In Meldrum's first adult novel, an uncommunicative family moves to Africa to become medical missionaries because of a whim of the father, a pathologist. When the family leaves Michigan for Africa in 1976, they have no idea what to expect and little knowledge of the area to which they are transported.
Although the plot sounds a little like The Poisonwood Bible, the similarities end there. Meldrum's disfunctional Slepy family consists of parents and their four daughters, each seemingly lost to their own thoughts. A rotating perspective gives us a glimpse of everyone's view, but of all the daughters, Amaryllis, the youngest, is the only one with any real instincts. Her father, along with her sisters, believes she is not his child and despite it being the elephant in the corner, her mother remains strangely silent on the topic which festers and drives them all to various levels of insanity.
This is an unusual story complete with well-drawn characters and a vivid setting. Fans of women's psychological fiction may find much to enjoy in Meldrum's latest.