Review published on September 25, 2017.
I loved Louise Beech’s last book, The Mountain in My Shoe, but I have yet to get to her first one, How to Be Brave (note to self, must remedy that!). So whilst I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Maria in the Moon as I felt sure I would love it, after only reading one of her books I couldn’t yet say that she was one of my absolute favourite authors. However, now I have read two I can say that she is firmly on my list of those writers whose books I would gladly read without even seeing a blurb. Yes, she’s that good.
In Maria in the Moon we meet Catherine. She was once known as Catherine-Maria but she can’t remember what happened in her ninth year and why everybody dropped the Maria and started calling her Catherine. She’s a very flawed heroine and at times not easy to like. But as I started to understand more about her and more is revealed about her past I had a greater understanding for why she behaved as she did.
I first cried whilst reading this book at page 34. Catherine’s house has been flooded and she is working at Flood Crisis answering the phone to people who need to talk. Some of the calls she received really moved me. Page 34 wasn’t the last time my eyes leaked!
This wasn’t only a book that made me cry though. It also made me laugh. Catherine is quite wickedly and darkly funny. I suspect her humour was a coping mechanism but it did amuse me.
Whilst the way the story was headed became apparent fairly early on, something happened towards the end that literally made me do a double take. What a shocker that was. It helped to take the story towards a conclusion that worked for Catherine and for me as a reader.
This is not a book to be rushed, rather one to be savoured. Each word is important and I didn’t want to miss a thing. Sometimes I went back and reread a sentence or paragraph. I needed to absorb it all. Louise Beech has such a lovely way with words. It’s hard to describe how beautifully she puts across her characters’ thoughts, fears and feelings. Her writing is insightful. Her stories don’t need to have intense plotlines and in fact Maria in the Moon is more of a slice of life story, a cataclysmic time in Catherine’s life.
It’s a wonderful read and I absolutely loved it (just in case you weren’t sure!).
Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes 5/5
Maria in the Moon by Louise Beech
Orenda 9781910633823 pbk Sep 2017