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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae (Author: Stephanie Butland)

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae (Book Cover)

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

The Curious Heart Of Ailsa Rae

By Stephanie Butland

Ailsa wakes to her mother's face looking down at her. Her chest feels heavy as though she had a weight on top of it. She learns from her mother that she has been asleep for much of the last week, waking sporadically & then dropping off again.

She eventually returns home with her mother to their flat, & in the weeks & months that follow, Ailsa continues with her blog &, following the award agrees to take part in a radio interview where she meets an actor called Seb. However being an 'entertainment vegan' she is blissfully unaware of his attributes. After establishing their somewhat unconventional common ground, they start to see each other regularly, his professional life neatly entertwining with her 'hobby'. However, his infamy betrays him & uncovers something that all the trust Ailsa had invested in him, makes her see Seb differently & risks everything.

Ailsa struggles to come to terms with a longevity to her life that she wasn't prepared for & that her actions could now have far reaching consequences, especially when it comes to a family matter. She now has to start taking responsibility for her life. With the help of 'Apple' (green, never red) can she leave Blue heart in her past?

So, I thought I'd give another Stephanie Butland novel a go as I loved 'Lost For Words' so much. I was really looking forward to reading this book as the title page stood out for me & the book teaser on the right hand side drew me in. However, I found up to part 7 (there are 10) easier to absorb than what followed. I haven't actually been too well, so maybe it was an inability to concentrate, but I found at times that the dialogue between the main two characters was overly complicated & cryptic.

If you read this, please feed back to me, I may have had my stupid head on. Also, I'm not keen on stories with supposed celebrity characters, made up tv shows & newspaper reports. I find it all a bit cheesy! Just me? As with anyone judging something, this is just my opinion though. The initial parts (not chapters) with Ailsa & Lennox, I would have liked the author to have continued with. I particularly like that Ailsa reflected on whether 'Apple' (not giving anything away here), would remember her feelings for Lennox & I was pleased when she didn't let her Dad get away with his past behaviour....I hope she never does.....

As sometimes happens with a health issue, Ailsa's comments about having several versions of herself, really 'spoke to me'. Inspirational Ailsa, Everyday Ailsa & Sensible Ailsa, & that when you've been blessed with a body that is less than reliable, people can in some situations almost expect more from you. She felt that others thought that she should be grateful for a second chance, but just wanted to be seen as normal even average, everyday Ailsa. The sensible part of you knows that that is ok but is also constantly inventing expectations that others have (me: London Marathon or Wheelchair Basketball ....ok so, people stopped expecting those things from me a long time ago but you get my drift) - when all you can do is what you feel you can do & be you.

Lastly, I liked the way that each part was either a blog entry, e-mails or normally written chapter from the perspective of a third person.

The narrative & the main characters I liked & could relate to for the most part. Ailsa's relationship with her mum was the best, but I would have liked Seb to have had a different back story.

My misgivings about this story hasn't put me off Stephanie Butland as an author, & I shall be returning to her novels in the future.

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