Back cover summary:
Upon Stella Rose's death, her best friend, Abby, moves to rural Vermont to take care of her sixteen-year-old daughter, Olivia. But Abby struggles to connect with Olivia, and she soon finds guardianship of a headstrong teenager daunting beyond her wildest misgivings. Despite her best efforts, and the help of friends old and new, she is unable to keep her young charge from self-destruction. As Abby's journey unfolds she grapples with raising a grieving teenager, realizes she didn't know Stella as well as she thought, and discovers just how far she will go to save the most precious thing in her life.
Tammy Flanders Hetrick's Stella Rose is a great book on so many levels because it touches on significant aspects of life; losing a loved one, struggling to find oneself, struggling to find oneself while raising a teenager, and finding love. Losing someone is never an easy thing to go through, and this book took me on a journey in which I experienced just how gut-wrenchingly painful it can be when it dawns on you, with each passing day, that you can never get back what you've lost. It gets a little easier to bear as the years go by, but that void can never really be filled. Not completely.
Stella Rose is a moving tale about the character Stella Rose, her life and her death, and what she left behind in the wake of her death. It's about the struggle that Abby, her best friend, faces and the even deeper struggle Olivia, her daughter, tries to overcome, both struggling to come to terms with their loss, and each struggling to find herself. We never actually meet the character Stella Rose herself; we only get glimpses of her from memories of Abby, Olivia, and the letters she left behind. It makes you wish you knew her, just to see, or rather, read for yourself what she was like when she was alive. I was quite lost within the book, and I forgot that I was reading a book. When this happens, it simply shows that the author did a phenomenal job.
I was a little confused at first with Johnson Keller's character. When I realized later in the novel what his connection with Stella Rose was, I couldn't understand why he wasn't open about it in the first place. I couldn't understand why he had the relationship he had with Abby (and so quick after the funeral), knowing the relationship he had had with Stella. It didn't seem like he had mourned or grieved at all. I was indeed perplexed by that whole situation.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed it a lot. And I would definitely read more books by Tammy Flanders Hetrick. Great flow of words, great structure, and really great sense of humor, in spite of the novel's underlying theme of great loss.
A well-recommended read indeed. Enjoy!
OVERALL RATING: 9/10
COARSE LANGUAGE: AverageDisclosure of Material Connection: I was given a copy of this book by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.
SEXUAL CONTENT: Average
Stella Rose on Amazon