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The Promise of Stardust
Cover of The Promise of Stardust
The Promise of Stardust
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

Priscille Sibley's The Promise of Stardust is a haunting and unforgettable debut novel about life and death and love, set against a moral dilemma that may leave you questioning your own beliefs.

Matt Beaulieu has loved Elle McClure since he was two years old. Now married and expecting their first child, Elle suffers a fatal accident. To keep the baby alive, Matt goes against his wife's wishes and keeps his wife on life support. But Matt's mother thinks that Elle should be euthanized, and she's ready to fight for what she believes is the right thing.

A stunning, compassionate examination of one of the most intricate ethical issues of our time, The Promise of Stardust, will stay with you, long after the last page has been read.

Priscille Sibley's The Promise of Stardust is a haunting and unforgettable debut novel about life and death and love, set against a moral dilemma that may leave you questioning your own beliefs.

Matt Beaulieu has loved Elle McClure since he was two years old. Now married and expecting their first child, Elle suffers a fatal accident. To keep the baby alive, Matt goes against his wife's wishes and keeps his wife on life support. But Matt's mother thinks that Elle should be euthanized, and she's ready to fight for what she believes is the right thing.

A stunning, compassionate examination of one of the most intricate ethical issues of our time, The Promise of Stardust, will stay with you, long after the last page has been read.

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About 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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 5, 2012
    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.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2012
    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.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2012

    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.

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    October 15, 2012
    Sibley's first novel opens on the aftermath of a tragic accident that leaves brilliant astronaut Elle Beaulieu brain-dead, and it is told from her husband Matt's point of view. The family is left with a difficult decision when they learn Elle is pregnant. Should she be taken off life support, as her past comments and certain documents seem to suggest, or should she be kept alive to bring the baby to full-term? Before it ends, everyone will have weighed in, from Matt's mother to pro-life activists. Woven between the novel's tense scenes of medical and courtroom drama is the backstory of Elle and Matt's very special relationship. Sibley does a wonderful job of exploring a complex and controversial moral issue, skillfully giving both sides of the story. She also draws on her experience as a neonatal intensive-care nurse to make complicated medical procedures interesting and easy to understand. This is a gripping, thoughtful, heart-wrenching, and well-written debut that would be a great discussion vehicle for certain book groups.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

  • Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

    "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, Internationally bestselling author of FORGOTTEN

    "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."

  • Jacqueline Sheehan, New York Times bestselling author of Lost & Found

    "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."

  • Katrina Kittle, author of The Kindness of Strangers and The Blessings of the Animals

    "I loved this book. Priscille Sibley manages a delicate and brave balance with this gripping novel."

  • --Patricia Harman CNM, author of The Midwife of Hope River

    "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!"

  • Library Journal

    "There's nothing like devastating moral quandary to spark reading, and this trade paperback original would be a great book club choice..."

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "A literate and incandescent Nicholas Sparks-like love story complicated by intense moral and ethical questions."

  • Kristina Riggle, author of Keepsake

    "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."

  • Publishers Weekly

    "Sibley's debut dissects the ethics of a patient's right to die with dignity... the journey is heartrending and tragic."

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