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 Olivia 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.
|Publisher:||She Writes Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.56(w) x 8.46(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Tammy Flanders Hetrick has been telling stories all her life, refining her skills at age ten through marathon tag-team storytelling with her best friend, honing her craft through decades of business writing, and ultimately finding joy in extracurricular creative writing. She has published short stories in Your Teen Magazine, Blue Ocean Institute’s Sea Stories, and Route 7 Literary Journal. In 2009 she was recognized with the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition’s Pioneering Woman Award for coaching and mentoring women in the workplace. Hetrick lives in Vermont with her husband of thirty years, their two cats, and a beagle/miniature bull mix.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Stella Rose’s physical form has left the world, but her spirit is still everywhere. She leaves behind a daughter, Olivia, and many people who love her dearly. The story is narrated by Stella’s best friend, Abby, who takes on the responsibility of moving into Stella’s house to take care of Olivia. The novel is divided into months, each section consisting of a season, and each chapter being a different month following the death of Stella Rose. Stella, who died of cancer managed to plan out the year following her death by writing letters and preparing gifts for Olivia and Abby. The rules are that they have to open them together and can only open the one designated per month. We follow through the stages of grief and watching these characters trying to continue their life with the help of Stella via the letters. The pacing of the chapters and how they are split up into months is perfect. The author paints a beautiful picture of Vermont through all of the seasons, which I love as a Vermont resident. It is fun to recognize names of places as well as places I’ve never heard of or been to. The characters feel very real and are imperfect as all humans. I think everyone will find ways in which they can relate to these characters and their struggles, especially anyone who has experienced loss. The story is poignant, filled with such heart it seeps through every page. There is such honesty about life, love, friendship, loss, secrets and the mess of it all. So many passages of this novel hit me deeply, some just because of how closely I could relate to the situation, like becoming angry at the person who died, or because of the true lifelong friendships that existed. The friends in the novel were friends since childhood, and the relationship they have, I envy. I have some great friends, but the level of friendship in this novel is beautiful and I think rare. I love, love, loved this novel. It is a fantastic well-crafted debut novel by Mrs. Hetrick, so grab a box of tissues and get a copy!
"Finally. The pain, the anguish and the struggle are over. Well, your pain, anguish and struggle are over. Me? I'm looking over a cliff, and pain, anguish, and struggle roil below amid jagged rocks of grief. And you know how I hate heights." Stella Rose starts with the above paragraphs. So sad, but that is what happens when your best friend dies of cancer at such a young age, leaving behind a teenage daughter. Stella Rose has asked that Abby raise her daughter Olivia. Abby is not sure she is up to the task, she misses her friend terribly as does Olivia. Stella Rose was a very organized woman, planned everything in her last year. What she did was pretty cool though, she prepared a years worth of monthly little gifts and letters for Abby and Olivia to open up together. Each present and letter has a meaning behind it. I think that is a pretty interesting idea, I think it helps Abby and Olivia handle the loss and grief. It doesn't make it any easier of course, but they are able to cope better. Life does go on for the two of them, there are struggles of course but it is not easy taking over the care of a child that is not your own and a teenager at that. Teenagers can definitely be a handful, and Abby and Olivia grow close in spite of differences and disagreements. Abby has inner dialogues with Stella Rose and through these the reader learns what kind of person Stella Rose was and how she was able to prepare Abby for what was to come. Abby starts dating and actually has two men vying for her, she struggles with her feelings for each man, Olivia spends a lot time with her friends and time goes on for the two of them and soon the year is over. Are they done grieving? Probably not but they have learned that life does go on and you need to focus on what is important. Stella Rose was a very wise woman. When I first started reading the book, because it started out at the very beginning of the grief process, I thought it was going to be kind of maudlin, but it was not. I found myself liking both characters a lot. Hoping through the whole book that they would be able to come in touch with their feelings and emotions. They both find that letting go is something that they can do and Stella Rose will always be with them both. I really loved this book. At times a tear jerker but uplifting at the same time. A definite must read! I received a copy of the book for review and I was not monetarily compensated for said review.
Fantastic!! Couldn't put it down. Write more soon please!
This is a beautiful novel about friendship, grief and survival. It's poignant, compassionate and well crafted. I greatly enjoyed it. As a woman with incurable cancer myself, I read it as a Pintrest board of ideas for how to help my family transition should I take a turn for the worse. I look forward to Tammy's next book.
Stella Rose is the heart-wrenching story of three women: Stella, a mother who has just died of cancer; Olivia, her sixteen-year-old daughter; and Abby, Stella's best friend. As the story opens, Abby and Olivia are grieving over Stella's death, wondering how they will cope. As per Stella's wishes, Abby has become Olivia's guardian until her eighteenth birthday. Abby moves in with Olivia to be her companion/mother-figure to shepherd her through her grief. Stella has left behind twelve packages with letters that Abby and Olivia are to open, one each month, until the anniversary of her death. She left these heartfelt gifts in hopes of easing the pain her daughter and friend are suffering through and to remind them how much she loved them. Though Stella is not present in the story, she is a very real and vivid character, brought to life, not only by Abby's and Olivia's memories and thoughts of her, but by the revelations of her backstory, divulged in the letters. Some of these come as a surprise to Abby, and she realizes she didn't know Stella nearly as well as she'd thought. Abby tries to be a parent to Olivia, but she has no experience with kids, having none of her own, and finds herself in way over her head. Both struggle with their grief and make mistakes. Olivia falls in with the wrong crowd, makes some bad choices, and nearly pays with her life. As a parent of a teen daughter and as someone who has experienced the grief of losing a family member, I found this book both compelling and difficult to read at times. What happens to Olivia is every parent's worst nightmare, and to think of my daughter in such a situation was frightening. This book is well worth reading, though, with realistic characters that drew me into their story and gripped me with their emotions. The moments of remembrance are poignant and speak to the wonderful friendship and love shared by the three women. Olivia's mistakes lead to a terrifying confrontation, but she survives and grows from it. Both Abby and Olivia find new strength that allows them to move forward with their lives. I liked the ending, and Abby's romance with the school counselor was a nice touch. The story stayed with me long after I finished reading it. *** I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.***