by Christina Meldrum

Gallery Books, $15.00, 365 pages

From outside appearances, the Slepy family has it all: Dick is a successful pathologist, providing well for his wife Seena and their four children, The Marys (Mary Catherine, Mary Tessa and Mary Grace) — all beautiful and blonde — and their youngest daughter Amaryllis, who is the oddity of the family with her dark hair and blueberry colored eyes. However, appearances are deceiving and as the story unfolds it reveals how the Slepy’s, both individually and as a family, are slowly falling apart.

Amaryllis In Blueberry is a mesmerizing record of a family in crisis, led there by secrecy, lies and denial. It is compelling and agonizing to witness as each character implodes and puts the entire family at the breaking point. From Michigan to the sweeping landscapes of West Africa, the author is skilled at weaving a tale that is impossible to put down.  The only detractor to the story is the continued appearance of Clara, the neighbor, which always seems disjointed and adds little to the plot. With the Slepy family, Christina Meldrum has created a fascinating portrait of a family as their individual secrets collectively destroy them.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern