Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Her Good Girl by Elaine Stock

February 1, 2018 Christian, contemporary, Elaine Stock, giveaway 27

about the book

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 threaten 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?

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GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction
PUBLISHER: GTG Publishing
RELEASE DATE: January 22, 2018
PAGES: 330

“…only God is bigger than my fears…And that’s Who I’m choosing to hold onto tightly.”

Sadie’s story in Her Good Girl is not an easy read. It’s not a quick read. But it’s an important read. Sadie’s story is one of severe dysfunction all around her, masterfully portrayed by Elaine Stock through varying perspectives and a multi-dimensional cast of characters.

Her mom Tara-Lynn’s mental illness holds Sadie herself captive in an endless round of doctor visits and medications. Most moms don’t douse their daughters with chloroform or shove pills in their mouths on a regular basis to treat illnesses, be they real or a figment of the mother’s imagination. Sadie’s father and grandmother seem safe and loving at first glance, but they’ve effectively tuned out this abuse for years. Her new boyfriend Sky seems to offer stability and protection… until he proposes that Sadie kill her own mother to stop the abuse.

Yet, throughout the darkness that mars Sadie’s young life, a common thread of grace weaves deep.

Mostly this is seen through her unlikely friendship with Callie, the owner of a local cafe who ‘happens’ upon Sadie one day and can’t get the troubled girl off her heart. It’s through the presence of Callie that Stock is able to introduce a survivor of similar circumstances – one who has held tight to Jesus in spite of the abuse she endured growing up. This reliance on Jesus is not presented as a crutch by any means, but rather a powerful Lifeline to cling to in the middle of the storm.

I loved the perspective switch between Sadie (in first person) and other characters (third person). To me, this gave the book an almost psychological-thriller feel and kept my attention riveted to the story. It also helped me connect more personally with Sadie’s character and her story. Yet, it’s the scenes with her father Adam during the cave accident that touched me most deeply, both while taking those scenes at face value and giving weight to their metaphoric purpose. “I AM here.” All my yeses right there. When life is darkest, HE is still there. And He provides wellsprings of Living Water along the way – people He places in our paths at just the right time, words we need to hear from unexpected sources, etc.

Bottom Line: Her Good Girl by Elaine Stock is poignant and riveting, a spotlight on generational dysfunction at its worst but also on God’s miraculous grace. Stock tackles an intensely emotional plot with compelling prose, layered characters, a gentle spirit and always HOPE. It’s gritty and real and it doesn’t shy from looking abuse and mental illness in the eye and calling it for what it is. But it’s also tempered with mercy-driven insights and the healing only Jesus can provide. Such a great read – one that you will be pondering for a long time!

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4.5 stars / Fascinating & powerful read!

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about the author

Elaine Stock is the author of Always With You, which released in January 2016 and has won the 2017 Christian Small Publishers Association Book of the Year Award in fiction. She has also penned the novella And You Came Along plus several short-stories. Her novels fuse romance, family drama and faith in a clean fiction style. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and contributes to the international “Happy Sis Magazine” and “InD’tale Magazine.” Born in Brooklyn, NY, Elaine has now been living in upstate, rural New York with her husband for more years than her stint as a NYC gal. She enjoys long walks down country roads, visiting New England towns, and of course, a good book.

You can connect with Elaine on her website, Everyone’s Story, Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon and Twitter.

Other Books by 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.

Enter God.

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.

To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away a grand prize of 1 Tote + 1 print (US only) or eBook of Her Good Girl, Always With You, and And You Came Along.

Three others will win 1 eBook of Her Good Girl each!!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Click here to view this promotion.
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour for more chances to win!

What about you? What intrigues you about Sadie’s story?

Carrie

27 Responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Her Good Girl by Elaine Stock”

  1. Janet Estridge

    Elaine’s book would be a wonderful addition to our young adult section in the church library.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  2. Perrianne Askew

    There are many kinds of abuse and most are hidden. I think it was recently on the news about a mother with this illness. I think this kind of abuse is too easily covered up, so it would be interesting to read Sadie’s story. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

    • Elaine Stock

      Thanks for visiting Carrie’s blog, Perrianne. Yes, sadly, there are news story coverages of this horrific and odd abuse, yet I wrote the story to give hope to my readers in otherwise dark times, which we all experience every now and then. Do let me know if you read Sadie’s story and what you think.

  3. Kay Garrett

    Thanks for all the great information on “Her Good Girl” and would wonderful review as well as introducing me to new to me author, Elaine Stock. Appreciate you being part of the Her Good Girl Celebration Tour. From all the information you have given me, I know this is a book that I would thoroughly enjoy reading.

  4. Janice Moore

    This sounds like an uneasy, but worthwhile book to read. I find the topic fascinating.

    • Elaine Stock

      I hope you’ll check Her Good Girl out, Janice. I also purposely tried to throw in some attempts at giving the reader a smile… like a dinosaur who wears a party hat. Say what? I won’t explain a word more–LOL.

  5. Audrey Stewart

    Thanks to this blog for the intro to Elaine Stock and her work. I am so excited about reading this. Good job!

  6. Ann Ellison

    Love Elaine’s books and really enjoyed this one. Since I have read it don’t include me in the drawing.

  7. Winnie Thomas

    Thanks for the review and author thoughts, Carrie and Elaine. This book sounds fascinating, Elaine, although I might have to have a humorous book to read along with it to lighten me up a little.

    • Elaine Stock

      Oh, I understand, Winnie. For me, it’s just the opposite–I need an intense read to get my mind off of other things. LOL. We are all so different, and isn’t that a wonderful thing?! I’m glad you want to read Her Good Girl!

  8. Vivian Furbay

    A very interesting and complicated story. If I am blessed to win, could I get a print copy?

    • Elaine Stock

      Thanks for your visit, Vivian. Perhaps you might be the Grand Prize winner and will receive a print copy. I’m glad you’re interested in Her Good Girl.

  9. Penny Mooney

    This book needs to be in all our libraries. This is a problem that really is getting out of hand. It is sad that children can’t trust their own families. I have seen this and it is a personal hurt. Thank you for bringing this to the attention of readers.

    • Elaine Stock

      Penny, thanks for visiting Carrie’s blog. Most of all, thanks for your interest in Her Good Girl and for encouraging me to continue to write the stories I do. Please let me know what you think of Sadie’s story, which I hope you’ll have a chance to read. May His love for you personally brighten your hurts. God bless.

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