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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. . .
Christina Meldrum is an award-winning author and an attorney. Her most recent novel is AMARYLLIS IN BLUEBERRY, published in 2011 by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Her first novel MADAPPLE, published in the United States by Knopf in 2008, was a finalist for the William C. Morris Award and the PEN USA Literary Award, an American Library Association Best Book, a Booklist Editor's Choice, aKirkus Best Book, a New York Public Library Best Book, a Vanity Fair Hot Type Pick and a Chicago Tribune Hot Summer Read. MADAPPLE, translated into Italian, Japanese and German, also was published by Fazi (Italy) in 2009, Tokyo Shogensha (Japan) in 2012 and Random House Germany in 2013. Christina is now at work on her third novel, which will be published by Knopf.
Christina has lived, worked and studied in the United States, Europe and Africa. A former litigator and human rights activist, Christina received her law degree from Harvard Law School and her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, where she double majored in religious studies and political science. As a litigator at the San Francisco office of the law firm of Shearman & Sterling, Christina litigated complex class actions as part of a team and represented individual pro bono clients in political asylum, discrimination and environmental cases. She also has interned with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists, where she lobbied the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the African Commission on Human and People's Rights. She was a research assistant and author for the Harvard Project on School Desegregation and an editor and author for the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Her work in Africa includes grassroots development and micro-financing for Voluntary Workcamps Association of Ghana and Women of the World Investments, an organization that funds women-led businesses in Senegal and for which Christina was an Advisory Board member. She continues to be dedicated to social justice work in the United States and abroad, particularly in the areas of education, women's rights, just economic development and immigration. Most recently she has worked with Liberian aid organizations attempting to provide schooling to children affected by the Ebola crisis, at the reading center at La Escuela de Santiago in Nicaragua, at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Santa Barbara's Warming Center and on immigration reform, particularly with regard to child refugees from Central America.
In addition, Christina is a teacher, panelist, speaker, coach and urban farmer. She has taught creative writing at Squaw Valley Community of Writers and Books Inc's Wordplay Workshop. She has served as a panelist and speaker for the Harvard Law School Women's Leadership Summit, Books Group Expo and Why There Are Words, among others. She has been a commentator and interviewee on public radio, including National Public Radio's Morning Edition with Liane Hansen. She has coached/tutored youth in cross-country, Odyssey of the Mind, high school mock trial and creative writing. She also gardens and raises chickens and is working toward becoming a beekeeper.
Christina recently moved with her family to Santa Barbara, California, although she has strong ties to the San Francisco Bay Area, and to Michigan, where she grew up. She welcomes opportunities to combine her passion for writing and teaching with her commitment to social justice work.
Audio interview with Liane Hansen on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday