Book Review: The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

Delightful from cover-to-cover.

If you’re looking for a book to get lost in, I’d highly recommend the new release The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. Touted as “…a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.” Spot on. Released on October 29th by St. Martin’s Press, I was privileged enough to be provided with an Advance Reading Copy, that once again, I finished up just after publication. (Too many books, too little time…)

My thoughts on this novel are generally positive – it wreaked havoc on my emotions making me laugh, cry, and generally content. It provides a gripping fictional account of a heart transplant survivor who needs to learn how to live again. It tackles the frailties of being a patient staring death in the face, the emotional repercussions of survival, and the nuances of relationships after a literal life-changing event -sussing out the events life and love, family and friends. It’s the telling of Ailsa’s journey to ordinary after an extraordinary experience.

It’s clever and charming with a streak of no BS and I absolutely loved all the characters. Each one has flaws, personality, and something to love. The novel as a whole is both uneasy and affecting. You will feel everything Ailsa feels. The author has done a remarkable job of taking a serious issue and making it lighthearted, yet impactful.

Reader discretion advised for: language (it’s not all squeaky clean) and a couple other elements. I could definitely look beyond them in the greater scope of the novel – maybe not necessary, but they were just little blips on my radar thinking that others in my book-reading network are pickier than I might be.

Overall, this one didn’t follow my typical formula and perhaps isn’t even something I would have picked up off a library shelf. That said, it was a definite win and I’m glad I took a chance when requesting it for a preread. Delightful from cover-to-cover.

I was provided with a complimentary early digital version via NetGalley with my thanks to the publisher and author. All opinions are my own.

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