Let me start by saying that in some weird way, this book blew me away.Madapple is the story of Aslaug Hellig, a bright girl who was raised in near isolation by her genius -- but disturbed -- mother. When Aslaug's mother dies, Aslaug goes to the only place she can remember her mother having taken her. The place, it turns out, is a former monastery-turned-church, run by an aunt she never knew she had. Aslaug moves into the church with her aunt Sara and her children, Sanne and Rune, and gets caught up in the distrubing world they have created for themselves.Madapple mixes religion, mythology, psychology and (of all things) botany to create a very captivating and disturbing world for Aslaug to live in. Told through chapters set alternately in the present and in the past, Aslaug's story is revealed slowly and cryptically, making the book a potentially challenging read for some. Also, some themes and subject matter may be too adult and/or inappropriate for some readers, but for those who persevere and can handle the dark subject matter, Madapple is a strange little gem. It is little wonder that Meldrum, a first time author, was a finalist for the Morris Award.