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Amy Greene, (author).
This stunning debut novel is a triumph of voice and setting. Following one impoverished family from the Depression up through the present, the story is told in six voices and set in a remote region called Bloodroot Mountain, so named for the rare flower that grows there, which can both poison and heal. The family’s struggles with poverty and human cruelty and their endless search for connection are set against the majestic Appalachian landscape, which is evoked in the simplest and most beautiful language. At the center of this dramatic story is Myra Lamb, raised by her loving grandmother and born with sky-blue eyes and a talent for connecting with animals and people. Allowed to run free on the family’s mountaintop, Myra is a charismatic figure who eventually draws the romantic interest of John Odom, the wealthy son of business owners in town. Their marriage, which starts out with so much promise, gradually turns abusive as Myra is imprisoned in her new home and prevented from seeing her grandmother. The long repercussions of their violent relationship, on both Myra’s children and Myra’s own sanity, are played out through the decades as each family member speaks to the lasting effects of John Odom’s hot temper. With a style as elegant as southern novelist Lee Smith’s and a story as affecting as The Color Purple, this debut offers stirring testimony to the resilience of the human spirit.