2017 Christy Award Winner: Debut Novel 



Abby McAndrews’ first family vacation in August of 1970 goes from idyllic to tragic when an unexplainable accident takes the life of her younger brother. The consequences reverberate as her family unravels with grief, guilt, and anger.


Her father Reverend McAndrews cannot return to the pulpit because he has more questions than answers. Her older brother Matt is convinced he should have died instead and his dangerous actions may be self-fulfilling prophecy. Her mother Renee shows a newfound strength as she tries to pull the family back together. But when her dad cannot move on, her mother moves out, leaving Abby desperately seeking a way go on even if her family cannot.


Stars in the Grass is a story of relationships, the resiliency of family and about whether it’s safe to hope again when life seems fragile and unpredictable. Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates—life after loss.


I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories, putting on plays, or belting songs. Ever since grade school when my dad substituted me in for his turn at the Toastmaster podium and I held a captive audience with my speech, I’ve loved making people laugh       

with my speech, I've loved making people laugh and cry. Whether public speaking, singing, acting on stage, or creating a novel, I want to be a part of the story.

While in my teens, my dad challenged me to write a memoir about my mom’s family. My grandparents escaped from Russia and had to leave behind their three-year-old son in order to save the rest of their family. Delving into the history of that choice and the emotions, and learning about their lives, fascinated me. My dad believed in me and I wanted to complete this. In the meantime, my own life happened and I taught junior high, senior high, went to grad school, married, and had two daughters and a sheep farm, and wrote five other books.

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Loudoun’s Ann Marie Stewart Wins Christy Award - Loudoun Tribune

On November 8 in Nashville, TN, local author, Ann Marie Stewart, won the 2017 Christy Award for her book, Stars in the Grass.  The Christy Award, named after Catherine Marshall’s bestselling book, Christy, was established in 1999 to acknowledge excellence in Christian writing and creativity across genres.



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