The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland #BookReview #PublicationDay


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 on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own.

And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart.

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

Publisher – Zaffre

Publication Date – 19th April 2018


Amazon UK  £7.03 – buy online and support a local bookstore  £6.09

Book Depository  £7.15



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 finds this a great way of helping her cope, and also helping her make big life decisions! While she was in hospital waiting for the heart transplant she loses someone very close to her, and this also really affects the way she sees life now that she’s been given another shot at things.

She has a close relationship with her mother who has always been there for her, but as she tries to act like an adult after being cared for like a child for so long, this does put a strain on the bond between them.

The timeline in this book does chop and change quite a bit which did get a little confusing at times, as it switches from life before, during and after the transplant, but doesn’t over complicate the enjoyment of reading. I didn’t feel a strong emotional connection with Ailsa as she is one of those characters who doesn’t want your sympathy, she just wants to be given a fair go and not be held back by circumstances, but I did feel for her with some of the things she went through which were out of her control and wondered how I would deal with them in her situation.

Her life is made a little more complicated by the friendship she makes with Sebastian who she seemed to connect with instantly due to his sense of humour and honesty about his transplant, and I loved reading their messages to each other and how they supported one another.

The blog posts were also another fascinating element as Ailsa could really open up on her blog about all her hopes and fears, how the illness had affected her and it was really insightful to see that side of her and how she struggled with the issue of what she does with her life now, as she’s always had a get out clause with her health issues.

I really enjoyed how this book didn’t sugar coat things and didn’t get over emotional with the issues that faced the character and just dealt with things with warmth and humour. It’s a book about being braver and following your heart – even if that heart isn’t yours!!



The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland #coverreveal

If, like me, you adored Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland, you will be extremely delighted to hear her next book is on its’ way this year!!

And it is my pleasure today to be part of the cover reveal for THE CURIOUS HEART OF AILSA RAE.  Due for release on 19th April 2018 – ooh just in time for my birthday! – it is sure to be another wonderful read.  So here is your first look at the stunner of a cover that will hopefully be on your bookshelves soon!!




‘Quirky, clever and unputdownable’ Katie Fforde 

‘A beautiful book’ – Prima magazine 

‘I cried like a motherf***er’ Shelley Harris 
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 on her blog make her decisions for her. And now she barely knows where to start on her own. 

And then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him. 

But her new heart is a bold heart.  

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . . 

@under_blue_sky#AilsaRae #TheCuriousHeart 

Stephanie Butland is a novelist who fell in love with performance poetry when researching her novel LOST FOR WORDS. Her first two books were about her dance with cancer. She then turned to fiction. Her novels are Letters To My Husband, The Other Half Of My Heart, and Lost For Words. Stephanie lives in Northumberland. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she’s not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. 

Lost For Words by Stephanie Butland


You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.

Praise for Lost for Words:

‘Loveday is a compelling character, you love her in the way you love a cat who always scratches but you love it anyway . . . this book is quirky, clever and unputdownable. I really enjoyed it.’
– Katie Fforde

‘Loveday is a marvellous character and she captured my heart from the very first page . . . and her bookshop is the bookshop of readers’ dreams.’
– Julie Cohen, bestselling author of Dear Thing

‘Loveday is so spiky and likeable. I so loved Archie, Nathan and the book shop and the unfolding mystery’
– Carys Bray, author of A Song For Issy Bradley and The Museum of You

‘Burns fiercely with love and hurt. A quirky, rare and beautiful novel, one you’d be delighted to unearth in any bookshop. And Loveday Cardew is a character who leaps from the pages into our hearts.’
– Linda Green, bestselling author of While My Eyes Were Closed

‘It is such a beautiful read and Loveday’s voice is so compelling . . . an exquisite story that I couldn’t put down.’
– Liz Fenwick

‘Beautifully written and atmospheric. Loveday is an endearing heroine, full of attitude and fragility. The haunting story of her past is brilliantly revealed.’
– Tracy Rees, Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of Amy Snow

‘What an absolute stunner of a book. I LOVED it and cried like a motherf***er. If you care about books (or humans) read it!’
– Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee

‘This book will warm and break your heart in equal measure! Loveday Cardew is funny and sassy, angry and loving, and she is running scared; she wears her scars deep within her and on the outside too. In Butland’s consummate hands, the story of Loveday’s past and her present is bravely told and is transformative. This is a must-read novel.’
– Claire Dyer, award-winning poet and author of The Perfect Affair

‘A beautiful, touching, moving, sweet treat of a book. Sad, intriguing, cleverly plotted, sometimes shocking, compelling read. I was with Loveday all the way. I absolutely loved it’
– Jane Wenham-Jones, author of Prime Time

‘Loveday is an incredible character.
Oh, the writing . . .
Vibrant, vivid, sometimes visceral;
Engaging, funny, searing.
Dares to mix prose and poetry seamlessly.
Archie had me head-over-heels in love.
You can’t help but hurt when it’s over’
– Helena Sheffield, author of The Art of Wearing Hats

‘I just finished. I can totally see why you fell in love with it. What a unique, beautiful novel that cleverly builds to a heart-stopping climax. Any book lovers out there would be mad not to adore the quirkily drawn character of Loveday who pulls you in right from the get go with her distinctive voice!’
– Tracy Buchanan, number one bestselling author of My Sister’ s Secret, The Atlas Of Us and No Turning Back

‘Wonderful. So many beautiful one-liners too!’
– Ayisha Malik, author of Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

‘OH poor, brilliant Loveday. Gorgeous, gorgeous bookshop book . . . So, so lovely!’
– Sarah Franklin, author and Costa Book Awards judge

‘I loved it! Spent all day today engrossed in Loveday . . . a superbly drawn character.’
– Alex Gray, bestselling author of The Darkest Goodbye (less)

Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 20th 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre
What a treat of a story this was!  And much more than I was expecting too!  I am always drawn to books set around a bookshop and this is set in  a beautifully old fashioned bookshop full of old books and owned by Archie who is a larger than life character, but a very perceptive and caring man.  Loveday has worked at the bookshop for many years and within the shop she feels at home.  She is very wary of people and the more you read her story, the more you understand why.  So she prefers the company of books – let’s  be honest, don’t we all! 😉
The story is set over 3 separate timelines all cleverly woven together throughout, as we look into Lovedays’ childhood and see the heartbreaking things that have shaped her character and made her shut off from the world in many ways.  It also looks back to a previous relationship and how that has impacted her life while also focusing on her as she tries to move forward with the support of Archie and the safety net of the bookshop.  And mixed in with this is a little mystery of just where the box of books that turn up at the shop have come from as they transport her back to her childhood.
There was so much more to this story than I was expecting and I loved how it took me as a reader on a roller-coaster of emotions – I may have shed a few tears!  The supporting cast of characters are also beautifully created and add so much to the story of Loveday and it captured my heart as I followed her story.