Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Alonquin Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Literary Fiction
Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when they were kids. As adults, they've been estranged for years, until circumstances force them to come together to protect Rose's daughter. Ten-year-old Antoinette has a severe form of autism that requires constant care and attention. She has never spoken a word, but she has a powerful gift that others would give anything to harness: she can heal things with her touch. She brings wilted flowers back to life, makes a neighbor's tremors disappear, changes the normal course of nature on the Kentucky flower farm where she and her mother live.
Antoinette's gift, though, puts her own life in danger, as each healing comes with an increasingly deadly price. As Rose—the center of her daughter's life—struggles with her own failing health, and Lily confronts her anguished past, they, and the men who love them, come to realize the sacrifices that must be made to keep this very special child safe.
Written with great heart and a deep understanding of what it feels like to be “different,” The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin is a novel about what it means to be family, and about the lengths to which people will go to protect the ones they love.
THE PECULIAR MIRACLES OF ANTOINETTE MARTIN by Stephanie Knipper is mainly a story about family, homecoming, with a dash of magic realism. It's a picturesque story about sisters and how the birth of Antoinette change the whole dynamic between them. Although my story is very different from Lucy and Rose's, I immediately connected to the storyline because I had my son very young and my sister was very close to us mostly because of how close in age we all are.
Here are my highlights:
- THE PECULIAR MIRACLES OF ANTOINETTE MARTIN is an easy read. SKnipper painted pretty scenes, cut through the prose, and shined the spotlight on the emotional landscape of the story. It's very poignant and even touching on some parts.
- Antoinette's autism is very severe, there are a few chapters told from her POV and you can feel her frustration. I'm not very familiar with autism so I can't say if SKnipper's depiction is accurate or realistic, I was taken by Antoinette though and immediately felt empathy for her situation.
- Though the backstory of each relationship is told, I felt like it skimmed the surface. Like a lot of things and emotions were taken for granted and no hashing out happened to justify the emotional closures and resolutions that occured in the end.
- There's a slight slant to magic realism via Antoinette's gift but it didn't drive the plot. Lily and Rose's relationship is the focus more than anything else.
I breezed through THE PECULIAR MIRACLES OF ANTOINETTE MARTIN, I love all the extras like simplified science-y talks, trivia about the meaning of flowers, and a lot of food porn! And even if I wanted SKnipper to have dug deep in terms of the relationships, I liked how things flowed between all the characters. There's kinship and definitely love between all of them which made for a few touching scenes. THE PECULIAR MIRACLES OF ANTOINETTE MARTIN is a good literary fiction tale, it's easy and touching, definitely something you'd want to read with your own sister or bestie.