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Saturday, 23 September 2017

Maria in the Moon @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks

About Maria in the Moon

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...

My review of Maria in the Moon

Maria in the Moon is a story that took my breath away. This is a simply stunning and beautiful story about a woman's journey to find her true self. It's emotive, dark and challenging and I loved every word.

The story revolves around Catherine Hope, a thirty-two-year old woman who is single and shares a one bedroom flat over a takeaway restaurant.  Today she is simply known as Catherine, no longer Catherine-Maria, and she has no recollection of why she lost the 'Maria' at the age of nine. Set during the Hull floods of 2007, Catherine decides to volunteer at Flood Crisis, a helpline for individuals affected by the floods. It is while working there that her life begins to change, that she slowly begins to remember what happened to her all those years ago.

The author writes so beautifully, providing Catherine with a clear and distinctive voice. I felt like I knew her inside and out. She was so very transparent on the page, her vulnerability, her strength, so clear to see. This is her story and I was hooked on every word. What happened to her? What can't she remember? She is a likeable, quirky and energetic woman but is haunted by past events that she cannot recall. I felt so sorry for her. What I loved most about her was her empathy towards others, her selflessness. As well as volunteering at Flood Crisis, she works night shifts at the local nursing home. Although this side of her life is not shown on the page, I knew that she would be a caring and diligent member of staff, treating everyone she cared for with dignity and respect, just as she does with those who call Flood Line.

This novel is packed with many interesting and vibrant characters, all illuminating and with their own personal story. We have Fern, the girl whose flat she shares and whom writes a weekly column in the local paper, I loved her!, and then we have Christopher, the volunteer and mentor she meets at Flood Crisis, who makes her world shift, who accepts her for who she is.

This is such a stunning, powerful and emotional read. It's a dark and beautiful read about the strength of human spirit, about the strength of Catherine, and of how we use memory to shape our future and define our past. It's a story about childhood and family, and of dark secrets that cannot remain buried for ever.

As I read the final page, I knew that Catherine Maria Hope would stay with me for a long time. She will be forever in the moon. Such a beautiful story.

Maria in the Moon is published by Orenda Books on 30 September. You can find it on Amazon here.

With thanks to the publisher who sent me a paperback copy for review purposes.

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