Book review: 'The Promise of Stardust' is a thought-provoking novel about life's difficult decisions

By Steve Larson

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 14 2013 5:42 p.m. MDT

"THE PROMISE OF STARDUST," by Priscille Sibley,William Morrow Publishers, $15.99, 399 pages (f)

Matt and Elle are in love. They have a good life in a small town in Maine. Matt is an up and coming neurosurgeon, while Elle teaches at a local college after retiring from NASA as a shuttle astronaut.

Matt and Elle have a good life, but they both desperately want a child. After struggling through a couple of difficult miscarriages, they both are questioning the decision to try again.

When an accident suddenly leaves Elle brain-dead, Matt is faced with the difficult decision of how to prolong Elle's life. His medical background has taught him that the odds of his wife surviving are very low, and yet he struggles with the decision to disconnect her from life support.

While Matt is still reeling from the tragedy of his wife's accident, he learns Elle is in the early stages of pregnancy. Her doctor tells him it may be possible to keep Elle alive long enough to deliver the baby. He now must decide how to proceed with the care of his wife and his unborn child.

To make matter worse, Matt's mother informs him she is aware that Elle has signed a living will. She wants Matt to respect Elle's decision and take her off of life support. She believes Elle should not be kept alive against her wishes.

Matt does not agree. He believes Elle signed the living will while she was much younger, before she wanted children. In his mind, Elle would want to be kept alive in order to save their child. He now finds he must defend this belief in court against his own mother who is fighting to fulfill Elle's desire to not be kept alive by life support.

"The Promise of Stardust" is a new novel by Priscille Sibley. This is Sibley's first novel. It is a sweet story about love, but is filled with conflict, pain and difficult decisions. Both the main characters, Elle and Matt, come from families that have faced many difficulties. Both have also stumbled along the way before finding each other. Now their families are being torn apart by Elle's condition and the decisions Matt must make.

This novel is intended for mature readers. It contains harsh language and discusses a number of mature topics such as abortion and euthanasia.

Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. He spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.

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