Author: Christina Meldrum
Publisher: Gallery Books
Published: February 8, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: ARC Gift
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 naive 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.
Amaryllis in Blueberry is the captivating tale of a family ripped from their hometown in Michigan and forced to plant missionary roots in rural Africa. Worlds away from their former lives, Dick and his wife, Seena, must somehow bind their family of four daughters, Mary Grace, Mary Tessa, Mary Catherine, and Amaryllis, together once again. They were lost in a world where they were held together by society, but the lack of a set society might just be what they need to find each other again. But the change in life prompts unexpected changes in Seena and propels their unique little family on a journey of discovery, loss, and ultimately truth.
I received Amaryllis in Blueberry from a fellow book blogger to review, and while this isn’t my normal type of book to review, I was captivated by the story of this strange family and the pseudo-black sheep, Amaryllis. Amaryllis has this unique ability to sense the truth in a sea of lies and to see a bit of the future and the past all at once, making her into a little web of mystery in a story of this family’s journey to discovery. I have to say that Christina Meldrum has an absolutely stunning writing style. Fluid and melodic, she weaves the reader into a world of magic and mystery, showing you slivers of truth along the way and compelling you to keep reading.
While I loved the premise of the story, and the author’s writing was exceptional, I have to admit that the descriptiveness got a bit heavy at times, jarring me from the story, itself. Furthermore, while I loved reading about the family as individuals, I felt that the motives that led Dick to move his family from their Michigan home were a bit too light in the context of the story. All that aside though, the portrayal of two vastly different worlds and lifestyles in Amaryllis in Blueberry was exceptional, and was probably the highlight of the book for me. I simply would have liked a bit more tension, I suppose, to propel the book towards the climax.
Amaryllis in Blueberry is definitely more adult than the books I normally read, but I’m trying to broaden my literary horizons and open this blog up to a bit more. All in all, it was a good book, and one that I’d highly recommend to those who normally enjoy adult novels. I give it a 3.5 out of 5, and fans of contemporary fiction are sure to enjoy it.