Maria in the Moon – Louise Beech

“If you are looking for a thought-provoking, beautifully written book that will make your heart ache and sing at the same time – you should definitely read this book.”

Long ago my beloved Nanny Eve chose my name. Then one day she stopped calling me it. I try now to remember why, but I just can’t.’

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: This is Louise Beech’s third book and there is absolutely no doubt that she can create beauty and hope in the midst of tragedy.  It’s difficult to pigeon-hole her books into a particular genre, so I think “magical and moving fiction” might work!

This book is set in a call centre just after the floods in Hull in 2007 and the main character Catherine-Maria is a breath of fresh air as she is so honest and sarcastic and matter of fact that it was so easy to connect with her throughout the book.  Her relationship with her “mother” was heartbreaking to read but her wonderful optimism shone through every chapter and I found myself getting more and more emotionally attached to Catherine.

Louise Beech definitely has a unique skill of taking the reader on an emotional and sometimes painful journey, injecting love, hope and humour throughout.  All of Louise’s books have left me with a very warm and cosy feeling long after I have finished the final page.

If you are looking for a thought-provoking, beautifully written book that will make your heart ache and sing at the same time – you should definitely read this book.

About the Author: Louise Beech remembers sitting 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 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. Her debut novel was a Guardian Readers’ pick for 2015.

She is inspired by life, history, survival and love, and always has a story in her head. Her debut novel, How to be Brave, 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, will be released in September 2016 and was inspired by her time working with children in the care system.

When she was fifteen Louise bet her mother ten pounds she’d be published by the time she was thirty. She missed this self-set deadline by two months. Her mother is still waiting for the money.

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