I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Maria In The Moon. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour, including my blog partner for the day – Ronnie Turner.
Thanks to Louise, Orenda Books and Anne Cater for letting me take part in the tour.
‘Like a cold spider, the memory stirred in my head and spun an icy web about my brain. Someone else crawled in. I remembered.’
Thirty-one-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 horrifying 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…
Set during the aftermath of the devastating flood of 2007, Maria In The Moon tells the story of Catherine. To say that Catherine is prickly is an understatement. We learn quickly that she holds relationships lightly, that she tends to lash out and hurt others before they can hurt her. Why does she keep everyone at a distance and inflict the most pain on herself? Why is she no longer called Catherine Maria? Any why can’t she remember anything from when she was 9?
This is a beautifully written book. As I’ve met Louise, I could almost hear her voice narrating the book to me in my head. As well as creating the wonderful character of Catherine who I grew to love, there is a great supporting cast in the form of Catherine’s mother, Christopher (who she meets at the Flood Crisis Line) and Fern, her flatmate. I felt that Fern could have a spin-off book of her own.
Thankfully, I’ve not been flooded although we are in a flood risk area. I know people who have been and the chaos that it’s caused. Maria In The Moon highlights the difficulties that people face not just with the practical side of things but the emotional side too. The crisis line in the book allows people to ring in and talk through all those issues. For Catherine, who becomes Katrina on the phone, listening to other people’s problems seems to exorcise her own demons. But some of those demons are proving elusive and that’s the main crux of the book. Although I could guess where the storyline was going, Catherine’s recall of the past was exceptionally moving and well written.
Although the floods and Catherine’s past are the main themes of the book, the power of forgiveness is woven in like a gold thread. Whether it’s with her friend Fern, or with the situation she faced at age 9, Catherine realises that forgiveness is the only thing that will bring her true peace. To hate is easy; to forgive is much harder. A glimmer of gold in the darkness of the flood waters.
This is the first Louise Beech book that I’ve read but I don’t think it will be my last. A truly wonderful book.
You can find out more about Louise Beech and order the Kindle version and pre-order the paperback here.
Louise Beech has been writing since she could physically hold a pen. 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 twice for the Bridport Prize. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, was a number one bestseller on Kindle in the UK and Australia, and a Guardian Readers’ Pick in 2015. The Mountain in my Shoe was longlisted for the Guardian Not The Booker Prize.