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  • Writer's pictureBonnie Randall

A Bouquet of Symbols - The Flowers Used In Within the Summit's Shadow


There is a lot of folklore connected to violets. Some literature say violets are the flower of the Resurrection. Other research depicts violets as the flower of innocence. Violets are also included, in some sacred art, to depict people with deep spiritual insight. Andrew's Little Girl, Violet Chamberlain, is a reflection of all these things. Wise beyond her years, wounded beyond bearing, and deeply loyal to her beloved 'Detective Andrew' , Violet can see The Dead Boy - and knows who he is - before Andrew even realizes that the entity has returned to his life. Violet also knows the core belief Andrew's entire Hero's Journey challenges him to believe - and it is this:

'...Promise that when you go back to your mountains you…you’ll face your ghosts.” She paused. “Promise—” Her voice broke.

Andrew’s gut sank.

“—promise that you’ll look in the mirror and see…a really nice man.” She looked down, and Andrew’s heart clenched as a tear, opaque and quivering, plopped on top of her juice box. “A man who’s been a really good friend to me.”...

If Violet represents innocence (and, in part, she does) then Andrew's challenge is to accept his relationship with innocence, and to see it as it always was.


The word 'pansy' comes from the French word 'penser' (influencing its English counterpart, 'pensive') which means 'to think'. Pansy, the first friend Elizabeth makes after leaving Jasper to attend DaCapo, a prestigious art school in Edmonton, never appears on camera - yet by definition, the reader can agree her name is apt. Pansy forces Elizabeth to think again and again: first about what a true friend is versus the friend Andrew was. Then to think of a new definition of beauty, as opposed to the warped one her own insecurities has always conjured. Pansy steers Elizabeth to think about being the best she can be:

'Pansy always took stock, starting way back when they were just students at Da Capo: “Elizabeth you need to work with what the good Lord gave you,” she’d said, then took charge, scooping Elizabeth into a daily routine: long walks and exercise. A trip to the salon and the mall; a new wardrobe without a single baggy sweatshirt or elasticized pair of pants. Those things and the absence of Dez’s too-good cooking had set a transformation in motion. “You’re gorgeous,” Pansy told her recently, with the clinical detachment Elizabeth had grown used to. “And it’s a part of your talent whether you like it or not. Yes, you play the guitar phenomenally,” she’d added, speaking over Elizabeth’s protestations that music always came first. “But that will never be all that’ll get you through doors. Accept it.”...'

And, lastly, when she becomes Elizabeth's talent agent, she guides Elizabeth's thoughts both formally, and literally, as Elizabeth moves forward with a career decision that could change her life: a recurring seat on the stage of The Ammolite, entertaining Jasper's international audience of tourists with her classical guitar.

Indian Paintbrush

'...Elizabeth leaned out, plucked an Indian paintbrush then glanced at him, sheepish. “The boy shredded my sweet little bouquet.” She blushed.

“You always did love wildflowers.”

Their eyes met, shared a silent song. “More than the hothouse carnation Chas King gave me at The Ammolite.”

Well, The Menominee Tribe in the U.S. used Indian Paintbrushes within love charms, so it's not much of a surprise that Elizabeth would prefer them to carnations - particularly within the presence of Andrew.


The Navajo had a far more practical use for Indian Paintbrushes, one that elicits a dark chord underscoring any passage within which they appear in this story. Indian Paintbrushes were employed medicinally as contraceptives.

Good thing lots of them grow wild around Summit Centre....


"’Lizabeth," said Kyle, "you know I’m allergic to fireweed, so I’m not going to come up here in shorts.” He poked a finger in the direction of her legs.

Fireweed is aptly named for it is one of the first plants to re-establish itself in recently burned areas. As such it is an easy symbold for rebirth and resurrection.

Kyle King, a ringer for his dead (and deeply depraved) older brother, is also a resurrection of sorts. Yet by the end of the book, it should come as no surprise to see why he is allergic to this very thing.


Upon leaving The Ammolite after her audition, this happens:

'...Chas plucked a flower from a bouquet in the entrance. “For you,” he said. “Randi tells me carnations mean love and, speaking from experience, I know that sometimes men do like to get flowers.”

Elizabeth hid a wince. Dez always said that when carnations were delivered to a ward you knew someone was going to die.'

Dez is (as usual) quite correct; a favorite of funeral parlors, carnations are inextricably intertwined with death and the grieving process. Even words within which 'carnation' is embedded - incarnation, reincarnation - echo the birth/death process.

It is no surprise at all, then, that after accepting that lone carnation from Chas, Elizabeth is - almost immediately - visited by The (very irate) Dead Boy....


When Elizabeth sees Andrew's house in the city for the first time, she considers his yard -

"His cottage, umber with white trim, had stonework circling its base. Flower beds flanked the walkway, but were dull; perennials and small shrubs. A man’s garden, no fuss, no muss.

She would add pots of scarlet and cobalt. Geraniums, maybe. Cloudy lobelia."

Although a striking combination (especially when the geraniums are scarlet and the lobelia is royal blue) Elizabeth's choice of geraniums for Andrew's yard is by no means random. The Magic Of Flowers suggests using geraniums in the practice of exorcism; that their 'bright and cheery vibration is a powerful deterrent to negativity of all forms...including unsavory entities.'



Awakening sexuality....releasing sexual blocks.

Letting go.

These are some of the properties associated with Honeysuckle - a flower whose appearance in the geography of Jasper is curious to Andrew...and flat-out impossible to Kyle: "Honeysuckle doesn't even grow here, Elizabeth!" he exclaims, at one point. "Our winters are too cold."

He is right, yet he is wrong; Honeysuckle is present in Jasper because it is necessary - yet not (ironically) to Elizabeth, who notices it more than any of the others. The Dead Boy alerts her, without mincing words, as to who the honeysuckle is really for:

'...The Dead Boy, a mass of black shadows, grabbed her by the shoulders, shook her hard. “What do you think all the honeysuckle’s for, Beth? It hasn’t been to heal you.”...'


Find out and hold the entire bouquet in Within The Summit's Shadow, Secrets & Shadows Book II

Or start at the beginning with Secrets & Shadows Book I, Divinity & The Python

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