With three central characters who are palliative care nurses, Acacia House is a novel that is bound to deal with the most crucial issue in human life: its ending, not just the event itself but the path to it and its effect on all those involved. This might sound gloomy but Vivien Stuart is alert to the many moods of human life, including our use of humour to deal with the most serious issues. Death might be common but the three nurses are very different in background, character and circumstance. In exploring both their personal and professional lives, Acacia House is a profoundly moving and intelligent novel of great range and depth. The clarity of the writing and Stuart’s empathy shine through in a dramatic story that might startle our present, sometimes locked down lives.Dennis Haskell, Poet, Editor and Literary Essayist
Acacia House is a fiction that illuminates the deepest truths of our community at its very best: that we come from many countries and we come from different households, but those among us who work with the dying have the deepest and most humane common purpose: the provision of individual and compassionate care. Acacia House is a beautifully written novel and a significant contribution to the understanding of end-of-life care.Emerita Professor Brenda Walker
A searingly honest, deeply humane and beautifully written novel about the daily challenges and meaning of palliative care. Seen from the perspective of three nurses, this courageous book asks us to reflect on the big and increasingly urgent questions: the nature of suffering and the spirit; the value of family and friendship; and a brutal economic rationalism that reduces the terminally ill and their carers to items of productivity.Award-winning author Susan Midalia
Central to palliative caring are the nurses who laugh, learn, and share with patients and their families. The joys and challenges that draw us to care for others at the end of life are complex, and at times, profound. The sensitivity and realism in Acacia House is an authentic and honest portrayal of the story of care at the end of life.Nurse Practitioner Lou Angus
Acacia House brings hospice care to life in an absorbing, magnificent way, and exemplifies the vision Dame Cicely Saunders held for palliative care centres around the world: to relieve suffering, and to provide the best possible quality of life through a patient-centred holistic approach which cares for both patients and their families.Karen Anderson, Psychosocial Care Consultant and Trainer in Palliative Care, Counsellor & Psychotherapist
Hospice care has always focused on comfort and psychological support. Dame Cicely Saunders was aware that so many patients and families were being told that “there is nothing more that can be done”. She became renowned for saying, “there is so much more to be done.”
Acacia House is a beautifully written book which draws the reader in, captivates and inspires deep compassion, respect, and a greater appreciation for all who work in palliative care – and for those for whom they care. The ordinariness amidst the complexities is portrayed exquisitely.
Vivien Stuart’s Acacia House makes a most important contribution to increasing real understanding of palliative care. A thoroughly engrossing read.