Gorgeous Read – “Amaryllis in Blueberry” by Christina Meldrum
Christina Meldrum’s “Amaryllis in Blueberry” is that kind of book.
The story of a family uprooted from their Michigan lives to west Africa after the father (Dick) thinks he’s figured out that his wife (Seena) has cheated on him with a Native American man from the area. Three of the family’s four daughters look identical, but the fourth looks nothing like her sisters, and has never fit in. Dick, a doctor, decides that taking the family to Africa will be the best way to keep his wife faithful. Little does he know that he’s not entirely right about his “cheating with the Native American” theory.
Meanwhile, the four daughters are all coming of age and dealing with their own issues. The eldest, Mary Grace, is pregnant after a summer rendezvous with a neighborhood boy. Mary Catherine is deeply religious and fasting to a dangerous point. Mary Tessa is cruel but observant, and probably the real voice of reason in the family. Amaryllis (the youngest, and the one who doesn’t fit in) sees things no one else sees.
Told through a different perspective in each chapter, the story jumps around through time. As the book opens, Seena is on trial in Africa for Dick’s murder. From there, we go back to the beginning to see how things got to this point. The end is surprising, yet – after all is said and done – not that shocking.
Part realistic, part mystical, “Amaryllis in Blueberry” is one of the most wonderful books I’ve ever read. It reminded me of two more excellent books – Barbara Kingsolver’s “The Poisonwood Bible” and Anita Diamant’s “The Red Tent.”
It’s a spell-binding read.
I was sad when it was over.
I can’t say enough about it.