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Review by Suze
Poppy's mother is an addict. She's only interested in her next fix and Poppy is lonely and scared. When her grandparents find out about her existence they rescue the abused, malnourished and neglected Poppy from the clutches of her mother. Poppy's grandparents are loving people. They live on a remote farm with a beautiful garden and it's there that Poppy finally finds a chance to heal. She's no longer the frightened mousy Poppy and becomes Sam. Sam is courageous and her long white blonde hair makes her stunning and mysterious.
Sam is growing up on the farm and her days are filled with a lot more kindness and happiness than she received when she was Poppy. Her grandparents are slowly getting older, so eventually she will have to take care of them as well as they have taken care of her. The garden is Sam's sanctuary. She knows every plant by name and lovingly nurtures the flowers. Sam can't forget her past though and it's always there in the background, waiting to come back to haunt her. Will Sam be ready to face it when she finds it on her doorstep?
Bone Meal for Roses is a very special story. Reading about Poppy's life brought tears to my eyes. Fortunately the love of her grandparents has a healing effect and their kindness moved me to tears. With their love and guidance Sam becomes a stunning independent woman. I loved how unique Miranda Sherry has made Sam's personality. She's a loner, but she's never lonely. She loves with all her heart in her own beautiful way and there's enough room for her grandparents, her best friend, the garden and later a man. Sam had a difficult start in life, but she's a fighter and I admired her strength. She doesn't always know what to do or how to handle certain situations, but she does try over and over again. She's an impressive main character and her story will stay with me for a very long time.
Miranda Sherry has chosen a gorgeous setting for her book. I immediately fell in love with the dream garden she writes about. She makes every aspect of it come to life incredibly well. I could easily picture the vibrant colors of the flowers, the tender and heartwarming way they're being cared for and the significance of the place for several of the main characters. Bone Meal for Roses is precious, moving and absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed reading this fantastic original story.
If you like special stories with interesting main characters and beautiful writing Bone Meal for Roses is an excellent choice.
About Miranda Sherry
Miranda Sherry grew up in Johannesburg in a house filled with books, and was seven when she began writing stories. A few decades, numerous strange jobs (including puppeteer, bartender and musician), and many manuscripts later, Black Dog Summer was published by Head of Zeus.
Miranda’s second published novel, Bone Meal for Roses (also Head of Zeus), will be released in September 2016 in the UK.
Her first novel, Days Like Glass, was shortlisted for the EU Literary Award in South Africa in 2005.
Miranda currently lives in Johannesburg with her sort-of-husband and two weird cats.
Find out more at http://www.mirandasherry.com/
A girl in a garden
By Miranda Sherry
By Miranda Sherry
It was a picture in my mind that wouldn’t let me be… Her features were unclear, and her shape was vague, but still, I kept seeing her. The girl. She was young, teetering on the brink of puberty, unprepared for the strangeness and power of her own upcoming adolescence, and utterly alone in an isolated garden. I kept being drawn to the image of this person, who seemed to have taken up residence in my head, and slowly, around her, questions began to form.
What would happen when her sexuality kicked in? What would she do if she happened upon a man, someone who brought up a whole host of new, extraordinary feelings inside her? How would she wield her new-found feminine power without any real understanding of the world, and with no one to guide her? Would she become dangerous because of it? Would she be a danger to herself?
This image, in its cloud of questions and confusions, became the inspiration for Poppy, the young girl at the heart of Bone Meal for Roses. By visiting this intriguing vision, over and an over again, and asking more and more questions, a thought became a story, and an idea became the character of a girl in the garden, struggling to find her way as her familiar world is slowly transformed into a realm of nightmares.
At the beginning of the book, Poppy, half-wild with neglect, is brought to live with her grandparents in a flower-filled, isolated garden in the Breed Valley in the Cape. Here, Poppy succumbs to the magic of her surroundings, and her traumatized memories start to fade and her wounds begin to heal. But as Poppy grows up into a strange, fierce and beautiful young woman, her childhood fears resurface. Seeking escape, she runs into the arms of a married man across the valley, and her world begins to spin out of control.
I have to admit, considering it was such a subtle glimmer that started this whole journey for me, there’s an extraordinary sense of the bizarre now that I can actually hold Bone Meal for Roses in my hands. This solid, paper object, with its vivid cover, barcode and lovely inky smell was once just a blurry sort of shape inside my mind. How did the one, transient, diaphanous thing become the other?
The answer is pragmatic, and the very opposite of romantic: two years of hard work. Hours and hours of research and writing and doubt and deleting. Days of being pretty sure that the whole idea was crazy, and would never come to anything. But, here, on the other side of all that turmoil, I have a book in my hands… and that vague image of a girl in a garden? Well, she belongs to everyone now.
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