The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland

ST. MARTIN’S PRESS – REVIEW : 4 STARS

Thanks so much to the author, NetGalley, and St. Martin’s Press for the complimentary advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own. All of my full, honest reviews can be found on my blog at tacklingtbr.home.blog and on Instagram @TacklingTBR { partner }

If you had spent your entire life feeling sick, and fragile, and literally blue, what would be one of the first things that you would want to do with the start of your new life post-heart transplant? As someone who was fortunate enough to have been born healthy, and who has stayed at least relatively healthy throughout my lifetime, these aren’t questions that I’ve ever had to think about answers for. But our heroine Ailsa Rae has thought of little else while waiting for the heart transplant that would save her life, and this is where the book begins.

This book was a pretty slow read for me, only because of the formatting of the book itself. There aren’t necessarily chapters, the book is separated into ten parts instead that, for me, were about an average of about an hour and a half to two hours per part. The story is told through blog posts, online news articles, flashbacks, and more typical in the moment story portions. It was really interesting getting information from all of these different POVs, and I really enjoyed this form of storytelling. My only issue with this was the very long parts in lieu of chapters, since it made it a bit slow seeming while reading it.

I will also say that I wish we got to see more of the character of Lennox. As stated above, bits of the book are looking back at before Ailsa’s transplant. Only one or two of these flashbacks include Lennox as an active character, most of them are still after his death. While I love understanding how she was dealing with his loss, and how she was able to come to terms with that, I wish that we had just a little bit more time with him as well. I was really wanting just a little bit more time to truly fall in love with him the way that she had.

All of that being said and out of the way, I really enjoyed this book. I fell in love with all of the characters, but especially with our lead Ailsa. While she was a sweet and young character, who had had a pretty difficult time throughout her life, at no point was she presented as a perfect character. If you know me, you know that I love a flawed character. But, while I have never been in the situations that Ailsa is in during this story, I still found myself relating to her quite a bit, and therefore loved getting to watch her journey. She has a blog that outlines her transplant experience and on the blog she often posts polls for her followers to help her decide what to do in any given situation (whether or not to travel to London, where to go for an outing, etc.) I know that there were some other people that disliked this part of her character, I really did enjoy it because indecisiveness is a flaw that I daily struggle with as well. This morning I asked my Instagram followers to help me pick my next read, and last night I literally gave my fiance four options of activities and asked him how I should spend my evening. Not something that I am always proud of, but I loved seeing this in a character and watching her work through it with the help of the people who love her.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book, and as long as you have time to devote to a little bit of a slower read (more character driven than story driven) then I would absolutely recommend it.