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 harmedand healedby 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 daughtersand himselfforever.
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. . . .
Meldrum's style and story capture the reader's attention and easily hold it to the end. Amaryllis in Blueberry holds a trove of literary surprises and plot twists. More importantly, Meldrum's universal message of family resounds, "...souls don't stand alone. What makes a soul a soul is the shared burden and pain, the shared joy: it's the connection between us that carries on." The connections that we share—across continents or just across the dinner table—are at the heart of Meldrum's richly evocative novel. (Reviewed by Megan Shaffer).
Meldrum jumps viewpoints and shifts time and space creating a momentum that masks a lack of imagination. Yet her combination of coming-of-age and culture clash narratives has a seductive intensity.
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...
The book opens with Seena on trial in a native African court for Dick's murder and works its way back to that point in a colorful tale about people who don't know how to communicate with one another.
Meg Waite Clayton, author of the national bestseller, The Wednesday Sisters Amaryllis in Blueberry will stay with readers long after its surprising and satisfying ending, and leave book clubs talking late into the night.
Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward, Becoming Chloe, Jumpstart the World
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.
New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah
Christina Meldrum is a fresh, invigorating new voice in women's fiction. Amaryllis in Blueberry is a beautifully written, completely compelling novel that grabbed me from the very first page and wouldn't let me go. I especially loved the African setting.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Patricia Petrie Addicting and unforgettable Christina Meldrum is an exquisite writer. Amaryllis in Blueberry is scintillating, tantalizing and every morsel is pure delight. Her depiction of an American family in Africa is breathtaking and profoundly informative. I could not put the book down.
Slave Castles A pivotal scene in Amaryllis in Blueberry occurs when the Slepy family visits one of West Africa's slave castles. Though the slave castle in the story isn't mentioned by name, research will lead you to the Elmina and the Cape Coast region located on the coast of Ghana.
Castles were constructed along the coveted West African coast by European traders. The castles were originally built as trading posts and military forts due to their strategic positioning and proximity to the water. Though these trading posts were originally utilized for such items as gold, ivory, timber, and spices, by the late 1400s trade had expanded to include the buying and selling of human cargo in the form of African slaves.
St. George d'Elmina Castle is one of West Africa's oldest standing buildings and still holds the dungeons where an untold number of slaves were imprisoned. Juxtaposed against the sparkling Atlantic, the castle's dank, horrific dungeons shackled thousands of slaves until they passed through "the door of no...
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