The haunting tale of one exceptionally disturbed family unfolds in this gripping page-turner. Locked away from the world behind heavy drapes in a house with no mirrors, Aslaug Hellig grew up with her intelligent and overbearing mother Maren, who had told her that she was the product of immaculate conception. Though extremely knowledgeable about the local flora and other bookish pursuits, Aslaug is veritably clueless in social situations. When Maren dies suddenly, Aslaug’s world shatters. Alone and frightened, she goes to stay with her estranged aunt and cousins until their suspicious demise. As the narrative moves between her trial for murder in the present and the past that led up to it, the Helligs’ shocking truth is slowly revealed. Though Aslaug’s situation is hardly conventional, the author does a spectacular job of making the unbelievable credible. A markedly intelligent offering mixing lush descriptions of plants, history, science and religion, this should surely spark interest among a wide array of readers. With this spellbinding debut, Meldrum marks herself as an author to watch.