Stars in the Grass
Stars in the Grass  -     By: Ann Stewart
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Stars in the Grass

Shiloh Run Press / 2017 / Paperback

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When tragedy tears her family apart, the idyllic world of 9-year-old Abby McAndrews is shaken. Her teenaged brother, Matt, starts acting out in dangerous ways. Full of guilt, Abby's pastor father refuses to move on, while her mother tries to hold an unraveling family together. Will their faith bring them through such a loss? 320 pages, softcover from Shiloh Run.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: 2017
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.50 X 0.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1634099508
ISBN-13: 9781634099509

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Publisher's Description

"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..."

Nine-year-old Abby McAndrews has just experienced her greatest loss, and in its wake, her family is unraveling with guilt, grief, and anger. Her father, Reverend McAndrews, cannot return to the pulpit because he has more questions than answers. Her older brother Matt’s actions speak louder than the words he needs to confess, as he acts out in dangerous ways. Her mother tries to hold her grieving family together, but when Abby’s dad refuses to move on, the family is at a crossroads.
 
Stars in the Grass, set in a small Midwestern town in 1970, is an uplifting novel that explores a family’s relationships and resiliency. Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates—life after loss.

Author Bio

Ann Stewart and her husband, Will,  raise two daughters and a flock of sheep on their Virginia farm where fireflies light up the sky on warm summer nights. Music, theater, teaching, and an MA in Film and Television, propel Ann’s creative storytelling.

            Ann originated the series and wrote three of AMG’s Preparing My Heart books, and writes "Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe" for The Country Register, contributes to Mentoring Moments, and has written for Proverbs 31.

Editorial Reviews

"Ann Marie Stewart writes with immeasurable spirit as she probes the deep currents of faith and love. Abby McAndrews tells her compelling tale of family grief with truth and admirable humor. Stars in the Grass is a powerful novel that will light your way."
—Alyson Hagy, author of Boleto and Ghosts of Wyoming

"In this remarkable novel, Ann Marie Stewart explores the aftermath of tragedy with intelligence, grace, and subtle humor. Stars in the Grass is a story of great loss, but also of great hope. A beautiful, haunting tale, it is one I won’t soon forget.
—Ann Tatlock, award-winning author of Once Beyond a Time

"Stars in the Grass reminds us that even when we think God has forgotten us, we’re forever on His mind. Ann Marie Stewart’s writing is outstanding and her voice captivating. I fell in love with this intriguing novel from the first page."
—Bestselling novelist Kate Lloyd, author of Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork, and Forever Amish

"Ann Marie Stewart’s beautifully crafted prose depicts a family in deep turmoil as they walk through a dark valley. . . . Told in first-person narrative by nine-year-old Abby, Stewart gets her voice just right as a precocious child thrust into the world of grief. A thought-provoking and sensitive look into the different paths each family member travels in the aftermath of tragedy, the role of God and faith along the path, and the way time wraps its way around this family until they each can embrace the truth and move forward."
—Elizabeth Musser, bestselling author of The Long Highway Home and The Swan Hous

This sweet story will speak to readers who have experienced the loss of a loved one, especially a child. The use of flashbacks makes the telling a little awkward, as the story loses the emotional immediacy of the experience when told from an adult perspective, but Abby and her family offer a realistic look at how tragedy can tear a family apart from each other and God.

"Told through the persepective of nine-year old Abby, Stars in the Grass offers a realistic look at the heavy toll tragedies can inflict on families. No easy answers, but many glimpes of grace are expressed through the neighbors and friends who help the family begin their journey of healing."

Product Reviews

4.7 Stars Out Of 5
4.7 out of 5
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(15)
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(1)
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Quality:
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
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4.3 out Of 5
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  1. Ladyjayr12
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Good book about a difficult topic
    May 22, 2017
    Ladyjayr12
    Quality: 0
    Value: 0
    Meets Expectations: 0
    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Plublishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

    I enjoyed this book about a difficult topic. I could relate to the this family and their struggles. I will definitely read more books by Ann Marie Stewart.
  2. Terry
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Well Written, Difficult Subject
    February 20, 2017
    Terry
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Stars in the Grass was a difficult book to read, emotionally. Not to say that it wasn't well written because it was; Anne Marie Stewart writes in such a way that you feel you are experiencing the situation first hand, not just reading about it. However, the story is painful - a family suffers a terrible tragedy that changes everyone. The remainder of the book follows their journeys through grief and mourning and attempting (rather poorly in many cases) to move on. Stars in the Grass made me consider the experience of a family grieving at different paces and in different ways, and still having to live with one another. What those relationships would be like after the event and how they would change is something Id never really considered. Stars in the Grass often made me reflect on my own relationships and how I would feel if they changed in an instant.

    That said, the story was just sad and difficult. It reminded me of the Disney movie, Up. It's so tragic, right out of the gate, that you never really recover from it, despite the high points in the story later on. One thing I will commend the author for is her choice in narrator - nine-year-old Abby. Experiencing the loss through her eyes gave a gentle innocence and candor that helped me cope with the emotions of the story as it unfolded.

    Stars in the Grass was very well written but I recommend it with a warning. If you are going through a difficult season in your life, you may want to hold off. For fiction, this story touches you very deeply, and often, quite brutally.

    I received acomplimentary copy of this book fromBarbour Publishingand was under no obligation to post a review.
  3. Trixi
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Life after loss
    February 16, 2017
    Trixi
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    One idyllic summer ends in tragedy for the McAndrews family. Will they allow God to heal the painful places to make them whole again?

    Being the first ever book I've read by this author, I wasn't familiar with her work. She quickly took me by surprise by how well-written this is! Told by the viewpoint of nine year old Abby, it was quite different but yet perfect for the feel of this novel. Her views of life are those from that awkward middle stage between no longer being a kid, but yet not quite a teenager either. She views life in that perfect age of innocence. Until that fateful day when everything changes and nothing is the same again. Seeing her family suffer under the weight of grief and guilt, she feels at a loss for what to do or feel herself. Watching the family seemingly unravel has a huge impact on how quickly she must grow up, as begrudging as she is to do it. There is a stage in their lives where there are more questions than answers for everyone. Even though they know Who the answer giver is, they are clouded by deep-seated grief and the inability to move forward. As ominous as this sounds, the author also portrays the healing gift of hope. Even if it is as small as the mustard seed at first, as I read further on, I began to see that seed slowly grow and flourish. This is not a book that sugar coats what it's like to lose a loved one, or what each individual person will go through, or even how long it will take to overcome grief. This will tug at your heart, tearing it in two sometimes and making you want to reach out to put the pieces together for the McAndrews. I went through every imaginable emotion known to human kind, and from the beginning it drew me in like the fireflies they used to catch in the summer. I could hardly put this down, quickly devouring each page. This was never depressing, just a raw look at real life while giving glimpses of that hope in God. In the end, I think the family was stronger for having gone through the hard times...TOGETHER. They still had questions, but they were making huge strides on moving forward in His grace & mercy. Raw emotion, poignant, gritty real life, with hope poured over it all, I can't recommend this enough. If you only read one book this year, make it "Stars in the Grass"!

    *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. No review was required and all opinions expressed here are strictly my own.*
  4. Mark
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    sad, but a good read
    February 16, 2017
    Mark
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    My first thought upon finishing this book, was "man, that was a sad book." But don't let that stop you from reading the book...... it is worth reading.

    It isn't giving any spoilers away to say this: There is a death of a small child at the start of the book, and the rest of the book is about the remaining family dealing with that death. Though the book is fictional, I feel the author did a great job of presenting how different family members might deal with such a tragedy.

    I did find the book sad, but it was an interesting and entertaining read. I wish the author had wrapped up the end of the book a little better. I was left wondering about some things she didn't cover, and it also ended abruptly in my thinking.

    The author was new to me, but I liked the book well enough that I would read another by her.

    I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  5. sh2rose
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Beautiful Novel of Loss and Family!
    February 12, 2017
    sh2rose
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Stars in the Grass is a tender story of one familys journey after a tremendous loss. Told by the nine year old daughter, Abby McAndrews, each member handles the tragedy with different emotions, actions, and faith in God. Abbys curious mind, growing vocabulary, and sense of humor makes this book poignant, insightful, and moving.

    Abbys dad, John is the minister of a Presbyterian church which adds to the dynamics of their upheaval as a family. The turmoil in their home is heightened by Abbys brothers secret escapades. Dad frowned and exhaled slowly, the receiver in his hand. He was used to answering other peoples problems not phoning with the problem.

    Doubt in God, anger, and grief fill their relationships with unexpected outcomes and may tear them apart. Will they find a way to pull together? What happens to a family whose loss is unimaginable? My heart ached for the McAndrews. Would they seek the God they thought they knew before tragedy hit?

    I hope you will chose to put Stars in the Grass on your to be read list.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. I want to thank them for the opportunity to read this fine novel by Ann Marie Stewart!
Displaying items 1-5 of 67
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Ann Marie Stewart
Located in: Virginia
Submitted: January 04, 2017

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I love to tell a story that makes people laugh or cry. One of the greatest stories I know is my grandparents' escape from Russia in 1929 when they had to leave behind a child in order to save their family. I look forward to completing this memoir. With a background in theater, music, education, and film, I enjoy incorporating other elements into my storytelling.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  The plot for a writing assignment in graduate school came from one of my greatest fears: what if I lost a child? At the time I wasn't married and didn't have any children. What if the loss was painfully random and thus, caused characters to question themselves and God? Would it be possible to smile, to laugh, or to experience joy again? I could only hope.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  Hope is the operative word. I hope that readers will not only laugh and cry, but find hope in whatever they are going through. To know that it's all right to question and to struggle with life. In the end, I would hope that they might find that when the world turns upside down, there may be some new way of seeing it.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  Through great editors, my book club, and a writers group, I grew more as a writer than on any other project. I love to edit, revise, condense, and chop. I appreciated the opportunity to chisel away to the heart of the story.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  Like many, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books. I love Scout and her narrative. I appreciate first-person and writers who capture a character with a strong voice. I also loved A Girl Named Zippy --- and appreciate the nostalgia of the 1970's.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  See the book trailer on my website. Barbour did a hauntingly beautiful job on it.

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