Home—Myloi, Greece; and Paris, France.
Blue Horse Dreaming (novel), MacAdam/Cage Publishers (San Francisco, CA), 2003.
The Housekeeper (novel), MacAdam/Cage Publishers (San Francisco, CA), 2006.
Melanie Wallace began to develop the idea for her first novel, Blue Horse Dreaming, when she read about a pioneer woman who had been taken hostage and eventually returned during the Civil War era. The mention was merely an aside in another book, but it captured Wallace's imagination, and she went on to read extensively about the Civil War period. She read both history and fiction, books about captivity, histories of frontier and pioneer life, and military diaries dating to the end of the war, as well as books on fort architecture and of the asylums and psychiatric practices of the nineteenth century. This research provides her novel with stark realism. Mike Leonard, in a review for Curled Up with a Good Book, called the novel "a poignant glimpse into the past, filled with luminous insights and a consciousness of the value of each human's dignity."
The Housekeeper, Wallace's follow-up work, tells the story of Jamie Hall, a young girl who runs away following the death of her mother. Her bad luck continues to plague her as she meets one mishap after another. She finds a feral boy tied to a tree and frees him in an attempt at kindness, but the boy's violent nature soon makes her regret her impulsive act. Booklist critic Deborah Donovan wrote that "Wallace's prose is simultaneously dreamily poetic and harshly graphic." "You may be tempted to rush ahead to find out what ultimately happens," remarked Kate Ayers on Bookreporter.com, "but you can't. Ms. Wallace's writing is just too starkly beautiful. Take the time to savor her prose and relish the emotions."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2006, Deborah Donovan, review of The Housekeeper, p. 30.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2006, review of The Housekeeper, p. 160.
Bookreporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (October 10, 2006), Kate Ayers, review of The Housekeeper.
Curled Up with a Good Book,http://www.curledup.com/ (October 10, 2006), Mike Leonard, review of Blue Horse Dreaming. *