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Reader Reviewed
We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman
  

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One of our Books of the Year 2015.

June 2015 Book of the Month.

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.'

If you like Rowan Coleman you might also like to read books by Melissa Hill, Carole Matthews and Jojo Moyes.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Zarina de Ruiter - '‘We Are All Made of Stars’ is as heart-warming as it is heart-breaking. Rowan Coleman is quickly establishing herself as the queen of beautiful tearjerkers and I for one cannot wait for her next novel.'
  • Cathy Burman - 'Truly inspirational and beautifully written. Highly recommended to read at any time but definitely one to pack in the suitcase. You will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more from this author.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'a tender story about how precious life is, how each moment counts and how those we have in our life, that mean the most to us, is who we think of at the very end.'
  • Janet Lambert - 'Rowan Coleman - you did it again - tore my heart in two, then sewed it back together. I'm clearly a more sensitive soul than I imagined, I sobbed my way readily throughout this stunning work'
  • Linda Neill - 'Having never read any books by Rowan Coleman, I was unsure what to expect from this novel. It didn’t disappoint.'
  • Judith Smith - 'An extremely uplifting, sad and happy book about being on the brink of death and how one person, a nurse on night shifts can make such a difference.'
  • Julie Wragg - 'beautifully and sensitively written with a cast of emotionally deep characters that provide some humour and much understanding of the difficult subject matter of loss and grief in its many forms.  Simply wonderful.'
  • Josie Barton - 'Rowan Coleman has delivered a beautiful story about love and loss, death and dying and the overwhelming value of dignity and respect.'
  • Kelly Silcox - 'is a heartfelt novel full of life, loss, love and humour with plenty of characters to meet and become involved with.'
  • Cat Hogwood - 'A story all about relationships and what you do for love.'
  • Joan Hill - 'This absorbing novel is beautifully written with wonderful characters. It exudes charm, empathy and compassion and is sprinkled with fabulous dialogue. It’s a definite ‘keeper’ for me.'
  • Nikki Whitmore - 'A tale of endings that is also very much about beginnings...'
  • Alison Jones - 'Gentle and emotive are the words that spring to mind when thinking about this book that follows troubled hospice nurse Stella.'
  • Angie Rhodes - 'it deals with loss in such a beautiful way, it stays with you after reading and you want to shout about it from the tops of buildings.'

Synopsis

We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman

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...We Are all Made of Stars is an uplifting and heartfelt novel about life, loss and what happens in between from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book.


Browse inside this book

Reviews

'I immediately read The Memory Book and it's WONDERFUL ... I'm so happy because she's written other books and its so lovely to find a writer you love who has a backlist' -- Marian Keyes


About the Author

Rowan Coleman

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family which includes a very lively set of toddler twins whose main hobby is going in opposite directions. When she gets the chance, Rowan enjoys sleeping, sitting and loves watching films; she is also attempting to learn how to bake.
Rowan would like to live every day as if she were starring in a musical, although her daughter no longer allows her to sing in public. Despite being dyslexic, Rowan loves writing, and The Memory Book is her eleventh novel. Others include The Accidental Mother, Lessons in Laughing Out Loud and the award-winning Dearest Rose, a novel which lead Rowan to become an active supporter of domestic abuse charity Refuge, donating 100% of royalties from the ebook publication of her novella, Woman Walks Into a Bar, to the charity. Rowan does not have time for ironing.

Below is a Q & A with the author.

1. What would be the most treasured memory you would put in your memory book?
I think I actually did put it in The Memory Book, right at the beginning as the first scene ‘Caitlin is Born’ is very much based on the feelings I had after my daughter was born. We were alone for a while and I will never forget the experience of falling in love with my own child. I’ve had three more children since, and each is very special, but my introduction to motherhood and the feelings that it inspires in you is a very strong life defining moment.

2. Your main character, Claire, suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s, how did you research this disease?
The most important part of the research that I did was finding words written down by Alzheimer sufferer’s, because I found it really hard to know whether I was getting Claire’s inner voice right. There is quite a difference often between what is going on in a person with Alzheimer’s head, in terms of thoughts and feelings, and what they are able to articulate outwardly. So I read a lot, about the disease, I also found cases of people s young and sometimes younger than my heroine, who suffered from Early Onset Alzheimer’s and I read as many first person accounts as I could find.

3. What do libraries mean to you?
Libraries mean everything to me, and that is no exaggeration. One thing many writers have in common is childhood spent in libraries, and I loved my weekly trips every Saturday and the joy that borrowing new books brought me. Now I take my own children (when I library is open, which sadly isn’t every day any more) and they love it too.

4. Which of your books is your favourite and why?
It’s a tough one, but I have to say ‘The Memory Book’ it’s a very personal book, I drew a lot on my own experiences of being and mother and a daughter for it, and I wrote it for my Mum. It feels like a book that drawn us all closer together in a funny sort of way. It made me think a lot about my relationships, and how much I value them.

5. Who is your inspiration?
My mum inspires me a lot. She married young, gave up her job to be a wife and mother, and when her marriage to my father broke down 28 years later she was sort of thrown out into the world to fend for herself and her children. And she did it. She taught me to be a strong independently minded woman, and she taught me how to be a mother. I think if circumstances had allowed it she would have been a writer too, she has an amazing imagination and a very quick wit. I’m lucky I had the opportunities that she didn’t, and that she encouraged me to take them.

6. If you had to choose your top three books, what would they be?
Jane Eyre is my all time favourite life changing book, also Anne of Green Gables and I have to say Pride and Prejudice, it’s a perfect book.

7. ‘The memory book’ certainly makes the reader shed a tear or two, did you cry when you were writing it?
Yes, I’m afraid I did. When you put yourself in the shoes of someone who knows they are leaving their children, and the people they love its very hard not to.. But I also laughed quite a bit too.

8. How did you first get into writing?
I was always a storyteller, although being an undiagnosed dyslexic held me back at school for quite a few years. It wasn’t until I somehow made it to university that I began to help to cope with my dyslexia and then I became to write in earnest. I worked in bookshops, and then as a admin assistant at a publishers, and kept writing all the time. In 2000 I sent an entry to Company Magazine Young Writer of Year award and won, which opened up all sorts of doors for me and eventually I acquired and agent, and then my first book deal in 2001.

9. You have some fantastic female characters in ‘The Memory Book’, who was your favourite to write?
That’s a hard one, I think I would have to say Claire, when I was finally confident I had her voice right, she really seemed to come alive for me. I still think about her. That’s weird, isn’t it?

10. What is your next project we can look forward too?

I could tell you but I’d have to kill you. No really, I am working on the next book now and trying to perfect the plot so I can’t tell you yet!

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Book Info

Publication date

21st May 2015

Author

Rowan Coleman

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Author's Website

www.rowancoleman.co.uk/

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Publisher

Ebury Press

Format

Hardback
400 pages

Categories

Relationship Stories
Books of the Month
Reading Groups
Romantic Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9780091951382

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