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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 1/4/2011
  • Publisher: Vintage

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Named for a flower whose blood-red sap possesses the power both to heal and poison, Bloodroot is a stunning fiction debut about the legacies--of magic and madness, faith and secrets, passion and loss--that haunt one family across the generations, from the Great Depression to today.

The novel is told in a kaleidoscope of seamlessly woven voices and centers around an incendiary romance that consumes everyone in its path: Myra Lamb, a wild young girl with mysterious, haint blue eyes who grows up on remote Bloodroot Mountain; her grandmother Byrdie Lamb, who protects Myra fiercely and passes down "the touch" that bewitches people and animals alike; the neighbor boy who longs for Myra yet is destined never to have her; the twin children Myra is forced to abandon but who never forget their mother's deep love; and John Odom, the man who tries to tame Myra and meets with shocking, violent disaster.

Against the backdrop of a beautiful but often unforgiving country, these lives come together--only to be torn apart--as a dark, riveting mystery unfolds. With grace and unflinching verisimilitude, Amy Greene brings her native Appalachia--and the faith and fury of its people--to rich and vivid life. Here is a spellbinding tour de force that announces a dazzlingly fresh, natural-born storyteller in our midst.

“Some novels are so powerful, so magical in their sweep and voice, that they leave you feeling drugged. . . . Bloodroot, set in the bone-poor hollows of the eastern Tennessee mountains, is such a book.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Masterful. . . . A fascinating and authentic look at a rural world full of love and life, dreams and disappointment.” —The Boston Globe

“If Wuthering Heights had been set in southern Appalachia, it might have taken place on Bloodroot Mountain…. Brooding, dark and beautifully imagined.” —The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“That rare sort of family story that feels intimate instead of epic. . . . Alluring and wonderful.” —Louisville Courier-Journal

Greene’s prose will cast a spell on you.” —Glamour

Author Biography

Amy Greene was born and raised in the foothills of East Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, where she lives with her husband and two children.

From the Hardcover edition.



Myra looks like her mama, but prettier because of her daddy mixed in. She got just the right amount of both. The best thing about Myra's daddy was his eyes, blue as the sky. They'd pierce right through you. Myra ended up with the same blue-blue eyes. I always figured she was too pretty and then John Odom came along. Now I'll die alone. It's not that I'm scared of being alone with this mountain. I love it like another person. I just miss my grandbaby. Me and Myra's mama wasn't close. Clio had little regard for me or Macon either one. Myra's the daughter I always wished I had.

I didn't see nothing wrong with John Odom at first, but even if I'd seen that snake coiled up inside his heart I wouldn't have tried to stop her. I could tell by her eyes Myra had to have him whatever the outcome. Now I know the outcome is no good. This morning I went to see her and it broke my heart in two. I can't stand to think about what he might be doing to her beside of them tracks. Through the years I got tougher than a pine knot, but something about getting this old has softened me up. I reckon I have too much time to think about my troubles these days, without Myra here to talk to.

I should have seen what was coming after that time she got in late from the library. She was supposed to have been studying with one of her school friends. But I caught a funny shine in her eyes. "What have you been up to?" I asked.

She went to the sink and got a glass of water, gulped it down like she'd been in a race. She turned around and her cheeks looked hot. She smiled with water shining on her lips. "I'll tell you later, Granny, I promise. Right now I want to keep it just for me."

"You're silly," I said, but the way her eyes shined made me nervous. Then I got busy tidying up the kitchen before bed and forgot all about it.

When I finally laid down, I fell asleep as quick as my head hit the pillow. Thinking back, it was an unnatural sleep, like I had drunk a sleeping potion. I had a dream that I was standing on a rickety bridge over muddy water. The roar of it was so loud I couldn't hear nothing else. Then I seen there was things getting carried off in the rapids. It was pieces of our house on Bloodroot Mountain. The leg off of my favorite chair. The quilt I made for Myra when she was a baby. A drawer out of the kitchen buffet. A baby doll Myra used to play with. Some floorboards and a few shingles and even the front door came rolling by. Then there was a crack and my foot went through the boards of that old bridge. It started coming apart, jagged pieces dropping and rushing away, until I was hanging on by a scrap of rotten wood, my feet dangling over the water. If I fell it would carry me off, too. Finally I couldn't hold on no longer. Just as I was dropping, I jerked awake, wringing wet with sweat. I set up on the side of the bed, heart thudding so hard I was afraid it might give out on me. I should have knowed right then. Grandmaw Ruth always said it's bad luck to dream of muddy waters.


Last night I closed the door to the smokehouse where the bloodroot is kept in cardboard boxes, away from the mice and bugs. I stood there with my back against it, looking across the yard. The house was dark with my parents sleeping and all my brothers gone. Behind barbwire the pasture made a chain of starlit humps. I took the feedbag, heavy with corn, to the barn on quivering legs. The cows are sold and the field was still, but from the barn came fitful knocking sounds. Wild Rose never rests. Daddy had to put her up because she's been getting loose more often. I think I know why. Myra Lamb is gone from her house down the mountain and Rose has been looking for her.

I went to the black opening of the barn and turned on my flashlight. The knocking sounds stopped at once. I could sense Wild Rose waiting for me in the shadows of her stall. The smells of manure and damp hay turned my stomach. Walki

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Customer Reviews

An excellent book April 20, 2011
I can't imagine that this author found a way to weave the voices of so many characters together to tell one story in such a way that kept me mesmerized from the very beginning and never faltered. This story gives a small window into the misery of domestic abuse, mental illness, the strong loyalty of families and their stubborn desire for privacy. It has a sense of timelessness, as the people seem to be living as they did a hundred years ago. I don't often leave reviews, but this textbook has touched my heart. Ecampus provided excellent customer service, therefore, I will, without a doubt purchase books from this company in the future.
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Bloodroot: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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