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REVIEW: Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christine Meldrum


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. . . .

About the Author

Christina Meldrum received her Bachelor of Arts in religious studies and political science from the University of Michigan. After working in grassroots development in Africa, she earned her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. She was an intern with the International Commission of Jurists in Geneva, Switzerland, and a litigator at the law firm of Shearman & Sterling. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and is on the advisory board of the West African micro-financing organization, Women of the World Investments.


  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (February 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439156891
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439156896

All I can say is WOW!  This book reminds me when I first read The Help and The Secret Life of Bees and has a very strong balance of characters that will make you think.  This is going to be THE book for book groups this year and one that I can't stop thinking about or telling people about.

The story revolves around 4 sisters and their mother and the father is the catalyst for their actions.  Each girl tells her own story and relates the events through their own eyes while interweaving the story between them. Seena, the mother, is the cornerstone and finds ways to intertwine Greek mythology while relating her own history.  Each of the Mary's, Grace, Catie and Tessa are the core while Amaryllis, while still a Mary, is not truly one of the family. Each one is so distinct and the plot so well developed that I hate even saying one word about it because you must read this book!

Just Added:  The ideal of all the girls named Mary is not that uncommon.  My French - Indian Grandmother was one of seven girls all named Mary and of course they went by their middle names.   From what I remember, it was a Catholic thing.  There are two girls in my family, but I am the only Mary. 

I received this book from the publisher at no charge in exchange for my honest review.


  1. This sounds really good and has a beautiful cover. Thanks for the info!

  2. Gorgeous cover. Never heard of it but it sounds good.

  3. This cover completely draws you in, what a wonderful review.

    I loved the movie of Secret Life of Bees and want to read The Help. I am intrigued.

  4. I'm glad you loved it !! This one is in my wishlist, I really have to order it !! =)

  5. The author of Madapple. I remember being very stirred by that book. I have placed Amaryllis in Blueberry on my wish list but it won't stay there long. I can't wait to read it.

  6. This looks soo good, and the cover is so gorgeous and really made me want to read it! Brilliant review.

  7. Thank you, BookHounds! I'm speechless...and I'm the author! Very grateful to you for this lovely review!

    Christina Meldrum, author of AMARYLLIS IN BLUEBERRY

  8. You are Welcome Christine!

    PS --

    The idea of 4 girls in a family all named Mary is very common. My French-Indian Grandmother was one of 7 girls all named Mary. They all went by their middle names as well.

  9. Sounds fascinating. I think I'll add this one to my list.


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