In Amy Green’s debut novel, “Bloodroot” she chronicles the lives of one family across three generations on Bloodroot Mountain in the foothills of East Tennessee.
Myra Lamb, a beautiful girl with jet black hair and “haint” blue eyes, was raised by her grandmother. Her mother was killed by a train when she was just a child so she knows no life except running wild and safe on the mountain. This is the only life she ever wants until she meets John Odom. She falls desperately in love and will follow him anywhere, even off Bloodroot Mountain, the only home she’s ever known.
Married life isn’t what young Myra thought it would be as her husband turns mean and abusive. No matter how much her grandmother tried to protect her, love and passion eventually ripped her away from the safety of the mountain.
“Bloodroot” is narrated by five voices - Myra’s grandmother; Myra’s childhood friend; Myra’s twin children, John and Laura; and Myra herself in the end. The family’s love and tragedies are told across many years from the great depression to present day.
Myra’s grandmother and childhood friend tell the story of Myra as a child - what growing up on an isolated beautiful mountain was like and how she touched lives without even trying. There was something special about Myra even as a child.
Myra’s children tell the story of the early years with their mother before she was taken away from them. Myra finishes the story and fills in the parts of her life that no one but she knows the answers to.
Greene tells the story of the love and bonds that tie us together with a sense of mystery. She describes a wild, wonderful mountain full of beauty and magic, with secrets that only its lifelong residents know about. Being born and raised in East Tennessee, Greene speaks truthfully and authentically to the region’s people and its heritage. “Bloodroot” is full of old superstitions and old wives tales.
Greene captures the language of this region with genuine believability - small little words like, “fixin” to do something, that I’ve never heard spoken anywhere but in East Tennessee.
Greene has blown onto the literary scene with a beautiful debut novel that has left me with excitement and eagerness for her future writing. She has a natural gift for storytelling.
Full of vivid imagery and soothing prose, “Bloodroot” is a beautiful look at the place we are all lucky enough to call home. Anyone who loves a good fiction novel, or anyone who wants to read an authentic story of the mountains of East Tennessee should read “Bloodroot.”
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