Seductive and intoxicating is what this book is. The descriptive writing and metaphors are sensual and so very beautiful. It draws you in like a warm, cozy fire on a cold day, and when you get too close and are in danger of getting burnt (from the storyline), you still cannot tear yourself away from the mesmerizing flame.
It tells of the relationship of Astrid and her mother, Ingrid: the latter, an exotic creature -- alluring like the oleander but bitterly poisonous in all her relationships, including that with her daughter. After being convicted of murder, Astrid goes through a series of foster homes. Through it all, she tries to carve an identity independent from her mother, from the
still far-reaching scent of oleanders that waft from behind bars, but can the apple fall far from the tree?
This was made into a movie in 2002, which I have not seen, and will likely not -- unless, in order to capture all the subtleties and nuances of the book, is made into a 17-hour screen play. :)