By Louise Beech
Published by Orenda Books (15 August 2017)
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...
Maria in the Moon is yet another stunner from Louise Beech.
Set in Hull, just after the floods of 2007, the book focuses on Catherine Hope, who can't remember her ninth year. All she knows is that this was when her father died. She's volunteering at Flood Crisis, helping people resolve their own problems even though she can't deal with her own. She's filled with so many questions. When and why did her family stop using her full name (Catherine-Maria)? When did her insomnia and other health problems begin? Why does she shy away from real love? Then her childhood memories start coming back.
Maria in the Moon features more humour than Louise Beech's other books, yet the underlying story is even darker and more evocative. The writing is simply stunning, so vivid and descriptive that it takes you right into the heart of the story and into the lives of her diverse, larger-than-life and highly realistic characters. I couldn't help but be transported into Hull at a time of crisis.
I wanted to read this book slowly, to savour every moment, yet found myself racing ahead, just to see what had happened to Catherine in the past and what was going to happen to her next. The book is filled with surprises - some good, some bad and some that turned me into a total wreck.
All of Louise Beech's books are different in subject and plot, yet they evoke the same emotions - or rather, all the emotions. I defy anyone to read her books with at least a tear in their eye, although it's more likely to be a trickle or maybe even a flood. Keep the tissues handy!