January 24, 2017

Stars in the Grass

The summer before I turned ten was idyllic—until August 3, 1970. It perfectly describes a time when I thought the world was safe and good things lasted forever. What I couldn’t know then, but try to remember now, is how fragile and delicate are the moments we most treasure, and if they break into pieces, repairing means seeing anew. ~Excerpt

I know it’s only January, but I predict this will be one of my top favorite books of 2017. Yes—it’s that good.

Here are my reasons for adoring this book, in a three-point formation, just as Reverend McAndrews structured his sermons in this story.

1.    Nostalgia. I adore the nostalgic atmosphere that envelops every page of Stars in the Grass. Reading this book was like rewinding time and revisiting my younger years. The 1970s came alive as I recalled the innocence and freedom of childhood, and the complexities of those coming-of-age days.
2.   Narration. Much of the charm of this book is due to the first-person narration by its main character, nine-year-old Abby McAndrews. Abby is open, honest, raw, and untethered. I respect and admire every nuance of her. As her life is quickly and tragically altered, she allows the reader to see and experience her struggles and grief through her eyes. Her voice is authentic and vulnerable, and I won’t soon forget her.
3.   Noteworthiness. Author Ann Marie Stewart is a brilliant storyteller. She writes as one who has mastered the craft. It is evident she has a deep love of music, carries an appreciation for the innocence of childhood, and understands the resilience of the human soul.

Though we like to think of childhood as an era of innocence and ease, heartbreaking realities often force us to see the world as it is—regardless of our age. Abby reveals her internal struggles as she suffers a tragic loss and her tight-knit family begins to unravel. Her dad questions his faith, her mom attempts to shoulder the family’s grief, and her brother Matt’s pain gradually rises to the surface.

My dad preached about a good and loving God who can do anything, but now I didn’t know what that meant. ~Excerpt

This is one of those books that causes you to linger as you near the end. You turn the pages slower to make the story last longer.  You prolong closing the cover because you don’t want to leave these characters behind. I turned the last page in tears, but this book is far from gloomy. It’s filled with hope, family, faith, and perseverance.

I predict you’ll experience a bit of laughter, shed a tear or two, and feel your heart grow a few sizes.

5 great big stars!

Cover: Love it
Title: Love it
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-1634099509
First line (prologue): I spent the better part of my childhood sitting in the pew in the balcony of Bethel Springs First Presbyterian Church, listening to my dad’s long vowels as he preached on predestination.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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