“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..”
I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Maria in the Moon blog tour which I share with the lovely Susan over at The Book Trail. Maria in the Moon is written by Louise Beech and will be published by Orenda Books in paperback on 30th September 2017.
I’ve been wanting to read a novel written by Louise Beech for a little while now. I have to admit to being a little put off in the past as her novels, despite being classed as psychological thrillers, they tend to have words like moving or beautiful attached to them. So, cards on the table, I’m not a reader who would usually seek a moving or beautiful novel. I want terrifying, gory, dark and gripping. They’re my kind of words. But the one thing I can’t do is ignore the thoughts of my fellow book bloggers and Beech’s books tend to go down an absolute storm in my little booky community. When the opportunity to feature on the Maria in the Moon blog tour presented itself, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Plus the early reviews were blisteringly good which helped sway my decision a smidge. And I really wasn’t disappointed.
Yes, this book is probably not my usual fare. There’s a lot more heart to this story than I usually encounter. However, I found it wonderfully refreshing. Every now and again, particularly as a genre reader such as myself, it’s good to indulge yourself in something a little different (a little different, not ‘out of your comfort zone, completely different’ – that would be daft!). And for that, I really enjoyed this book. I instantly liked the main character, Catherine. I liked her spirit and attitude to life, the fact that she volunteers and likes to really listen to what others are saying. I found I could relate to this woman but I also felt increasing sympathy for her as I knew something dark was waiting to be discovered around the corner, something which was going to change her life forever.
Parts of the story were hard going with regards to the content and I was strangely shocked by the route Catherine’s story took. Strangely shocked because it was exactly where I expected Beech to take the story but was thrown when it actually happened! Maybe I didn’t want the inevitable to come crashing down on this sweet and charming character. Whilst the scenes weren’t overly graphic they were necessary for telling Catherine’s story.
Having devoured Maria in the Moon I can confirm that Beech is skilled at creating real, well-rounded characters. The novel is full of interesting people but I want to draw particular attention to Catherine’s mother. Well, step-mother in truth but that’s not an excuse to treat Catherine the way she does, grrrr. I also really liked fellow volunteer Christopher, and Fern, Catherine’s flighty journalist flatmate. Both charming characters who bring a lot to the story.
Maria in the Moon is set in Hull just after the 2007 floods. The flooding and devastation brought an interesting sub plot to the tale. The heartbreak and the anguish suffered by those affected and the need for a specific flood crisis helpline brought tons of emotion and heart to the story; loss of your home, loss of your property, loss of security and in Catherine’s case, partial loss of your memory. I guess unless you’re caught up in a situation like this you’ll never really understand how devastating it can be.
Would I recommend this book? I would. It’s an absorbing tale of loss and family, with the predominant theme being loss. Loss of your sanctuary, loss of your identity and loss of your innocence. I can see exactly why so many people adore Beech’s novels.
Louise Beech is an author I will definitely look out for in the future. In fact, I’m going to purchase a copy of her debut novel, How to Be Brave as I believe it’s about Type 1 Diabetes which is a subject very close to my heart.
Four out of five stars.
I chose to read and review an eARC of Maria in the Moon. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech was published in the UK by Orenda Books on 30th September 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Louise has always been haunted by the sea, even before she knew the full story of her grandfather, the man who in part inspired novel How to be Brave. She lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – where from her bedroom window she can almost see the waters of the River Humber, an estuary that inspired book, The Mountain in my Shoe.
She remembers sitting as a child in her father’s cross-legged lap while he tried to show her his guitar’s chords. He’s a musician. Her small fingers stumbled and gave up. She was three. His music sheets fascinated her – such strange language that translated into music.
Her mother teaches languages, French and English, so her fluency with words fired Louise’s interest. She knew from being small that she wanted to write, to create, to make magic. She’s inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head.
She loves all forms of writing. Her short stories have won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting twice for the Bridport Prize and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Her first play, Afloat, was performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2012. She also wrote a ten-year newspaper column for the Hull Daily Mail about being a parent, garnering love/hate criticism, and a one year column called Wholly Matrimony about modern marriage.
Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was released in 2015 and got to No 4 in the Amazon UK Kindle chart, and was a Guardian Readers’ pick for 2015. This novel came from truth – when Louise’s daughter got Type 1 Diabetes she helped her cope by sharing her grandad’s real life sea survival story.
Her second novel, The Mountain in my Shoe, was released in 2016 and was inspired by her time with children in care. It explores what family truly means, and how far we will go for those we love. It longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize.