Sunday, March 27, 2011

Amaryllis In Blueberry by Christina Meldrum - Beautiful Prose

Amaryllis in Blueberry

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 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. . . 

What I Can Tell You: I am not sure I loved the story, but I DID love was the writing. The book begged to be read out loud. The beautiful prose made me long for the days of high school when we all read together and broke each part of the book apart, dissecting each character and sentence until we couldn't tell our own life from the life of the book. 

The Marys confused me. I found myself forgetting who was who and having to go back and forth so many times. I wasn't sure if I liked Seena, as a mother, wife or woman. Her confusion, restlessness and favoritism made her unlikable at times. And, we begin with her being on trial for Dick, her husband's murder then goes back to the beginning. I found myself riveted in the first few chapters than it lost something, regaining momentum at different points but still a beautifully written piece of art!

This would make a great book group project!

After checking out Christina Meldrum's website, because of her writing, I am very interested in reading Madapple. 

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest opinion from Simon and Schuster.

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