According to the Library of Michigan, “Every year, the Library of Michigan selects up to twenty of the most notable books, either written by a Michigan resident or about Michigan or the Great Lakes. The selected books are honored in the year after their publication or copyright date. Each selected title speaks to our state's rich cultural, historical, and literary heritage and proves without a doubt that some of the greatest stories are found in the Great Lakes State.”
The Frankenmuth Wickson Library has selected Scarlet in Blue by Jennifer Murphy, one of the 2023 Michigan Notable Books, as the topic for a local book discussion taking place at the Wickson Library on Wednesday, April 12 from 6-7pm.
Author Jennifer Murphy has an MFA in painting from the University of Denver and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington. Her debut novel, I Love You More, won the prestigious Nancy Pearl Book Award for Fiction. While she currently resides in Houston, Texas, her roots are from a small beachfront town in Michigan, much like the South Haven she writes about in her novel, Scarlet in Blue.
The book is part mystery, part coming-of-age story, and part tragedy. Told from the alternating perspectives of Blue, Scarlet, and Scarlet’s psychoanalyst, Dr. Henry Williams, this story paints a complex portrait of a mother and daughter who share a dependence and love so strong neither can imagine life without the other.
Murphy’s extensive background in painting is evident from the very first scene in Scarlet in Blue. There’s been a murder, and the killer, a world-renowned painter, takes to the canvas with a palette of glorious reds—scarlets and roses, carmine and crimson.
The story picks up 46 years later. We meet Scarlet and her demon—the man who is chasing them—who her daughter Blue has never actually seen, and who they’ve been perpetually running from for years.
After every sighting of the Shadow Man, they run. Scarlet scatters a box of crayons on the bed, they close their eyes, and they each pick one; their chosen color becomes their new name as Scarlet believes hiding their true identities is crucial to their survival. They quickly pack a fraction of their belongings and catch a bus, this time arriving in South Haven in the middle of a wicked snowstorm, where the waves—taller and wider than tractor-trailers—are frozen in place, something that only happens once in a blue moon, and a sign that has the locals convinced something big is about to happen.
Exhausted from the nomadic lifestyle her mother perpetuates, Blue begins to make connections and put down roots in South Haven—making friends, falling in love, and finding a piano teacher who recognizes her budding talent—but Scarlet has a plan that requires the help of therapist Dr. Henry Williams, a plan that on completion would require at least one more move.
We hope you’ll join us for the upcoming Michigan Notable Book Discussion featuring Scarlet in Blue by Jennifer Murphy. The discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 12 from 6-7pm at the Wickson Library. Refreshments will be served. Visit us at the library to reserve and begin reading your copy of Scarlet in Blue today.