I have never had a book have me in tears from the first chapters, but I was only half an hour into the book and already I was crying. In some respects I was angry with the author, but as I read on, I understood there was no other way to tell the story, but honestly, killing a three-year-old boy off in the first chapters was beyond the pale.
Now that my rant is out of the way, Stars in the Grass is one of the most masterfully told tales I've read in a while. Ann Marie Stewart takes a tragedy that could destroy a family and works little by little to bring the family closer together, but not without quite a few struggles. As the readers become more and more acquainted with the characters, they will be able to empathize with the feelings of hurt and anger the family feels in this drama, and they will see how a ten year old girl will be the catalyst for healing in the family.
Amazon's synopsis sums up the book quite well:
The idyllic world of nine-year-old Abby McAndrews is transformed when a tragedy tears her family apart. Before the accident, her dad, Reverend John McAndrews, had all the answers, but now his questions and guilt threaten to destroy his family. Abby’s fifteen-year-old brother, Matt, begins an angry descent 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. Set in a small Midwestern town in 1970, Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates—an authentic story of faith and life after loss.
It just doesn't tell how well Ann Marie Stewart told the story, how deeply her characters were developed and how the settings within the book made the story all the more real. I grew up in the South and like Abby, I caught fireflies almost every summer evening. I live in the Northwest now, and I miss what I called "lightning bugs" when I was growing up.
I wish I could give this book more than five stars, but the other websites where I post only allow five. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a mason jar full of fireflies on a summer night.
My thanks to Shiloh Run Press for allowing me to read and review this book.