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October 23, 2019

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland ~ a Review

by MK French


Ailsa Rae had a heart transplant just in the nick of time, so now she can act like every other twenty-eight-year-old. She has a complicated relationship with her mother, wants to find her missing father, and isn't sure what will happen with her lost love Lennox. She's a changed woman, and there is going to be a lot more of it going forward.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

October 2019; Griffin; 978-1250217011
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); women's fiction
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a novel that deals with potentially fatal medical issues, as well as the relationships surrounding a situation like this. As a result, the novel is a journey of self-discovery, building new relationships, and weathering the changes that come when lives are turned upside down. This is dealt with in a sensitive manner and realistically addresses the conflicting emotions that all of these changes in self-perception and the future bring. Ailsa's blog posts and polls are included, though she often relied on them to make all sorts of decisions in her life rather than take a chance and decide things for herself.

Grief of so many kinds is addressed here, and my heart really went out to Ailsa and her mother Hayley. Little things remind them of the past that had never been dealt with, and it's not used as a way to demonize either one. Ailsa had been her mother's entire world, so it hurts them both for Ailsa to assert her independence and start to build a life that doesn't include "sick girl" as a core piece of her identity. This is a touching story, and I appreciate the way that the subject matter was handled.

Scotland and London are fun backdrops for the story, as well as the other characters in the story. Yes, Seb is a celebrity, but he's not used that to get his way. His own transplant story is here, and he also has to reevaluate his life. He and Ailsa connect in a genuine way, and the inevitable gossip articles (also included like her blog posts) add to their story. The moments of heartbreak between them are the moments we experience too, and it's a hard-won victory when Ailsa is able to say "What the world thinks of me is irrelevant."

Buy The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband and three young children.


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