I received a copy of Maria In The Moon from Orenda Books in exchange for an honest review.
A stunning, beautifully written dark drama by the critically acclaimed author of How To Be Brave and The Mountain in My Shoe.
Thirty-two-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria.
With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the devastating deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges… and changes everything.
Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
Published by Orenda Books and available to buy now.
I remember sitting for ages after reading How To Be Brave, trying to find the words to write the review and I honestly thought that this time, after reading Maria In The Moon I would be able to explain how the book made me feel, I’d get straight to writing my review and boom it would be done. Nope that is not the case, I’m sat here again trying to put into words how emotional I feel, how this story really got under my skin and how Catherine has found a place in my heart without giving anything away.
So I’ve taken a little breather and I’m back to try again.
Maria In the Moon tells the story of Catherine, she works in a care home and after the devastating floods that hut Hull she’s having to share a flat with her friend while her house gets repaired. Catherine then volunteers at a flood crisis centre, and this is where she realises she can’t remember being nine years old. A whole year seems to be missing from her memory.
One of the things I like about this authors books is she writes about characters that are flawed, complex and very much human. Catherine is all three and it’s easy to feel like you are reading a real life story. Her relationship with her Mother isn’t easy, she’s recently broken up with her boyfriend and she seems to be just stumbling through life. Taking on the role as a flood crisis volunteer seems to give Catherine a purpose but also makes her bad dreams return and little memories start to appear giving her more questions that need to be answered. Catherine was totally brought alive in this story and I couldn’t help feeling like she was a friend and I wanted to just give her a great big hug. Reading about her turmoil and following her through her discovery it would take someone with a heart of stone not to feel any emotion while reading.
This is such a beautifully written book, it’s emotional, heart-breaking, tough reading in places but it also has some humour. I tried to slowly savour every word as I was reading but this is a story that had to be devoured. It’s quite suspenseful and I just had to read on and on until I was satisfied. It was truly captivating. Maria In The Moon is definitely one of those books that will stay with me for a long, long time. It’s haunting, captivating, raw, emotional and a book I will be highly recommending.
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About the author
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both books have been number one on Kindle, Audible and Kobo in USA/UK/AU. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. She is also part of the Mums’ Army on Lizzie and Carl’s BBC Radio Humberside Breakfast Show.