Elsie Richardson’s world crumbles when her dad drops from a seizure at the 4th of July festival. The reality that his brain tumor is back with a vengeance slams the 17-year-old aspiring artist and her family into intense hardship. Her mom needs help to make ends meet, forcing Elsie into adulting overnight. On top of that, Elsie’s caustic, grudge-holding brother is on his way home, and Elsie fears he will only make matters worse. Feeling alone and hopeless, Elsie does as she’s told and goes to work with her mom. That’s when she meets Tyler Vaughn, the grandson of her mom’s wealthiest client. After he invites her to go jogging at the historical Shiloh National Military Park, Elsie is warned by her mom to stay away from the wealthy, young man. Elsie gets the notice a bit too late, and so she lies about who she’s meeting each morning. Over the next few weeks, Tyler becomes her secret solace amidst all the uncertainty she’s facing. But when reality strikes and her private world crashes, she's forced to find her inner strength on her own.
Amy J. Markstahler's Life Happens on the Stairs will touch your heart in many ways. It's a hopeful story that reminds us of the miracle of love and family, and the possibility of second chances.
If you enjoy realistic fiction with a love story that will give you all the feels, this award-winning debut novel is a must read.
Amy J. Markstahler’s breakthrough novel, Life Happens on the Stairs, is a true masterpiece in young adult fiction. I was enchanted by the multi-dimensional protagonists, Elsie Richardson and Taylor Vaugn. Their entertaining backstories blended perfectly with the history of their town, a small Tennessee community, rich with expectations and deep-rooted traditions. Descriptive prose and fresh dialog bring the story to life. This novel offers a wonderfully balanced cast of characters, both young and old alike. The reader is drawn in immediately, feeling both the tension and angst, as Elsie tries to balance the duties of family, work, while exploring the joys of young love. The story offers hauntingly poignant life lessons. This five-star read will leave you yearning for the author's next novel!
“Life Happens on the Stairs” is the story of a young woman as she overcomes life’s struggles leading to adulthood. That’s the simple description of a story that is MUCH more. It isn’t often that I find myself so immersed in a book that it makes me cry, but “Life Happens...” is one such book. Ms. Markstahler puts the reader “into” the story in such a natural way that you feel the life of the protagonist, Elsie Richardson -- her ups and downs. It’s funny, sweet, sad, and heartfelt. I absolutely loved it! This is, hands down, the best novel I’ve read in ages. If I could give it ten stars, I would.
It is no wonder that this debut novel has won awards even before it's released. Some people are just born to write, although it did take Amy J. Markstahler five years to finish this book. Life Happens on the Stairs is a well-written, coming of age novel that delves into family relationships and a young woman's tendency to run when life gets difficult. Best of all is the romantic angle. A forbidden love between a rich, handsome, wonderful man, and Elsie, our heroine, the daughter of the help.
In the midst of Elsie's turbulent life, with her father dying, Elsie could not stay away from the one thing that makes everything bearable. Tyler Vaughn.
With that, we can see that Elsie has a lot of challenges ahead of her, and we, the reader, can tag along for the ride.
Life Happens on the Stairs. There's no running when it's your turn. You can either go up and see where it goes, or go down and give up.
I highly recommend it to new adults and for adults who love reality fiction with a good dose of romance.
This award-winning, debut novel, Life Happens on the Stairs by Amy J Markstahler is a wonderfully fresh and realistic look at life and love and the contrasts between the "haves" and the "have nots"; the "elite" and the rest of us ordinary folk. Markstahler has definitely touched a spot in her readers hearts with this beautiful and touching portrayal of young love.
Elsie Richardson, a seventeen-year-old budding artist should be preparing for college, but when a brain tumour strikes down her father and he is incapacitated in hospital, Elsie realises she needs to make some sacrifices, for the sake of her hard-working mother, who is struggling to make ends meet, with no income from Elsie's father. Elsie agrees to take on some of her mother's house-cleaning jobs to give her the time to spend with her husband, before the seemingly inevitable happens. It is whilst cleaning a Southern Society's grand lady's house, that Elsie first meets the handsome, young wealthy grandson, Tyler Vaughn. The attraction between the two is instantaneous, but being aware of her mother's admonition not to do anything that could affect her cleaning job, Elsie is forced to keep her attraction and growing love for Tyler, from her mother. The idea of Tyler ever dating anyone from "the other side of the tracks" is absolutely abhorrent to Tyler's domineering, arrogant and incredibly rude Grandmother, so Tyler also must keep the relationship quiet, on his side, also.
I loved the simple, sweet style of the prose Markstahler writes in. It makes the story very readable and her detailed descriptions of the surroundings gives the reader a wonderful insight into the grandeur of an old, southern, plantation mansion. The interaction and sizzling electricity between Elsie and Tyler is definitely the highlight of the story for me. For readers who love good old-fashioned values, true romance, yet without glossing over our character's flaws and mistakes, then Life Happens on the Stairs will be a rewarding and satisfying read for you.
I enjoyed this story immensely and again, I am pleased and excited to find another, superb, indie author arriving on the literary scene. I expect bigger and even better things from Markstahler in the future. She has definitely hit the mark on this coming-of-age romance. It's a superb debut novel, in my opinion and well worthy of the five stars I'm giving it.
I read a lot! Having said that this is not my “typical” genre. However having said that I really really enjoyed this book. I read it in record time and it is as well written as any other and better than most. The story with its ups and downs is better than I expected. Take note young men Tyler Vaughn exhibits how you are supposed to act towards a young woman. Get to writing Mrs. Marstahler, you are obviously as talented a writer as Elsie is an artist. The reading world deserves more of your stories.
Would love for you to read my authors interview with Soulla Christodoulou.
Check out my interview on The Emit Blackwell Show! Click play on the upper right hand corner of my website and learn more about me and Life Happens on the Stairs!
On June 15, 2018, the Breakthrough Novel Awards announced the winner for 2018 was Life Happens on the Stairs by Amy J. Markstahler. Please check out the website for more information.