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The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

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4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,467 ratings  ·  324 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 helples
...more
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published April 19th 2018 by Zaffre
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Leah I only have an ARC so the line could have changed in the finished copy, but it's: "I used to make a massive effort, you know, always be cheerful,…moreI only have an ARC so the line could have changed in the finished copy, but it's: "I used to make a massive effort, you know, always be cheerful, always go out for drinks if anyone was going. Not be offended if people were bitchy. And then one day I was in make-up, and Tom Foster was in the chair next to me, and he caught my eye in the mirror and said, 'Remember son, just because you've got what you want doesn't mean you have to be happy all the fucking time.'"(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  1,467 ratings  ·  324 reviews


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Paromjit
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 relationshi
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Toni
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Review to come

Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion.
Dale Harcombe
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ailsa Rae has been living on borrowed time for years waiting for a heart transplant. Over the years of waiting it has just been her and her mother since her father cleared out very early in her life. Over the time of waiting for the heart transplant Ailsa has been blogging about her experiences and asking questions of her readers. Personally I found this a very bizarre thing to do. But as long as you can accept this you will see the place it has in this story and settle in to reading the blog as ...more
Tania
Feb 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, fiction
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 loved t
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Theresa Alan
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Aisla Rae gets a new heart at the age of 28 after a lifetime of surgeries. The last few years before the transplant she was really sick, as was her first boyfriend, whose Hepatitis went undiagnosed until his liver was in dire shape. Lennox didn’t get the transplant he needed, but she did, and now she has to figure out what to do with her life now that she’s going to have one.

She had been blogging about waiting for her transplant, and now that she’s out of the hospital, she continues to blog, as
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Marianne
Oct 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“It’s as though she has been given permission to look out of a window that has always been forbidden to her before: she cannot believe how far away the horizon is, how beautiful the view.”

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is the fifth novel by British author, Stephanie Butland. Ailsa Rae knows that reaching the age of twenty-eight with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is remarkable. Of the fact that she will soon die without a transplant, she’s hyper-aware. But yes, someone else’s misfor
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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
Zoe
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Moving, inspiring, and heartfelt!

The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a pensive, tender novel that takes us into the life of the courageous, optimistic Ailsa Rae who after living a sheltered, timid life due to a congenital heart defect is struggling to recover, adapt, relearn, and become more adventurous after a heart transplant saves her life.

The writing is direct and sincere. The characters are charming, authentic, and amusing. And the plot using an intriguing mixture of n
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Candace
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC of this book.
As a recent recipient of donor heart myself, I was really excited to read this! It is a pretty realistic portrayal of life before and after a transplant and it brought a tear to my eye once or twice. But it is an uplifting and witty story of second chances. Elisa is a 28 year old who gets a new heart since being born with a bad hard. She is quirky and charming character as she struggles to adjust to her new found health. It was
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Sue
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-authors
The Curious Heart of Alisa Rae is a heartwarming look at a transplant patient. Once someone gets a new heart, their life totally changes - they go from being an invalid to learning to do things that they could never do before because of their health. This is Alisa's story from an almost dying 28 year old to a brave and fearless woman who is anxious to live her life to the fullest.

Ailsa has spent all of her life as a heart patient. She was born with a bad heart and has been in and ou
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Milena
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
4.5 stars

I enjoyed Stephanie Butland's first book and was looking forward to her second book, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae. And it did not disappoint! It was such a charming, funny, and emotional read! At twenty-eight years old, Ailsa has a second chance at life after receiving a heart transplant. Her best friend, Lennox, wasn't as lucky as her and died before receiving a liver transplant. Now, Aisla has to face her new life without him.

For the first time in her life s
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Anne
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 ar
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Kim
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, net-galley
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.

Jackie
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
Deanne Patterson
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Deanne by: cnnamongirl@aol.com
Ailsa Rae has spent her life in and out of hospitals and living in fear.
In fear of what? See it's her heart, she's been afraid it will give out on her. She's become weaker and weaker and she was dying. She receives a transplant just in time. You become invested in her life and care what happens.
She's been taken care of by her mother who has devoted her life to her daughter's care and this causes a closeness of the women but her mother hovers and doesn't really seem to be able to break the
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Stephanie
This was a lovely and sweet book and it filled me with pure happiness. Exactly what I needed right now. I fell in love with Ailsa and her mother...and I honestly think that was the true love story. Seb sounded dashing and handsome...but I really loved Ailsa and Hayley

The back and forth timeline isn't as confusing as others have mentioned, but it does mean you need to pay a little attention to the dates.

I really like the way the book dealt with a serious topic (illness, or
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Holly
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae has a highly unusual premise, which makes this book stand out from most others. It is also features a strong protagonist and a heartwarming story. Alisa Rae was born with a heart having only three ventricles and as a result, she is in and out of surgery on a regular basis. The book begins with her dying and she is waiting for a transplant that finally comes through for her. Ailsa yearns for an ordinary everyday life like most people have.

The book center
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Anne
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
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Hristina
You can also read this review on my blog illbefinealonereads.

This book is an incredible, unputdownable read.
It has a heartwarming story, it’s incredibly engaging, and it just feels fresh. The characters are amazing, beautifully developed, and the relationships set between them felt organic. The pacing was just to my liking, so I had an easy time connecting to it all and getting lost in the story. The writing played a really big part in how enjoyable the book was for me, it’s really well written, the
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Jaksen
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 you
...more
Iris
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.
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 st
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Guylou
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae

Ailsa was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. At age 28, her heart is failing, and she now lives full-time in a hospital Palliative Care Zone. The book starts with the news of a compatible heart and the medical staff rushing Ailsa to the operation room to receive it. The transplant is successful, and the story follows Ailsa as she copes with her new heart and lease on life.

This is a beautifully written story. The life of Ailsa is not unique as so many people wait every day for an opportunity to re
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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
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 rea
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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 abs
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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.
Carol (Reading Ladies)
Thanks, #netgalley #stmartinspress for a free egalley (ARC) of #thecuriousheartofailsarae by @stephaniebutlandauthor in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

We meet Ailsa Rae and her new heart, Apple, while Ailsa is recovering from heart transplant surgery. As she gives her new heart a name, gains her strength, contemplates the relationship with her mother, and the loss of her best friend/boyfriend, her thoughts turn to her future. She’s always lived as a sick girl
...more
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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 caree
...more