Thursday, February 10, 2011 Posted by Dina N
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...
Amaryllis in Blueberry is a beautifully written book that you may love, hate, or alternate between the two. The Slepys family is perfect on the outside but ripe with conflicting emotions, betrayal and secrets under the surface. They take on a mission to West Africa in an attempt to help the sick and poor but to also save their family from destruction. The story opens as Seena, the wife and mother, is tried for the murder of her husband. The events leading up to that are revealed in flashbacks, slowly peeling layer after layer until the truth is exposed.
I cannot go into too many details without spoiling the book for you but Amaryllis in Blueberry is a modern-day Greek tragedy that overlaps all sorts of symbolism and really makes one reflect on good, evil, and the gray areas in between.
Disclaimer / Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the book with no obligation for a positive review. No compensation - monetary or in kind - has been obtained for this post. Cover art and book description courtesy of the publisher or PR firm.