A Bookaholic, Pro-life, Pro-Family, Pro-Oxford Comma, Catholic (with Asperger's) who reads and writes as her obsession. I've been reading over 400 books a year lately. These are my ramblings on some of the books I read. To read about all the books I read and comment on, visit me at LibraryThing or Goodreads.

I've been blogging since 2007 and at this point (July 2015) am trying my hand at turning the theme of this blog towards mystery, thriller, and crime, fiction and nonfiction. I have some special interest topics and categories within this broad genre which include (but are not limited to) serial killers, scandi-crime, Victorian history and historicals, history of the criminally insane and asylums, psychopathology, death, funerary practices and burial, corpses, true crime and anything dealing with the real life macabre, or that portrayed in fiction.

I also read a short story a day from various collections, sometimes anthologies othertimes collections of a single author's work. These reviews are also posted here and while they are of mixed genre the mystery, thriller, horror, gothic and macabre often appear within their pages as well.

I also blog about
graphic novels and manga on a separate BLOG.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

81. Madapple

Madapple by Christina Meldrum

Pages: 410
Finished: May 4, 2008
First Published: May 13, 2008
Genre: YA, literary fiction
Rating: 4/5

Reason for Reading: Received a review copy from Random House Canada. and qualifies for the YA challenge

First sentence:
The women resemble schoolgirls with gangly limbs, ruddy cheeks, plaited flaxen hair; they walk holding hands.

Comments: Aslaug has been raised by her mother in near isolation in a rural area with only one nearby neighbour. They spend much of their time gathering plants and Aslaug knows the properties of every plant in the area. They eat what they forage, nuts, seeds, roots, grains and teas. Then Maren, Aslaug's mother dies and Aslaug finds relatives she knew nothing about and she moves from one kind of isolation to another. She learns the secret of her birth, her mother's insistence of her virgin birth and as each family secret is uncovered the reality becomes darker and more horrendous. As the book opens we find Aslaug on trial for a double homicide.

This is an immensely deep and powerful book. It reads as a modern dark fairy tale. There is an ethereal quality to the story which feels as if it comes from the same place as one's dreams or nightmares. Religion plays a big part from controversial topics and theology of the Essenes to the pagan beginnings of Christianity to waiting for the return of the Messiah. Darker topics of child abuse, rape and incest add to the potent force of the book.

I was hooked from the first chapter. The short court scenes that alternated with the lyrical narrative propelled my reading along and I found it very difficult to put down. This is quite unlike any book I've read before. I wonder if perhaps it's a bit deep for a YA book and would hesitate to recommend it for under 16s but otherwise highly recommended.

I'll leave you with one of my favourite passages:

And yet, the more Mother teaches me science, the more cracks I see, and the more cracks it seems Mother must see. Science describes the world; it doesn't explain it; it can describe the universe's formation, but it can't explain why such an event would have occurred, how something can come from nothing. That's the miracle.


  1. I love the cover and it sounds like a great book. It's one I hadn't heard of before so thanks so much for the review. Will definitely add this to my list.

  2. Yes, it is beautiful isn't it!

  3. This does sound good! I will have to keep an eye out for it when it comes out. Thank you for the great review, Nicola!

  4. Awesome! This sounds like something I'd really like. Thanks for the review :)

  5. I like the title and cover, and you've certainly intrigued me. Thanks for the review, I'll check this one out.

  6. This sounds very good. I'll be putting it on my list.