About The Maiden Tree by Julianna Drumheller
At eight years old, Amardine Desmarius longs to know all about her mother, a famous opera singer who died under mysterious circumstances. But her father is strangely reticent about the subject, becoming alarmed, even angry, when she shows signs of wanting to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
As Amardine’s curiosity grows, so too does her anxiety about the future, especially as a deadly epidemic threatens her household. After a vagabond dies of the disease on her family’s land, Amardine begins to see ominous signs and portents. Influenced by her maid’s beliefs about spirits and demons, she imagines that something is reaching out from another world to communicate with her. But is she just a fretful child, or is there a pattern drawing her into a fate she doesn’t understand?
As she attempts to uncover the truth about her mother’s legacy, Amardine must contend with an emotionally distant father, a high-society aunt who treats her like a charity project, and her two resentful, bullying cousins. Then her life is suddenly turned upside down by an event she didn’t foresee, and she is drawn even deeper into the shadowy world her mother inhabited. In the process, she learns to stand up for herself, take pride in who she is, and accept that people are not always as she imagines them to be.
The Maiden Tree is the first volume of The Umbral Origins Trilogy, a coming-of-age series set in a world where magic is evolving with culture, and poised to collide with new technologies. Told from an older perspective, Amardine recounts the childhood experiences that will shape her into an artist and mystic, and eventually bring her infamy. How far will she go to find the truth and unlock her own potential? And will it bring her the healing she seeks, or lead her further into darkness?
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Julianna is a writer of fantasy fiction, an illustrator, and a former potter. She was born in New York, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, and spent over a decade touring the Northeast with an E-Z Up tent, selling her pottery at art shows. She never forgot her childhood love of writing and illustrating stories, though, and in 2010 she began working on her first novel. In the decade since she has attended writing workshops such as Writing Excuses (2013 and 2017) and Writing the Other (2014), and went back to her fine arts roots to create illustrations for her book. You can view them on her website, www.juliannadrumheller.com.
In her (nebulous) spare time, Julianna enjoys sewing costumes and other clothes for herself, baking macarons, and playing the violin (passably). She resides in Western New York.