The Girl Who Chased The Moon
Sarah Addison Allen
****** (6 out of 6 stars)
cover - beautiful cover. I'm not sure it really represents what's going on in the story. It does in a way, but there's way more to the story....
The Girl Who Chased The Moon is another beautifully written story with magical words, happenings and atmosphere. There is so much to this story - it's not just about the main character - Emily, but about her mother and a boy from a strange family long ago. It's about Sawyer and Julia, who had one night long ago, and came from different walks of life. It's about Dulcie (Emily's now deceased mother) and her past. And about Vance - the grandfather of Emily, over 8 feet tall and a rather reserved man and his lost love.
Emily is a young under 18 year old, whose mother has recently died. Not knowing any other relatives, Emily and her grandfather have been put in touch with each other and her grandfather tells her she's welcome anytime. Emily travels to Mullaby to meet her grandfather and plans to go to school there at least for a little while. When she gets there, she's surprised at just how tall her grandfather is, and how he seems so aloof. Not only that, but she's not prepared for how the town reacts to her coming to her mother's hometown. Seems the mother Emily has grown up with - workaholic, putting other people's needs ahead of hers and her family, working very hard for the unfortunate - is not the same Dulcie that left the town of Mullaby so very long ago. Emily has some surprises in store.
Emily's first surprise is her room - with the wall paper that supposedly changes according to the mood of the occupant. At first the changes of the wall paper didn't come into play much - something I was hoping would be a frequent occurance, but toward the end of the novel, there were some dramatic changes. Emily is taken under the wing of Julia - a former rebel who has her own secrets to overcome or hide.
Julia and Sawyer - a lawyer, grew up going to the same school, but never really walked in the same circles. her father was a hardworking man and Julia was a rebellious teen who colored her hair vibrant pink. Sawyer grew up with the other priviledged kids of Mullaby, but one night the two come crashing together, leaving a lasting impression on the both - though they don't really talk much until Emily's appearance seems to set some forces in motion, drawing secrets out and exposing things some would rather not have exposed.
There is so much more to this story - it's a wonderful story full of that magical realism that Sarah Addison Allen has been known for. There are these lights in the back yard that Emily is told to ignore - does she follow the edict? of course not. The Girl Who Chased the Moon is about secrets, history and the story of how these secrets cause more damage remaining secrets than they do when finally exposed. There are quite a few stories interwoven with each other, all affecting the others. It's a very well written addition to Allen's other stories with quirky towns and characters with that touch of magic that she's known for. I recommend it for a wonderful afternoon of reading.
One of the fun things about Sarah Addison Allen is that she includes not only an excerpt on her site, but recipes that her characters use, and other little tidbits that are connected to the novel. It's fun to explore her book pages.