Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin by Stephanie Knipper

Well.  I'm a few days late getting this read and reviewed for my September reads, but better late than never!  I had a friend recommend this to me.  She knows I love Sara Addison Allen and that wonderful genre of magical realism.  And she was right about this one, too.

Lily and Rose Martin are two sisters who grew up on the family flower farm in Kentucky.  Rose's daughter Antoinette is ten years old and on the severe end of the autism spectrum.  She also has an amazing ability to heal.  As in, putting her hands into dirt and making flowers bloom, touching birds and healing broken wings.  She can hear the music of the earth and every living creature.  She can't talk, but her mind is as clear as a bell.  Her body doesn't obey her mind, and what others see as a profoundly challenged child screaming and biting is in actuality a frustrated child limited by the physical prison of a body that won't obey her commands. The only problem is that when Antoinette really goes in deep with her healing, it causes severe seizures that are in danger of killing her. 

Rose takes care of the flower farm, and finally calls Lily home after years of exile.  Rose is dying.  She's had a heart condition since the day she gave birth to Antoinette, and her time is running out.  Lily must come home to take care of Antoinette and the flower farm.  Rose is not willing to put her daughter in harm's way by trying to cure her heart condition.  It's time to say goodbye.  

Seth, Lily's childhood love, continues to live next door, and has taken part ownership in the flower farm to help Rose.  He's got a connection to Antoinette that helps keep her anchored and calm.  When Lily arrives, Antoinette is angry, frustrated, and definitely not a fan of Lily.  

Geez, this sounds like an incredibly sad story.  It is sad, but it's also pretty wonderful.  It's all about family, friends, love, sacrifice, and understanding.  I for one loved peeking into Antoinette's personality, and seeing the person she really is inside that physical body.  Rose and Lily love each other, but have lots of issues.  And Lily's love for Seth has never faded, but she's afraid to trust him again.  

I haven't even mentioned Will...the doctor who lives next door to Lily and is competition for Seth.  Oh, he'll break your heart.  

Flowers, magic, flower lore, healing, love.  The sister bond.  What a lovely little gem of a book.  

Rating:  7/10 for a novel that has many compelling characters; a story line that may require tissues, and a cover that was hard to resist.  

Available in hardcover and e-book.    

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