‘Amanita reached into her jacket and prised the letter from between her iPod and her headphones. She gazed at the writing on the front for a moment. It’s eloquent loops and scrawl communicating her father’s handwriting style – something she had never known before. Then she opened it.’
This is a languid novel about the lost love of a late father through emerging teen independence, set amid the broad beauty of North England, and the sumptuous rainfall of the South American tropics.
Amanita Walmer never knew her father, the renowned botanist Dr Virgil Walmer, as he died weeks before she was born. When Amanita travels up to Durham University to begin her undergraduate degree she realises many of her home comforts and old friendships have vanished, and has to face up to her life as a single woman navigating challenging studies and the world of lustful men, previously unknown to her.
When old friend from Amberleigh Samuel Mills pays a visit to her dorm room, her suppressed desire for male companionship and her longing for home combine in a passionate outburst. They begin to date. As Amanita’s year progresses, a rain-cloud of grief for her lost father begins to rear its head, and she discovers that she has always missed what she never had. However when she is suddenly called home to Amberleigh to attend a family incident, her growing confidence is set into stark relief. Confronted with the love she feels for her family, and the path she has built for herself, can Amanita summon the latent courage she inherited from her intrepid father, and allow her own independent spirit to finally bloom?
In this eloquent exploration of burgeoning independence, Amanita Walmer and the Amberleigh Flower portrays what it is like to leave home for the first time, the strains put on friendships that were once thought eternal, and the lasting marks of an unknown fatherhood.
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