Aslaug has grown up in a strange sort of captivity with her mother Maren. Their home is sealed against anyone who might intrude though the mother and daughter wander freely over the land that surrounds their Maine home, gathering the plants and flowers they need for food and for medicine. Aslaug has known only this life. When her mother dies, she leaves the only world she has known and heads out to find more. Perhaps she will learn who her father really was. Whether by chance or design, Aslaug finds remnants of her family and enters into the home of Sara and her children, Sanne and Rune. Sara is a pentecostal minister who, at first, seems to be able to provide what Aslaug has lacked in the past. However, Sara's reality is, too, strange, and Aslaug is once again submerged into a world where nothing seems right or real or welcoming.
Plant lore, trial transcripts, mythology, and religion combine in this rich tapestry of allusion, simile, metaphor, and much more. This debut novel from Christina Meldrum has already garnered a few starred reviews and deservedly so. The fine line between reality and the supernatural remains taut throughout; the language is rich with deeply woven threads forming a picture that is arresting and thought provoking. I want to pair this one with Nancy Werlin's IMPOSSIBLE and even with Mary Pearson's THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. This trinity would make an interesting trio of books that explore identity and family and so much more.