Amaryllis in Blueberry
By Christina Meldrum
(Gallery Books, Hardcover, 9781439156896, 384pp.)
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
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In the stirring tradition of The Secret Life of Bees and The Poisonwood Bible, Amaryllis in Blueberry explores the complexity of human relationships set against an unforgettable backdrop. Told through the haunting voices of Dick and Seena Slepy and their four daughters, Christina Meldrum’s soulful novel weaves together the past and the present of a family harmed—and healed—by buried secrets.
“Maybe, unlike hope, truth couldn’t be contained in a jar. . . .”
Meet the Slepys: Dick, the stern doctor, the naïve husband, a man devoted to both facts and faith; Seena, the storyteller, the restless wife, a mother of four, a lover of myth. And their children, the Marys: Mary Grace, the devastating beauty; Mary Tessa, the insistent inquisitor; Mary Catherine, the saintly, lost soul; and finally, Amaryllis, Seena’s unspoken favorite, born with the mystifying ability to sense the future, touch the past, and distinguish the truth tellers from the most convincing liar of all.
When Dick insists his family move from Michigan to the unfamiliar world of Africa for missionary work, he can’t possibly foresee how this new land and its people will entrance and change his daughters—and himself—forever.
Nor can he predict how Africa will spur his wife Seena toward an old but unforgotten obsession. In fact, Seena may be falling into a trance of her own. . . .
Christina Meldrum received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and political science from the University of Michigan. After working in grassroots development in Africa, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She has worked for the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, and as a litigator at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is on the advisory board of Women of the World Investments.
“A gripping and satisfying read. First you'll race to the end, then you'll tell everyone you know to read it--partly for their benefit, partly so you'll be able to talk about it with someone.” --Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward, Becoming Chloe, Jumpstart the World
"Intoxicating... [Meldrum's] combination of coming-of-age and culture clash narratives has a seductive intensity." -- Publisher's Weekly
"With Amaryllis in Blueberry, Christina Meldrum has woven a beautifully layered, intensely emotional story, with unforgettable characters whose voices will remain with you long after their secrets have been revealed." --Michelle Richmond, author of the New York Times and international bestseller The Year of Fog
"Christina Meldrum pierces the facade of a middle American family, exposing the heart of each individual through the unflinching voices of the others. Her keen, distinct prose pulls you into a world both mystical and recognizable. A uniquely memorable read that will stay with you long after you turn the last page." -- Carol Cassella, national bestselling author of Oxygen and Healer
“Meldrum keeps the reader wanting to know more about the family through carefully intertwined story lines . . . Readers will compare this work to Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible—and that is OK. It involves a different family in a different set of circumstances but with the same satisfying result.” – Library Journal