Maria in the Moon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Feb 2018

Member Reviews

A beautifully written story that will both break and warm your heart!

This is my second book by Louise Beech... her stories are lyrical and moving, emotional and raw, real and stunning! There is something magical about both her writing style and her stories themselves... hard to categorize they defy any genre...

This is the story of Catherine Maria... A character you might not find terribly likable she is a bit flippant, a bit aloof, a bit promiscuous.... A damaged soul who has lost pieces of her life and has a hard time sleeping and a hard time staying awake... after her home is ravaged by a flood and she begins working at a flood crisis line Catherine Maria begins to remember... remember the things that made her forget....

This was a very poignant story about memory and your brain and your body and how you protect yourself from things that you cannot handle... Catherine Maria think she wants to remember, but does she really? And what are the ramifications if she does?

Beautifully told the story will evoke every emotion you think you have, and some you think you don’t! Absolutely recommend!

*** Big thanks to Orenda for my copy of this book ***
Was this review helpful?
My goodness, this book. I don't want to say too much about it because it is best experienced as the plot unfolds. I was gobsmacked by the pacing and how the author built the story. The writing was just phenomenal.

I loved how Beech explored the idea of identity and the role names play. Catherine has the habit of giving people other names and likes taking on a new name when she starts volunteering at Flood Crisis. The names become a persona for her but she doesn't scratch too deeply beneath the surface as to why.

This book might not be for everyone. Catherine does not remember the year she was 9 and if you know anything about childhood memory loss, you will have a good idea about what happened to cause her to blot out an entire year.  The author handles this with compassion. It is not graphic nor gratuitous. So if you do not have this particular trauma in your past, I would encourage you to give it a try.

 

"The flood, the stroke, the cough, the loneliness, they were all incidental. It was never about those things. Never about the trees. Callers often talked of symptoms but they needed to discuss the cause, and that was never so obvious." p. 167

In addition to exploring identity, Beech plays around with memory, what we do and don't recall, the way we keep each other's memories. This was fascinating to me and I loved how we got pieces of what Catherine remembered from her childhood, as well as when her house was flooded, until it culminates in our understanding. 

There was an aspect of the ending that was a little too neat for my taste but I can't deny it was effective either. I'm still turning it over in my mind and thinking about how Beech brought us to that resolution and turned everything on its head. I definitely want to read more from this author!
Was this review helpful?
Catherine Hope is a lonely soul. She lost her home to the flood and now sleeps on the sofa in an apartment that she rents with her friend, Fern. Her father passed away when she was 8 years old and the relationship she has with her mother is hostile. Knowing about loss from the flood and wanting to help others, Catherine decides to volunteer at the Flood Crisis hotline. She has a great memory where she can remember birthdays and the names of the callers that she talks to from the hotline. But she cannot remember anything from when she was 9 years old. After working at the crisis center, Catherine starts to get nightmares and slowly her memories are coming back.

Maria in the Moon is a heart-wrenching story. Sadly for me, I thought the pace was a bit slow and I was able to guess early on the cause of the memory loss. There was just something lacking and I quickly became bored.

Thank you to NetGalley and Trafalgar Square Publishing for a copy of Louise Beech's "Maria in the Moon" in exchange of an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
So, I have to start off by saying how beautiful this cover truly is! And I absolutely LOVE the title!!

I appear to be the outlier here on this one again... and wasn't that impressed at all. 

I wasn't particularly fond of our main character Catherine.   Catherine  has lost her house due to flooding and decided to volunteer at a flood crisis call center.  Catherine begins to start having nightmares and triggers memories for her. Catherine can't remember her memories of when she was a little girl.

So,, this was a tad obvious to me of why she can't remember her memories. Clearly, something awful happened to her when she was young and she blocked out the memories due to her trauma I was assuming.

Catherine tries to talk to her mother about her memories... but her mother refuses. And can I just say I did not like the mother's character at ALL. 

I found it hard to connect with all the characters and I was pretty bored in the beginning following Catherine's story. I did not like the ending as well and the "twist" was just ehhhhhhh. 

But, I do have to say Louise's writing is absolutely beautiful! I was bummed that I didn't enjoy this one more. 

Overall, 2.75 stars on this one for me. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Trafalgar Publishing for the arc.
Publication date: 4/1/18
Published to GR: 4/5/18
Was this review helpful?
3.5 sorrowful stars

Catherine Hope has a pretty good memory. She remembers most things that occurred in her thirty-two years. However, there is something about her ninth year that has been completely blanked out in her memory. It was at or around that time that she was no longer called Catherine Maria. It was also around then that issues with insomnia started. What was this that made her totally expel memories from her being? Could she possible someday remember and more importantly did she really want to? 

Catherine has lead a very colorful life. She has had numerous affairs, one night stands, and engages in what some might call risky behavior. She has become a volunteer on a number of crisis hotlines and when she again becomes a volunteer on a flood crisis line things start to trigger memories in her. Catherine has lost her home in this flood of 2007 and as her home is under repair, her memory of her childhood emerges with some shattering occurrences. 

This book deals with memory and how often we block things from our memory that are troubling and disturbing. Our mind allows us to get rid of what caused us pain in the past and attempts to cover the memory so that it often does not emerge until later in life. Yet, it is always there, under the surface, like a dream that keeps on coming to you and when you awaken it is forgotten.

This was a dark, moving story that showed the reader what memories can often do to one who has been hurt and find a way to protect oneself from things that have so wounded our body, mind, and soul. 

Thanks you to Louise Beech, the publisher, and NetGalley for making an advanced copy of this book available to this reader.
Was this review helpful?
It was "Read an Excerpt" that clinched it. I read the opening pages and was enchanted by the voice:

‘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.’

Catherine has lost her memory of the year she was nine. She is haunted by a bushy-bearded man. She can't stay in a relationship. Her mother died at her birth and her father when she was eight, leaving her to her step-mother's care. The year she broke her grandmother's pretty Virgin Mary statue, the year she set loose her beloved pet rabbit, was the year she became Catherine and not Catherine-Maria. 

 'But there was something else; something I couldn't remember. Something as black as feverish, temperature-fuelled nightmares. Something that couldn't be fixed or replaced.'
Catherine volunteers at crisis lines, and weeks after leaving her last call center position--and the love affair with her co-volunteer there-- she is accepted to the Flood Crisis hot line. Like many homes in Hull in 2007, Catherine's home has been devastated by the flood. She and a newly divorced friend are sharing a cramped space.

Catherine has a good relationship with her step-mother's new husband, but there is no love shown between her and her step-mom or her step-father's daughter Celeste. All she recalls is the criticism and rejection she faced after her father's death, the disappointment her step-mom has shown. 

She is warned not to get involved with callers, but she can't help it. One elderly man, Sid, becomes especially dependent on her. Her coworker Christopher has come to like her and has shown he wants to take their friendship to another level. 

But every night the nightmares come, and the questions plague her: what happened when she was nine years old that changed her life and haunts her, cripples her, to this day?

Maria in the Moon is a moving read about pain and resilience, and how by confronting our past and forgiving those who have harmed us we are freed and can move on in life. 

I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
"My memories come like playing cards picked from the deck. I never know which ones I'll get and most aren't the ones I want."

This is one of those books that you find yourself in the midst of a tornado of emotions. I laughed, was sad, was angry - - I felt numb, breathless and unsettled. Maria in the Moon, reads like a beautiful symphony - the words moving you along with the tune -taking you through, Catherine's story of loss and gain. 

Maria in the Moon is a beautiful, heavy and real read. It's one that stays with you, in your head- in your heart- in your soul. 10 stars for this read; another to add to my favorites!❤️

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and provide my unbiased review!
Was this review helpful?
Let me begin with letting every one know how gorgeous I think this cover is. So, so lovely! 

Now to the book. I was far less enamored by this one than other readers, it appears. 

This story is about Catherine and why she can't remember her 9th year. Recently she has lost her house due to flooding and has decided to volunteer at a flood crisis call center where she can be a comforting ear to those on the other end of the line. This, however, starts to trigger nightmares and memories. What is her mind hiding from her? What happened when she was 9? 

She has tried to get answers from her mother but her mother won't speak of it. Their relationship has always been strained and her mother makes it abundantly clear what a disappointment she thinks Catherine is. 

I knew from the moment I started this the reason of why she didn't remember her 9th year. It's blatantly obvious with her bad disposition and penchant for swearing ever since she was 10 years old. The problem is that this should of elicited sympathy with me but it never did. I found her to be insufferable more often than not. I don't do pity parties and that's what this book felt like to me. Poor me, poor me. Her friends Christopher and Fern were wonderful characters and her interactions with them were by far my favorite parts of the book except for when she was being awful to them. 

I did not like the ending. That last twist (the only twist really) was completely unnecessary. I'm not a writer nor do I claim to be but I think the resolution here could of been done better. Not every book needs to have a twist ending. 

I know all of this sounds negative but I honestly think Louise Beech writes beautifully. This is simply a case of a book not being a good fit for me. 2.5 stars! 

Thank you to NetGalley & Orenda Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I wasn't familiar with the 2007 events in Hull so this was not only an intriguing story of recovered memory, it was also educational.  I especially liked the sections where Catherine, who has lost events in her life, is working a telephone hot line.  She's got a lot of issues, most of which she doesn't even recognize as such.  What happened to her when she was a child is at the root of this and, no spoilers, much will make sense one you know that.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Try this one for a portrait of a woman seeking herself.
Was this review helpful?
This book is certainly one of great loss for Catherine with an i. Not until her thirties does she uncovered what happened to her when she was nine. So many lost years struggling and wondering what made her so bitter, unable to keep relationships , caustic , lonely and unhappy. In her thirties she experienced even more turmoil with a flood that ruins her home and a caller she befriends in a crisis hotline centre that she volunteers at. These experiences cause her memory of her lost year to resurface and she is forced to remember . The remembering is hard for her family and friends but offers healing and forgiveness.
Was this review helpful?
"My heart's all smashed up."

As unwelcomed flood waters trespass into the lives of the residents of Hull in 2007, Catherine Hope wades through escalating waves of her own. She's been a victim of the intruding waters into her own house and all the damages in its aftermath. Young and single and thirty-one, Catherine moves in with her friend, Fern, as the contractors take over the renovation.

The story opens with Catherine interviewing for a job at the Flood Crisis Hotline as a phone volunteer. We're taken with Catherine's stilted attempts at humor in her nervousness and the clumsiness of her borrowed shoes coming off her feet. But Catherine is eventually approved and begins her interactions with the small group of quirky volunteers. The phone calls coming in will be crucial as impactful threads throughout the story.

Louise Beech invites your emotions to circle around her main character of Catherine-Maria. For anonymity, she will be called Katrina at the crisis center. Hers will be a very complex personality that will slowly be unraveled in the course of these events. Catherine will lock horns constantly with her step-mother as she still tries to come to terms with the death of her father when she was but eight years old. The loss weighs heavy and seeps into her adult relationships.

But Catherine has gaps in her memory and is prone to anger and resentment. Nightmares visit her all to often and the ravaging eczema turns her hands into red, itching rawness. There's a nameless something brewing beneath the surface that seems to churn inside Catherine. Her work at the call center triggers the depth of darkness unknown even to Catherine herself.

Beech does a fine job as fragments sift slowly through muddy waters. She sets the stage through intense dialogue and rugged confrontations between her characters. As readers, we are on the lookout for symbolism and for avenues that may reveal more and more of the multi-faceted world of Catherine both consciously and subconsciously. And it is Louise Beech's excellent writing that rings true: "The right people keep the ghosts away."

I received a copy of Maria in the Moon through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Orenda Books and to Louise Beech for the opportunity.
Was this review helpful?