Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum is another novel that will make my favorites list this year! This novel is so beautifully written and full of emotion, both good and bad, that it will capture you from the beginning and not let go until you turn the very last page and truthfully not even then; I’m still thinking about this story. Also, this cover – have you ever seen anything so beautiful!
This story is different in that it starts with the ending. Yes, strange but once you read the book, very fitting. The author does not give away the whole ending – just pieces that are revealed bit by bit as you come towards the actual end of the novel. It’s also a story that jumps around a lot – different narrators and there is always the before and the after and even while in Africa the story jumps back to Michigan with more background. While it may sound like it would be confusing, it isn’t. Amazingly it all flows so well – one piece into the next until you are just left amazed by the way the story unfolds before your eyes.
The Slepy’s are a dysfunctional family to say the least. You know that right off the start. There is Dick and Seena and their four daughters – Mary Grace, Mary Catherine, Mary Tessa, and Amaryllis who was born in a blueberry patch and is considered the strangest of her family with her very wild imagination. The thing is that Yllis as they call Amaryllis is special; she can see and feel what others can’t. She is also more special to her mother at the expense of the other girls for reasons that become apparent as you read on through the novel.
Seena is an emotionally distant mother who seems more buried in her books than anything else. She doesn’t see anything around her or if she does she just brushes it off. She is so distant and involved in herself that she doesn’t see truly scary behaviors manifesting in any of her girls. Dick is a father who is a devout Catholic and very particular about the ways in which he wants things to be. When this doesn’t happen and he begins to see huge breaks in his family structure he asks his priest what he should do. The answer – pick up and move your entire family to Africa and become a medical missionary. Dick, wanting nothing more than to run from his personal demons, does just this.
Even before Africa the girls, especially Mary Grace and Mary Catherine, had problems. However, upon arriving in Africa, everything spirals out of control for all of them. Dick and Seena, as usual, seem preoccupied with themselves until the things happening with their girls become to big for even them to ignore. I hate to say too much because I don’t want to give away the heart of the story and it is the development of these characters and their issues in this novel that will be what grabs you and twists you in many different directions. The story jumps from each of the girls to Seena and Dick, growing with momentum, until we come to the startling ending that even I didn’t see coming.
Amaryllis in Blueberry is the perfect novel for a book club. I really wish I had a group of people I could have discussed Amaryllis in Blueberry with and luckily for book groups there is a Reading Group Guide on the author’s website. This novel spans many topics ranging from marriage, infidelity, faith, love, eating disorders, cutting, and probably many more. It is an emotionally complex and deep novel; one that will leave you thinking about it’s dynamics long after you’ve finished it. Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum is a novel I would recommend for those who like literary fiction.
You can pick up your own copy of Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum here in the US and here in Canada. Christina’s first novel is called Madapple and I purchased it after reading this one and can’t wait for some time to pick it up. This is an author that I’ll be watching in the hopes of more novels. Be sure to visit Christina Meldrum’s website for more information on her work.
© 2010, Darlene of Peeking Between the Pages. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Peeking Between the Pages or Darlene’s Feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.
My copy of Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum was received for review from Inkwell Management.
I hadn't even heard of this till now. The storyline sounds very good.
Wall-to-wall books says
Oh my gosh! That cover is Gorgeous!!!! Sounds like a nice book! Thanks Dar.
Dar, never heard of this book but I'm glad you wrote a review about it. The story seems to be a good one! Thanks!
This sounds wonderful and the cover art is gorgeous. I'll be adding it to my wishlist.
Literary Feline says
I love the cover and the book sounds like its definitely worth reading. Thanks for your great review, Darlene.
Glad to hear this will make your list of favorites…I'm looking forward to reading it!
Ok, your summary and reaction to this book convinced me that I need to read this right away, Dar! Excellent and thoughtful review! I am really intrigued by the premise of this book and want to find out what's behind it all!
What a lovely book cover! Thanks for the recommendation Dar 😉
Rebecca Rasmussen says
I have heard wonderful things about this book!
Tribute Books Mama says
Sounds like a nice book, and great cover.
My book club did read this and we had a great discussion – I'll be posting about it next week.
Great review. It does sound like a wonderful novel with many levels
As one that like to read about families, this one is on my radar. Great review.
I just got done reading a glowing review of this one at Mari's site Bookworm with a View and now your awesome review has assured me that I will be reading this one for sure!!
Georgia Girls says
Absolutely gorgeous book cover! I belong to two book clubs — two very different groups of people. I'll have to keep this in mind. Great review! (Thanks for entering my meet-n-greet giveaway. I'm following back.)
Love that color blue. That bouncing back and forth between time always really bothers me though.
Thanks for a wonderful review Darlene. I don't usually enjoy long reviews but yours draw me in and you always give enough to make a decision if I want to read it or not without giving away to much.
I have many favourite bloggers but you are definitely one of my top favourite review bloggers.
And I agree this cover is Gorgeous, adding to the Wishlist.
(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea says
I just love the sound of this book, and that cover…well, just love it!
Those colors are so vivid on the cover! Wow!
I am reading this now Dar and I am enjoying the setting of Africa. I am anxious to see how it will all end. I am only halfway through the book and I agree it is a great choice for book clubs. So much to discuss. Great review!
Alice Teh says
I only just read a few really nice reviews about this book today, Dar. Yours is now one of them. The story is good and I like the cover too!
Wow, I'm so glad you enjoyed this book so much! It's our book club pick for April, so I'm glad to see it makes a great discussion book.