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The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,294 ratings  ·  220 reviews
Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.
She's only a few months past the heart transplant that - just in time - saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point.
She knows she needs to find her father.
She's missed so much that her friends have left her behind.
She's felt so helpless for so long that she's let polls o
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published April 19th 2018 by Zaffre
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4.03  · 
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 ·  1,294 ratings  ·  220 reviews

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Stephanie Butland has written a well researched and insightful novel about Ailsa's chronic life threatening heart condition, set in Edinburgh. 28 year old Ailsa has experienced lifelong heart problems which have curtailed and limited what it is possible for her to do, leaving her dependent on the loving care of her tremendous mother, Hayley. She is pessimistic about receiving the heart transplant she needs, and she has good reason to be, her close friend and lover, Lennox failed to receive one a ...more
Louise Wilson
Ailsa Rae has had a heart transplant. Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point. She needs to find her father. Even her friends have left her behind. And then there's Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn't make it. How's she supposed to face all this without him.

Ailsa has had to deal with ill health and get used to the restrictions that this places on her lifestyle. She blogs about her life and finds this a coping mechanism. Her relationship with her m
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2018
Initially I was a bit disappointed with this, because Netgalley compared it to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine which I loved, and this is not even in the same genre. Publishers should really start realizing that comparing books to famous books, when there are no similarities does no-one any favors.

That said, I ended up enjoying this sweet, easy-reading story about a young women, born with heart complications, now trying to adapt to real life after finally receiving a heart transplant. I lov
Emily Field
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, confession time. I’m massively biased in this review. Grab your copy of The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae, turn to the last paragraph of the acknowledgments section at the back of the book, and you’ll see why. That bit about Emily Field, that’s me! I was lucky enough to win a charity auction #AuthorsForGenfellTower where Stephanie Butland very generously agreed to allow the highest bidder to be named in her next book. That was pretty brave of Ms Butland. What if my name had been Lord Buckethead ...more
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Decent book the beginning was a bit slow though
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley, 2018
This book was so cleverly written and gives you plenty of food for thought. Ailsa hsd lived with a chronic heart condition all her life.we get an insight into what life is like with a serious illness and the sorts of things you focus on.
A heart transplant totally transforms her life- but it still comes with reflection on the issues that totally consumed her life before. I enjoyed the different ways that the story is delivered and the relationships and worries that are explored.

Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
I must confess that this book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting – and that’s largely my fault, because I rarely read the “blurb” before opening a new book. But the fact that it was so very different was entirely a positive – there’s no wallowing here, no tear-soaked tissues (ok – maybe a little gulp from time to time…), instead a very likeable heroine trying to work out how to live and be happy, having been given a future she never expected to have.

The relationships in this book are just wonde
I know this is a lovely, heartfelt, emotional read but nothing here touched me. Sentimental to the point of maudlin, I just couldn't connect with the characters, the story, or anything about it. I really did try.

And I won this book! (Thank you, Goodreads.) I was so thrilled to win a book, and hadn't done so in a long time. I was thinking: is it my reviews? They can run hot and cold sometimes, but seriously, I am very, very honest in my reviews.

So if this book, about a young woman who's finally g
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a very different book, not really what I expected at all, and I found it to be something of a departure from her usual writing style. However, once I'd settled myself into the story and begun to find out more about lead character, Ailsa, I was soon intrigued by the plot.

Ailsa is twenty-eight and has a serious heart condition. Serious enough for her and everyone around her to know that it's a possibility that she could die at any time. The only thing that could s
Jan 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-lit
A slow starter but it dealt with the themes of organ donation acute illness and death sensitively.
Keriann Davey
Well I think I have just found a new favourite book of all time!!

In this book we meet Ailsa who from a baby has had a fatal heart defect, her whole life has been about her illness and knowing she is going to die. Alisa finally gets the long awaited heart transplant and is finally able to live her life, she discovers a herself and what normal means a long the way.

This book is fantastic, it deals with the issues of heart defects very well and is full of raw emotion that really rings true to life!
Paula Sealey
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I've been a huge fan of Stephanie Butland's previous books, but this one just didn't do it for me. It's the story of Ailsa, who has recently had a heart transplant and I was expecting an emotive read. I didn't get this though, and, other than Seb, I didn't really like any of the characters or gain enjoyment from the overall story.

It jumps around a fair bit from present to past and it wasn't always obvious this had happened so I found myself having to go back and re-read parts. The story is told
Liz Fenwick
Utterly wonderful...quirky, heart-warming and emotional...loved it!!
Jayne Catherine pinkett
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-buddy-reads
I am buddy reading this with my book bestie Keriann. Just read a few small chapters and oh my heart is already involved.It is very thought provoking and emotional and hopefully it continues being so good
Sally Coles
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When Ailsa is given a new heart her life is about to change drastically but it is not just a physical change that takes place but a psychological one as well, suddenly she is going from being an invalid to someone with her whole life ahead of her. As an avid blogger she has taken advice from her readers by means of polls and also suddenly the relationship with her mother is changing as well.... how will she cope with all of this?

A great book with obviously a lot of research but I absolutely love
Karen Whittard
Feb 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quirky, clever, fun, wonderful, feel good wonderful read. I seriously loved this book so much. It is a must buy must read for all chicklit and romance fans. I absolutely loved this.
Karen Mace
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a touching read and introduces the lovely character of Ailsa Rae, who is determined to live life to the fullest after being given a second chance when she receives a heart transplant, after suffering with poor health throughout her childhood..... but only if the blog poll results help guide her decisions!

Ailsa has had to deal with ill health from the word go, and she has got used to the restrictions that this places on her lifestyle, and also blogs about life from her perspective and fi
Jul 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Ailsa Rae's entire life has been shaped by her heart condition and her struggle to find a new heart. When she finally receives a heart transplant, she must learn how to become the new version of herself, the version who is a survivor with a healthy heart. At twenty-eight years old, she has to find out who she truly is and what she wants the rest of her life to look like. For the first time, she has to learn how to live.

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is not what I expected based on the back cover
Linda Hill
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ailsa has waited 28 years for a new heart and getting one may not be the panacea for all ills she imagined.

Oh. This is so good. The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae could so easily be saccharine or mawkish as a result of its subject matter but because of the wonderful quality of Stephanie Butland’s writing it is neither, but rather is an honest, uplifting and riveting read. Indeed, there is considerable humour through what could be bleak moments and I especially liked the dynamics between Ailsa and Se
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading and loving Lost For Words, I knew entering into Stephanie Butland's world would bring joyful characters and a feeling of home. I wasn't disappointed - Ailsa and her mother definitely found their way into my heart (no pun intended for those that have read the novel - or the synopsis). Ailsa has been ill all her life with a heart condition that would have rendered her DOA had she been born in an earlier time. Instead, she makes it to 28, when she receives a heart transplant

She is one
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars
What a book. This beautiful, sad, uplifting and life affirming book blew my socks off.
I don't think I can even put all my emotions into words. I suffer from chronic illness although not life threatening like Ailsa has. I really connected with her as a character and adored her quirks and humour.
There is a romance but it is natural and doesn't come centre stage.
It is a book that makes you want to live! O thoroughly enjoyed it.
Lorraine Brooks
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I just loved this book. 💃❤ ...more
Janay Brazier
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just reading the description of this book had me hooked in, so I started reading it the moment I finished my current read.

So, we follow Ailsa for through the year after her surgery. Ailsa was born with heart complications. Now, in her twenties, Ailsa is recovering from a heart transplant and finally feels like she can start living her life. However, she's battling with her mother about wanting to live alone, she's curious about her real father who walked away, and she misses Lennox, her best fr
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a bit of a hit and miss novel and, if I'm being honest, I found that it did actually miss more than it hit. The problem lies in the fact that when it hits it does so wonderfully well and you just want it to keep going and going in that vein. sadly, you do get let down time and time again. In fact I very nearly gave in at the 80-odd page mark as it was all rather ploddy and I couldn't see where it was going. Fortunately another 20 or so pages in and I was rewarded for my perseverance and ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are not enough words to describe just how amazing this novel really is but I will try my best to articulate it as best I can.

Ailsa Rae has never really had control over her life as she waited for a heart transplant, as she lost her closest friend, and as she watched those who love her suffer on the sidelines. And then a miracle happens and Ailsa receives a heart in the nick of time but now she has a new dilemma - what exactly should she do now with a life that she never thought she would h
Ophelia Sings
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ailsa longs to be normal. She dreams of queueing, climbing high things, dancing... Of not having blue lips, or fighting for every breath. When a donor heart is found for her she can finally, at the ripe old age of 28, start living. But being normal presents its own challenges. And Ailsa isn't quite prepared for how scary and confusing some of them will be...

Stephanie Butland has an apparently innate knack for crafting warm, emotive tales which manage never to run to mawkishness and oversentiment
Jess Richardson
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephane Butland has absolutely blown me away with this book. As a sufferer of a life long illness, #thecuriousheartofailsarae made me feel that she was real and I ws part of her story. I could empathise with so much of her story and wanted to help fight for her, defend her, hold her hand, guide her, and every other emotion I could think of.

I have cried, laughed and loved every moment of reading this book and am gutted that it has come to an end and would recommend every single person that reads
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ailsa Rae has never been a normal child doing the mundane every day stuff, so when her life changes her energies all go into finding her new normal.

A brilliant book with a storyline that as a parent makes you stop and think what if. This book covers off multiple topics and really brings organ donation to the forefront in a sensitive and heartfelt story.

I loved this book and enjoyed the style in which it was written and following the iourney of Ailsa Rae. This is a book I will definitely be reco
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
OK. Cute. Reads more like a YA - characters seem younger than stated ages. Also found it bizarre the mother’s smoking is never addressed - for being the only support/closest person who would do anything for her daughter whose heart has been failing & whose body is not getting enough oxygen since the day she (daughter) was born... yet her mother smokes in almost every single scene?
Breakaway Reviewers
An original and uplifting story about the gift of life and its many challenges

28-year old Ailsa Rae has spent her entire life unwell, having been born with a congenital heart defect that leaves her constantly struggling to oxygenate her body. After receiving a heart transplant in the nick of time, Ailsa is ready to finally start living the life she’s always dreamed of – getting a job, learning to dance and finding love. However, despite everyone around her telling her how lucky she is (something
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Stephanie Butland is a writer, who is thriving after breast cancer. (She used to say she was a survivor, but that was a bit lacking in joie de vivre.)
Although she’d never have chosen it, her dance with cancer has changed her life in many positive ways. Now she is happier, healthier, and more careful with her precious life and the precious people and things in it.

Her writing career began with her d