*I received an Arc from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.
Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech
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 found this novel so beautifully unique and moving, I found it changed my whole review style! I hope my review does this novel justice! 🙂
I loved this novel, its uniqueness and how it captivated me with a whirlwind of emotions. This novel is filled with powerful moments, two in particular gave me a swift kick to the feels! But even now, after reading it, I can’t help but stare at the wall thinking how cleverly it was all put together.
The protagonist Catherine Hope is 31yrs old. She suffers insomnia and childhood memory loss. Having recently broken up with her longest, long-term lover and suffering damage to her home in the Hull floods of June 2007. She takes on a job at a local flood crisis centre. In an attempt to fill her lonely life with a cause. I personally loved Catherine from page one. I found her honest, raw and frank approach to life, very reminiscent of my own ‘bull in a china shop’ approach to conversations and relationships with my family. So at times when her mother chastised her for swearing, I laughed. Also when she is on the receiving ends of some painful verbal home-truths, I felt the emotional burn.
Catherine was about to hold my hand and tell me her story.
I had no idea where we were going, but I wanted to listen…..
Catherine’s real mother died in child birth, her father when she was just 8yrs old. Her step-mother, whom she refers to as her mother. Has done her best to raise Catherine, but she is often distant, unemotional and cold towards her daughter. I found this rather odd and it also poked at some of my own emotional pain. So Catherine decides to jog her own memory and try to remember what caused this breakdown. As the reader, I urged her on. Only I was oblivious to what deep secrets Catherine had locked away in her mind. I was about to find out, whether I like it or not…….
She remembers a vague memory of a virgin Mary statue, her Nanny Eve and losing her middle name ‘Mary’. But putting the fragmented memory back together is proving very difficult for her to do. At the flood crisis centre she mixes with the other staff Claudia, Kath, Norman, Lindsey and her ‘buddy’ Christopher. The crazy and often bizarre calls they receive at the centre only seem to throw up vaguer memories. A man, a shadow and a room. It’s not much to work on! I begin to wonder if her story would be her descent into a mental health crisis.
I desperately willed her to piece it together.
“It’s not love unless it hurts”
When her birthday comes around, there are new memories. A rabbit named Geraldine and some photos given to her by her Auntie Mary (hairy! lol). On a drunken night out, when a fella making his moves on her referencing her jokingly as a ‘tiger’. Catherine has a freak out! But why? What does it mean? How do these clues pull together? When her close friend Fern believes she has been betrayed by Catherine. She unloads a savage personal attack on her. This plunges her deeper into the loneliness and isolation and as the reader I urged her to just ‘hold it together’. When she remembers the phrase “my beautiful Catherine. My Tiger”. The full extent of the memories is revealed. With that once sentence, my eyes dissolved into tears, as it suddenly dawns on you, what them memories are!
That is as much as I can say, for fear of spoiling Catherine’s Story. But I would urge all readers, to hold her hand and listen to her story. It is one of incredible power and emotions. A story of coming to terms with our pasts and forgiveness! When I read the final sentence of the novel, I did so with a smile on my face. An incredible story, beautifully constructed. 5* Genius
“The right people keep the ghosts away. And the blackest ghost of all had finally gone”