Her Good Girl
Sometimes digging deep frees you to bloom.
Sadie Tremont’s will to survive is killing her. Almost 18, she’s battled one mysterious illness after another. Tara-Lynn, her mom, insists she’s the only one with the ultimate cure. Sadie can’t depend on her dad to help when his only interest is underground caving. Her grandmother too easily counts on God to help, but Sadie has stopped waiting for miracles. Callie, a café owner and new friend, might help but can she be trusted?
Then there’s Sky, Sadie’s new boyfriend who offers a sliver of joy, peace, and self-respect. When he schemes that the only way for Sadie to be happy is to escape with him from her native West Virginia hills by killing Tara-Lynn, she’s trapped.
She can’t partner with Sky to hurt the mom who has hurt her for years . . . or can she?
When tragedy strikes and threatens Sadie’s dad’s life and the shaky ground the Tremont family stands on, will they pull together or give in to the weakened earth beneath their feet?
Guest Post from Elaine Stock
How to Bloom Against the Odds by Elaine Stock
Show tunes warm my heart and create a happy buzz in my mind. Ever since I can recall, I adored musicals, whether live performances or movies. Throw in amazing choreography and I’m definitely a happy camper! Hmm. I’m thinking you’re probably wondering why I’m kicking off a blog tour about my novel, Her Good Girl, a coming-of-age story about a whole family against the odds, chatting about actors belting out foot-tapping songs?
Here’s another favorite of mine: Liza Minnelli. Remember her from the movie Cabaret? A few months back I ran across this quote from her: Reality is something you rise above. These words hit home, zinged my soul. Life is not about what you’re dished out, but what you do with it instead. See, I was born into a troubled family. My mother slipped deep into the prison of mental illness; my father worked 8 days a week. Throw in a few other dysfunctional barbs and… well… that was my beginning. Is it my present? Will it be my future?
In Her Good Girl, centers on Sadie, a girl on the cusp of becoming a woman. Her life revolves around her mother’s abusive Munchausen syndrome by proxy (MBP) until Sadie discovers a way out… or is it an escape to something deeper and worse by the hands of someone else?
This is what I wrote in the “Author’s Note” section of Her Good Girl:
I first became aware of Munchausen By Proxy (MBP) several years ago when I read an article about what I thought was an emotional disturbance. Research shows that this is maltreatment (abuse and/or neglect) when a person—usually a parent—seeks emotional fulfillment by inflicting an illness on another, often one’s child, and often resulting in death. Recent cases such as the 1996 arrest of Kathy Bush for making her then nine-year-old daughter, Jennifer sick; the 2014 death of five-year-old Garnett by his mother Lacy Spears, and the recent Baby Jax case of a woman, Jessica Valik, who tampered with her son’s feeding tube, are one too many. Yet, I have not written about this type of tragedy and sadness to become a sensationalist.
Stories about the complexities of families draw my attention. I strive to tell stories that inspire others that, through the love and grace of God, one can move forward, families can heal, that there is hope, and that there is no reason to go back. Goodness can, and does, happen to troubled families.
While my mother didn’t suffer from MBP, she was controlled by the terrors of paranoid schizophrenia (I touched upon this as well in Her Good Girl, although, again, it was not autobiographical). I didn’t know about my mother’s condition until I turned 18 and she was first diagnosed at that time. However, what I did know during my childhood was that this was my family’s “normal.” Yet, it still didn’t feel right.
I wanted to rise above this emotional feeling that felt like a trap.
Actually, God and I clicked when I was six (that’s as far back as I can remember His grasp on me). But, it wasn’t until I was baptized into the Christian faith in my early 20s did I start feeling as if I was indeed beginning to rise above my circumstances.
Without Him, my life would be empty and meaningless.
Now, I feel as if I have a future to look forward to. All my novels will not necessarily be reflective of mental illness, but I hope my readers will see in Her Good Girl that by holding God’s hands tightly a family can heal and one can move forward, can live. Or, as one of the major themes of the novel emphasizes: Sometimes digging deep frees you to bloom.
Elaine Stock writes contemporary fiction, fusing romance, family drama, and psychological suspense in a "clean fiction" style, suitable for teens to any age adult. ALWAYS WITH YOU, her debut novel, is a 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award winner in the fiction category. Elaine's short stories were published in the best-selling Amazon anthology "Christmas Treasures: A Collection of Christmas Short Stories" and FamilyFiction's "The Story: 2014 Anthology." She is also a regular contributor to the HappySis Magazine. On her blog, Everyone's Story, she hosts guests weekly to help encourage readers, writers, and all those in-between.
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Book Review by Bree Herron
I felt like I was Sadie while reading this book. This character gripped my mind, and took me through her journey to healing and faith. In the faith aspect I could easily relate, remembering as a teen how I would question having faith when troubles showed up. During this book, Elaine Stock created characters that were unique, some that were soft and your cheerleader, and others that are still roaming around in my mind trying to settle.
The run down of characters is one of my favorite points to make in a review. Sadie is our main gal, with intense need of love and faith. She is struggles to understand Tara-Lynn (her mom) and her actions. Sky is one that will come through this story and was one that I felt instant alarms about, but not saying anymore, will not ruin this book for you. Callie our sunshine in the story, I really loved Callie. Adam is Sadie’s dad and he is looking for his hope in the darkness of caves. All these characters weave together in different and complex dynamics to bring this story to life. They are stitched together as though they are a quilt of emotions and faith.
I loved when Callie appeared in this book. She was a ray of sunshine and faith for Sadie. She was the opposite of Sky in more ways than one, and showed that love and kindness does exist in the darkness. When she came to Sadie’s home with cookies for the grandma, it was a sweet gesture and she stayed composed through the rough dinner time.
Food For Thought
Does a person really handle a situation when running away from the elephant in the room?
I pondered this often while reading this book, between how Sky handled situations and Sadie’s dad would go to the caves. I believe that God gives us choices and the ability to choose how we will handle a situation, but we may not always make the best choice. Conflict isn’t the answer but neither is pretending all is okay.
How do you become the change?
This family was dysfunctional, I honestly think look that word up and the family would be there as an example. They were created to show us the flaws and bruises. Sadie starts to see a that there is a trend in how Tara Lynn treats her and how Tara Lynn may have grown up. Sadie learns that she has to be the change to this. Change can be good or bad, and this falls on Sadie to make a choice.
Many times in this book I found myself thinking, ” how did she create this story?” it was truly awe inspiring. The book tackles tough subjects of mental health, family health and faith. The perspectives of characters is wonderful, and as a reader you will flow from one to the next with ease. I have finished this book feeling like I am able to be a better person from reading this fictional yet very realistic story.
How would you be a guidance to a child like Sadie?
**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.
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- Mary Hake, February 1
- Bibliophile Reviews, February 2
- Inklings and notions, February 2
- Blogging With Carol, February 3
- proud to be an autism mom, February 4
- A Reader’s Brain, February 5
- Texas Book-aholic, February 6
- Carpe Diem, February 7
- A Baker’s Perspective, February 8
- Multifarious, February 9
- A Greater Yes, February 10
- Avid Reader Book Reviews, February 10
- Power of Words, February 11 (spotlight)
- Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 11
- Janices book reviews, February 12
- Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 12
- margaret kazmierczak, February 13 (Interview)
- Simple Harvest Reads, February 13 (Guest post from Mindy)
- Pursuing Stacie, February 14
- Bigreadersite, February 14
To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away:
GRAND PRIZE: of 1 Tote + 1 print (US only) or eBook of Her Good Girl, Always With You, and And You Came Along!
PRIZES: Three others will win 1 eBook of Her Good Girl each!!!
Find out all the details and enter to WIN at Her Good Girl Celebration Tour Giveaway. Don’t forget to comment on this post for 9 extra entries!
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