At the heart of the story is the life of Meridia and the individuals that come in and out of her life as she grows from an insecure child into a really clever woman. It all starts with meeting Meridia as a child, living in a dysfunctional home with estranged parents; the house is winter-cold in the dead of summer, the stairs stretch and shrink on a whim, ghosts fight for a reflection in the mirror, and with the dawn and evening comes a colored mist that practically knocks on the front door. In the first lines, it is obvious that Gabriel is a monster of a father that remains hidden in his study all hours of the day while leaving the house in a blue mist at nightfall to be with his mistress. Ravenna is a loyal wife turned spiteful and weaves a literal dark language around herself as she refrains from leaving the kitchen, subcombing to a life of depression and forgetfulness.
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Then the story follows Meridia's adulthood and follows the family she will become apart of by marrying the love of her life, Daniel. Meridia meets Daniel at the Festival of the Spirits after stepping on his foot and stalking him for a day. It is a traditional romance that leads her into the next chapter of her young life. After living in a home where she was, on a daily basis, degraded and forgotten, Daniel's family is like fresh air in Meridia's lungs.
Unfortunately, Meridia's idea and promise of a new life turn upside down as Daniel's family reveal their true nature. Her father-in-law, Elias, is a jeweler that owns a shop and escapes into his books to avoid his wife, Eva. Meridia learns that Eva is the source of conflict, a woman talented enough to conjure-up bees that to enrage and manipulate the members of her household. Eva's two daughters, Malin and Permony, are pinned against one another while the mother-in-law rivals in breaking Daniel and Meridia's relationship; blinding them all to her involvement and clues to her own past. It is obvious that this family is as full of secrets as the cold house of Monarch Street that Meridia once called home.
A majority of the story revolves around the events and fights between Eva and Meridia, both challenging one another for control of Daniel and proving their identity. It started with Meridia overhearing a conversation that berated her marriage which launches into a quiet war of making life hard for Eva, channeling into a domestic dispute that results in Meridia leaving Daniel to live with her parents. Meridia learns that she is pregnant and, despite her Gabriel's threat of taking her back a second time, lives with Daniel in a house free of his family's involvement. After Noah is born, another series of events transpire between Eva and Meridia ranging from an accident that left a scar on her son's forehead too the disturbing death of Elias and later, Permony
Malin is married-off and gives birth to a stillborn son, altering her austere and ruthless personality while Permony gives birth, also a son, and dies shortly afterwards due to over-exaggeration; Eva had turned her out and forced her to return to an awful marriage for the sake of holding onto her own money and success all the while Meridia's family is undergoing their own battle. Gabriel leaves Ravenna for good only to die shortly afterwards in the dead of night in a bed of ice. It is a matter of time before Ravenna follows him, turning into a cloud of fireflights that visits Meridia each night.
The story ends with Meridia divorcing Daniel and living in her father's house with her son, a long and lonely life awaits. Regardless of his intentions, Daniel is unable to convince her to come back to him until his mother is gone for good. It is a stunning result when Meridia stumbles onto an elderly Eva that is immobile and mute, laying in her own waste. She takes pity on the woman and agrees to come back to Daniel after he is done taking care of his mother's every need.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked this story because is it creative and genuine in its representation of family dynamics and emotional depth of the characters. Also, the fantastical elements are unbeatable in presenting raw-human attitudes and behavior.
Best scene in story:
Midway through the story, their is a scene where Meridia leaves Daniel, her husband, and returns to her father's house. After a few days, Daniel along with Elias and Eva, his parents, pay a visit to demand an apology, money, a divorce while Daniel is begging to have Meridia back in his arms. It is my favorite because Eva takes the house by storm, talks over Gabriel, Meridia' father, all the while Ravenna, Meridia's mother, comes like a shadow alongside the wall and full-on slaps Eva into silence. It is a moving scene and the gesture that launches Meridia into holding her ground through the remaining chapters of the book.
Opinion about the main character:
Meridia is depicted in the story as being a child raised on her own, lonely and knowing very little about others. I like her for the reason that she used her father's berating treatment of her and her mother's forgetfulness of her existence to fight for the things she wanted in life. I respect her confidence and inability to be fooled, Meridia learns her value. I dislike that she can come across as arrogant and prideful but it comes from her parents.