The Eyes of the Amaryllis by Natalie Babbitt
The lost book of my childhood. When I was about 11 years old, I checked it out from the library, loved the book, returned it, and went to the shelf to find it again later – to no avail. I could remember the area of the shelves (near the beginning of the alphabet) where I’d found the book initially, and I made the pilgrimage back over and over again, searching for the “amaryllis” book. I should have asked a librarian! Years and years later, when online catalogs appeared in libraries, I did a title keyword search on “amaryllis” and found my long-lost book. Hooray for technology! The nifty thing is that this little tale – of searching for something that is lost – is also a theme of the book itself. And, wonderfully, when I re-read the book as an adult, the book was as wondrous as I had remembered. Young Jenny visits her widowed grandmother, who lives by the sea. Years ago, her husband, a sea captain, went down with his ship, and now Gran walks along the shore and waits for a sign from her beloved. And as she does so, a mysterious stranger watches her… Love, loss, and longing. Haunting.