How far does civil disobedience need to go before it makes a difference in the world, and at what personal cost?
Ellen Meeropol’s latest novel, A Kinship of Clover, revolves mostly around Jeremy, a 19 year old botany major. The story intertwines family, several generations, and the community at large, highlighting our tenuous interdependence. Global warming and its environmental consequences play a big part in this story, but Meeropol doesn’t preach or bury us in politics. She gives faces to the cause in the character’s personal stories.
Readers feel Jeremy’s passion and desperation as, in times of stress, he imagines extinct flowers blossoming from his knuckles, and ancient vines curling around his ankles and climbing up the back of his shirt. To calm himself, he recites the Latin names of these plants, while fearing he’s going crazy.
Yet his obsession with vines that grow out of nowhere is only one of many secrets Jeremy feels he must hide.
The personal stakes are high
His reluctant involvement with a radical environmental protest group has led to FBI agents breathing down his neck. He’s haunted by the accidental deaths of his two half-siblings eleven years ago. Dealing with his father, just released from prison after being charged with the babies’ accidental deaths, is awkward, to say the least. Jeremy hopes to find support from his twin brother, but Tim seems determined to deny the tragedies of their past.
With all this, you’d think the least of Jeremy’s concerns is that he’s falling in love with a girl in a wheelchair. It’s not.
His girlfriend, Zoe, had never really considered romance as a possibility in her life. Plus she has her own worries as her once spirited, political activist grandmother, Flo, is fading fast. Zoe fears Flo’s spirit will die once she’s medicated and placed in a nursing home. Yet, in rare moments of lucidity, she offers Jeremy and Zoe insights about how to stay true to your ideals while being respectful to those you love.
A Kinship of Clover is a marvelously inventive story about hope and the challenges we face to protect our environment, and how different generations can work together to bring about change. As humans, we depend on each other as much as our beautiful and strange planet depends on us. We must be attentive caretakers to both the personal and the political issues in our lives.
As Jeremy learns, it starts at home.
* * * *
A Kinship of Clover is published by Red Hen Press, ISBN-13: 978-1597093811. Available on Amazon HERE for preorder, and in bookstores April 4th, 2017.
(I also want to add that the cover design is stunning and the beautiful matte finish feels lovely in your hands. It’s just more to love about this book.)
Ellen Meeropol is the author of two previous novels, House Arrest and On Hurricane Island, as well as Carry it Forward, a dramatic program about the Rosenberg Fund for Children. A former nurse practitioner and part-time bookseller, Ellen is fascinated by characters balanced on the fault lines between political turmoil and human connection. Her short fiction and essay publications include Bridges, DoveTales, Pedestal, Rumpus, Portland Magazine and The Writers Chronicle. Ellen is a founding member of Straw Dog Writers Guild and lives in western Massachusetts. Her website: ellenmeeropol.com
Linda K. Sienkiewicz is the author of the award-winning novel In the Context of Love, a story about one woman’s need to tell the truth without shame.
2016 Sarton Women’s Fiction Finalist
2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award Finalist
2016 Readers’ Favorite Finalist
2016 USA Book News Best Book Finalist
2015 Great Midwest Book Fest Honorable Mention.
“…at once a love story, a cautionary tale, and an inspirational journey.” ~ Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of National Book Award Finalist, American Salvage, and critically acclaimed Once Upon a River,and Mothers, Tell Your Daughters