I have been invited with joy by Barbour to read Stars in the Grass by Ann Marie Stewart and I accepted with great enthusiasm. The book launched this February First.
I finished to read the book right now and the end is so moving.
In our area there are fireflies. We have many of them during the long summer nights and I have always felt great fascination for these wonderful creatures real lanterns during the obscurity.
This one is not a light book although the title would express it.
Realistically it's the story of a family who loses its own religious identity after the abrupt departure of little Joel the third beloved son of this very religious couple while in vacation.
John, the dad of Joel is the pastor in fact of the Bethel Spring Episcopal Church. Everyone loves him and his family.
His wife Renee loves to play the organ during the mass and the children, Matt the oldest ones, then Abigail or Abby (the name as explained in the book because of the Bible and because of a first Lady of a President very appreciated) and Joel the latest one.
The scenario the one of the early 70s.
Yes: it is true that the elaboration of a loss is different from person to person. Some of us feel a biggest connection with God, Angels, other close every door with God.
It happens this to the McAndrews, the protagonist of this story and mainly not to everyone, but in particular to John.
John can't celebrate anymore mass, can't anymore to be a good pastor for his sheep because simply he can't anymore believe that His God can have decided to "kill" his beloved son. Why? How can it be possible?
The narrative voice of a now grown up Abigail, at that time just 9 years old, who, devastated for the loss of his brother, at the same time was seeing that other things were not going on well.
First of all, her family was collapsing.
John completely uninterested at his family, stopped to follow his children and started to fix compulsively clocks of every sorta and genre.
Time: maybe John wanted just to fix Time, but time can be fixed? Time can we heal us and when? Can we return in the past, and changing a special moment of our life? Can we do that?
If we would do that, our life would be surely more perfect, but...
Are we here for a perfect trip or for a road that someone asked us to live for some certain reasons and that sometimes can be also difficult to live?
They're big questions.
And in these big questions, left alone by two parents who couldn't cope with maturity at this departure, it's in fact the lost of a child the most tremendous and horrible pain existing in this world, Matt, the oldest son of John and Renee starts to be always more wild and messy, and Abby more worried for...everyone.
For Matt, for her mom for her dad, for herself, because she would want to try, in the big pain that they are living to return at being, just being the pale idea of the family that they were before this nightmare changed thir existence.
Renee, her mom, tried all her best for sorting out the problems with her husband because of course in love with him but later she will also take a drastic decision.
John too "buried." Buried in company of his clocks, and when not in the basement for fixing them with great enthusiasm, at the cemetery for visiting Joel, that not yet 4 years old son disappeared too soon.
Matt will remarks him that it will be important to live...
Stars in the Grass is a story of hope and re-born after a lot of messes and after maybe the consciousness that life goes on also if a person dies and we must go on because the show must go on and because we can't do differently and because if we are here there is a precise purpose.
The book has been written very well, never boring, my favorite character uncle Troy, a real savior and a real angelic presence for this family.
I admit that his presence when he was around warmed the heart.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for the advanced copy of this book and good luck! for the launch!
Anna Maria Polidori