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Authors: Stephanie Knipper

Tags: #Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Magical Realism, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Family Life

The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin: A Novel

BOOK: The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin: A Novel
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The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin: A Novel
Stephanie Knipper
Algonquin Books (2016)
Rating: ★★★★☆
Tags: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Magical Realism, Romance, Contemporary, Family Life
Fictionttt Contemporary Womenttt Magical Realismttt Romancettt Contemporaryttt Family Lifettt

In the spirit of Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s
The Language of Flowers
--and with a touch of the magical--
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
is a spellbinding debut about a wondrously gifted child and the family that she helps to heal.  

Sisters Rose and Lily Martin were inseparable when growing up on their family’s Kentucky flower farm yet became distant as adults when Lily found herself unable to deal with the demands of Rose’s unusual daughter. But when Rose becomes ill, Lily is forced to return to the farm and to confront the fears that had driven her away.

Rose’s daughter, ten-year-old Antoinette, has a 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 with her touch. She brings wilted flowers back to life, makes a neighbor’s tremors disappear, and even changes the course of nature on the flower farm.

Antoinette’s gift, though, comes at a price, since each healing puts her own life in jeopardy. As Rose--the center of her daughter’s life--struggles with her own failing health and Lily confronts her anguished past, the sisters, 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.

“This is the kind of book that invites you home, sits you down at the kitchen table, and feeds you something delicious and homemade. You will want to stay in this world where new relationships bloom out of broken ones, sisters find one another again, and miracles really do occur.”
—Tiffany Baker

**

Review


The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin
is the kind of book that invites you home, sits you down at the kitchen table, and feeds you something delicious and homemade. You will want to stay in this world, where new relationships bloom out of broken ones, sisters find one another again, and miracles really do occur
. Antoinette
will stick in your head like a beautiful song.”
─Tiffany Baker,
New York Times
bestselling author of *The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
*

“The originality of the plot in Knipper’s debut will keep readers turning the pages.”
—*Publishers Weekly
*

“This charming debut will appeal to those seeking elements of magic realism, family relationships, and personal growth, as well as Sarah Addison Allen fans.”

*
Library Journal
*
“…captivating…and finely written.”
—Kirkus Reviews
**

From the Back Cover

“This is the kind of book that invites you home, sits you down at the kitchen table, and feeds you something delicious and homemade. You will want to stay in this world where new relationships bloom out of broken ones, sisters find one another again, and miracles really do occur.” —Tiffany Baker

From
The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin

Antoinette sits on the chair next to me, bouncing. It took three months to get this appointment. Now that it’s here, I want to be somewhere else, anywhere else.

Dr. Ketters jots some notes in Antoinette’s file. She has been in the room for less than five minutes. When she looks up and smiles softly, I know something is wrong.

“Antoinette displays a lot of autistic behaviors,” she says. “She not classically autistic. She’s affectionate.” Right now Antoinette is leaning into me, lacing her fingers through mine. “I can’t give you an exact diagnosis. She doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. But I can tell you that she will most likely require lifelong care.”

Dr. Ketters is still talking when I walk out of the exam room, but I’m not listening. As we leave, I think of the second list I made. The one I didn’t show the doctor. On it, I listed the way Antoinette’s fingers clasp mine when we walk in the garden. The way my heart beats easier when she is next to me. The way she taps my back, and I know it means I love you.  

The

Peculiar

Miracles

of

Antoinette

Martin

A NOVEL

Stephanie Knipper

ALGONQUIN BOOKS OF CHAPEL HILL 2016

For my daughter, Grace.
People always say you’re lucky to have us as parents, but I know the truth. We’re the lucky ones, because we have you.
Hug. Tap, tap, tap.
I love you too.

Contents

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter One

Chapter Two

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Eight

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Twenty-Five

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

ROSE’S JOURNAL

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Acknowledgments

About the Author

About Algonquin

ROSE’S JOURNAL

April 2013

MY DAUGHTER, ANTOINETTE,
whispers in her sleep. Real words. Tonight when I hear her voice, I rush upstairs, but I’m too late. She is quiet. And the sounds could have been anything. The wind. An owl. Crickets.

She lies on her side. Her right hand stretches toward the doorway, toward me, as if even in sleep I’m the sun she rotates around.

I reach for her too. But I don’t enter her room.

When she sleeps, I can pretend I don’t notice her eyes, a finger’s breadth too far apart. Her arms are relaxed, not held tight against her shoulders as they are much of the day. Her white-blonde hair, still newborn fine, fans out behind her like a dandelion puff, or as if she were running and the wind caught it.

The window is open, and a breeze flutters the sheer white curtains. It’s the first week of April, but already the air is so warm the tulips are sprouting. Kentucky is like that. Unpredictable. Tonight is dark, but here in the country, street lights don’t obscure the stars.

I close my eyes and summon a dream. In it, Antoinette sprints through the farm, fingers brushing the daffodils and tulips. Her legs are strong, pounding the dirt like any other ten-year-old girl. But this image ignores the child she is. In a more accurate vision I see her walking toward me, marionette-like, arms cocked, hands curled toward her chest, knees bending and popping with each step.

I move into the past, pulling up memories of us sleeping curled into each other as if still sharing the same body. Swaying in time to field sparrow songs. Dancing under a shower of lavender petals in the drying barn.

She shifts, turning toward the window. Outside I envision the fields bursting with white tulip buds. It’s too early for them, but stranger things have happened.

My sister, Lily, used to be fascinated by the Victorian language of flowers, memorizing the meanings for each plant we grew on the farm. It was a game to us. She scattered bouquets around the house, and I tried to guess her message. Daffodils represented new beginnings. Coneflowers were for strength and health.

And white tulips were for forgiveness and remembrance.

My heart stutters, and a familiar pressure builds in my chest. I breathe deeply, counting each beat. When my body calms, I look at my daughter.

BOOK: The Peculiar Miracles of Antoinette Martin: A Novel
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