Beautifully thought-provoking and yet simply and effortlessly readable, this is an intimate compassionate dance with life, death and hope. Read the first letter, followed by the prologue and you think you know exactly what this is going to be, a book that makes you cry, however there is so, so much more to be experienced than heartache. The author allows us to see moments in time for four different people, it feels as though she has a deeply affectionate link to all four, all the more so when we see their inner confusion, agitation and pain. The fleeting links become important and create stories within stories. The individual letters, so expressive and eloquent, sad, sometimes funny, create a pause, yet at the same time unify the feel and the emotion of this story. There is an honesty and truth to this tale, it’s captivating and stimulating and thoroughly wonderful. ~ Liz Robinson
Rowan Coleman on the importance of writing letters...
'Writing and receiving handwritten letters has always given me a special thrill, since I was quite young. A teenager in the eighties and nineties, before any one had heard of emails or texts, I always wrote to old school friends to keep in touch, and they always wrote back. Letters would be long-winded, funny, fully illustrated, addressed to made-up names. Then gradually over the years that followed it stopped being necessary to put pen to paper, in almost any form. Now we can say - to a loved one, and old friend, even a celebrity - what ever we want to say, instantly and often, publicly. So I’ve been trying to think about the piece of post that has come through my letterbox that has meant the most to me, and there have been a few really important letters in my life. But I think if I am going to choose a series of letters, that have meant more to me than any, it’s the handwritten letters I received last summer from some of my best friends. I had started 2014 with a plan to write a letter, and post it every week, and it had been going really well. And then in the summer my youngest son was injured, in a deeply traumatic way, that although was not life threatening, shook my family very deeply. My letter writing stalled, and never really found its feet again, but over those difficult, deeply upsetting weeks of summer, I got three letters from dear friends. Friends who knew what our family was dealing with, who knew how hard it had hit me, who knew that I was finding it difficult to find my feet again. Those three letters, each one unique, were little pieces of the people who wrote them, coming through my letterbox to offer me a hand of friendship. And I took enormous comfort in them, because what I learnt, through writing letters myself, and during the writing of ‘WE ARE ALL MADE OF STARS’ is that a handwritten letter does something that an email, or a text, or a tweet can’t do. It captures a moment in time, a feeling, a thought and a sentiment and it preserves it, for as long as the letter is preserved. It becomes a lasting token of what would otherwise be fleeting. So I keep those three letters in a special place, with my special things, because it meant so much to me that my friends took the time to think of me, and write those thoughts down.'
The hardback was One of our Books of the Year 2015.