Promise of Stardust reads like a Lifetime movie in print (I wouldn’t be surprised if it shows up as a movie at some point). This is not necessarily a bad thing, although I personally am not into watching Lifetime movies. I like a good melodrama, but I don’t enjoy mediocre melodramas that rely strictly on heartstring-tugging to keep people reading/watching. That’s…cheap.

Okay. Let me back up a bit. I read The Promise of Stardust for BOOK CLUB, hosted by Jen and Nicole (of Devourer of Books and Linus’s Blanket, respectively). It’s not a book I would have read otherwise, but I really enjoy the discussions we have in this book club and I think reading books outside of my comfort zone once in a while is good for me. So I saw The Promise of Stardust offered for BOOK CLUB, read the brief synopsis, and signed up…then immediately forgot what the book is about, apparently.

I sat down to read it a few weeks ago, and these were my reactions while reading the first two chapters:

Chapter One:

*gasp, cry* ‘Why am I crying over the first chapter?!’

Chapter Two:

‘Hmmm…how is she going to draw this out, I wonder? Wait a minute…WHAT THE…oh, shit. What the hell?!’

Yeah. I had NO IDEA where the story was going when I started it (even though I know I read the synopsis at some point). Then I just got all grumbly and angry…then sympathetic to the character I was originally angry with…then angry with a different character…then acceptance (kind of)…but still slightly grumbly overall.

I’m not going to go into specifics about my feelings on the subject matter. It’s too divisive and it probably doesn’t belong in this post. So here’s what I think of the book in general:

It’s definitely a conversation starter. It’s definitely thought-provoking. It will make for good book club discussions as long as book club members can discuss it without getting angry with one another for their potentially opposing views (seriously, I can see real arguments breaking out over the subject matter, depending on the group).

The writing itself is pretty good, but the story is mediocre–there is lots of repetition of opinions and ideas. The book could have been shorter without compromising the storyline. I think both viewpoints are supposed to be equally represented in the story, but one viewpoint seemed much more heavy-handed than the other. Lots of heartstring-tugging and the need to read a relatively acceptable outcome, not much suspense or interest in the story itself, unfortunately.

And everyone lived happily ever after…which would normally annoy me in this type of book, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way for this particular book. A different ending would have made me throw the book across the room.

For me, The Promise of Stardust is a “just okay” kind of book.

I feel like I’m being too harsh, but it all comes down to personal reading preferences. I’ve seen more than a few gushing reviews, and some that are harsher than mine. If you like to feel ALL THE EMOTIONS when you’re reading–and if you’re not super nitpicky (like I am) about books of this sort having a great storyline, too–then you’ll like The Promise of Stardust. Again, it would make a great book for book club discussions.


  • It does sound very lifetime-like (and you’re right, it probably will turn into one) but that isn’t always bad. The storyline sounds interesting, and so are your reactions to the first chapters, so I’ll just let this book find me instead of me searching for it. And if it finds me, I’ll read it.

    • I’d be happy to pass it on to you, if you’d like to read it. Email me your address if you’re interested. 🙂

  • jenn aka the picky girl

    I’d probably be more judge-y if you HAD raved about it. Just doesn’t sound like you. Or me, for that matter. Like you said, how could you write that story and not intend to make people cry?

    I feel that, to a lesser degree, about Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I enjoyed it, but I also gave it the side eye when I was tearing up, thinking: Really? I hate feeling conflicted about a book like that.

    • I’m all for a good cry now and then–I’m pretty empathetic so it happens…but make it worth my while, ya know? Work for it. Haha!

  • You’d better watch it you’re turning into me. I do love going into a book blind. I mean I purchased it so there should be a good chance I like it why ruin the suspense by reading the synopsis before! And bonus points for reading outside comfort zones.

    • I don’t always go in totally blind like this. Haha! But I do try to read as little as possible about a book before I read it (unless there’s something about the book or the author that I should know in order to fully “get it”).

  • Heather, this is a frank and fair review. Judging from your reactions to chapters 1 and 2, it may not be so bad a read at least for me. I do like melodrama. 🙂 But then, the length might put me off since these days I find it difficult to sustain my reading for longer periods.

    • It wasn’t a terrible book–it had its merits. I think it just wasn’t for me…or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.

  • It sounds like something along the lines of Jodi Picoult. I’ve read a couple of hers and … I’m not quite sure what it is about them because they are engrossing reads, they are thought-provoking and yet, they annoy me a bit. The synopsis always sounds amazing – but maybe it’s a lack of depth in the writing that bugs me. It sounds like it’s the same problem with this one.

    • That’s a very good way to describe it–a lack of depth in the writing. Plot good, thought-provoking…writing is meh.

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