Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: The Girl Who Chased the Moon

The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Narrated By: Rebecca Lowman
Published By: Random House Audio
Publication Date: March 2010
Length: 7 hours, 2 minutes
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Library
Audience: Adult - Southern Fiction, Magical Realism

On the Writing & Story:

There is something captivating about Sarah Addison Allen's writing. I just can't seem to get enough. Its been ages since I read Garden Spells, but after devouring and loving The Peach Keeper, I decided I needed to read everything she's written. The Girl Who Chased the Moon was the next on my list and it proved to be just as appealing as the previous books. Sarah Addison Allen is truly an artist - she paints such a quirky, realistic view of small town southern life complete with superstitions, interesting characters, and a dash of magic. However, be warned, every book she writes has some sort of food element and they never cease to make me crave the delights that sate the hungers of the characters. The Girl Who Chased the Moon will make you crave cake and BBQ - prepare yourself.

Another aspect that I love about Allen's writing is the sense of place she creates with each small North Carolina town. None of them are real places, but she writes them in such a way that makes me believe that somehow, somewhere they actually could exist. Mullaby is the location for this novel and like previous books its a town full of unique individuals who all have their own stories to tell. Mullaby is one of those fictitious places that I would love to live in. I'll just move myself right on into Vance's house - he's got plenty of space for lil ole me.

I also love how Allen sets up the stories of two very distinct characters and then throughout the novel they come together; their stories weaving together to create a larger plot. Emily Benedict, a teen whose mother has recently died in a car wreck, must come to live in Mullaby with her Grandpa Vance, a man she never knew existed until her mother's death. Vance is the town giant - literally - and his house is mystical. There is a certain bedroom where the wallpaper changes based on the mood of the inhabitant, frogs randomly show up in the dryer, and lights dance in the forest at night. Emily is caught up in the mystery of it all, but will she be able to make a life for herself in Mullaby when her mother's past comes back to haunt her? The second story line follows Julia Winterson, a thirty something who fled the town in her teens under duress and returned only when her father passed away. Julia is not keen on revisiting the hurts of her teen years, but they seem to be lurking behind every corner in Mullaby. Baking cakes is the only thing that soothes her woes and keeps the heartaches at bay. However, she soon learns that her vision of people from her past may be slightly skewed and that life in Mullaby may be just what she needs. Julia's relationship with Sawyer was another highlight of this book for me.

I loved all the characters in this one and their interesting quirks. The story of the Coffee family was particularly intriguing to me, but I don't want to speak on that. I enjoyed trying to piece together the clues to figure out their big family secret and wouldn't want to ruin that experience for others.

Sarah Addison Allen's work is a gem and I highly recommend it to fans of southern fiction and those who enjoy a little romance and magic. These reads will warm your heart, increase your appetite, and leave you craving more of Allen's writing. Her characters have become treasured bookish friends and I know that I will be revisiting them in the future. Sarah Addison Allen has cemented her spot on my favorite author list.

On the Audio:

It took me a little time to settle into Rebecca Lowman's narration, but once I did I truly enjoyed both her voice and her interpretation of the characters. She did a really nice job of distinguishing between the Emily and Julie segments. Each character's story elements had a different sound to them. Sarah Addison Allen's work on audiobook is amazing; her novels are truly written in a storytelling format, which lends itself well to the transition to audio. I would also not hesitate to listen to other novels narrated by Lowman.


One Last Gripe: I hated that the town treated Emily badly because of the actions of her mother, but unfortunately it was very realistic.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The Coffee family secret

First Sentence: It took a moment for Emily to realize the car had come to a stop.

Favorite Characters: I can't choose between Emily and Julia so I'm going to pick them both

Least Favorite Character: Julia's stepmother



In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestelling author Sarah Addison Allen invites you to a quirky little Southern town with more magic than a full Carolina moon. Here two very different women discover how to find their place in the world…no matter how out of place they feel. 

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. For instance, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? Why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life.

Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth and in the hope of bringing back the love she fears she’s lost forever. In Julia, Emily may have found a link to her mother’s past. But why is everyone trying to discourage Emily’s growing relationship with the handsome and mysterious son of Mullaby’s most prominent family? Emily came to Mullaby to get answers, but all she’s found so far are more questions.

Is there really a ghost dancing in her backyard? Can a cake really bring back a lost love? In this town of lovable misfits, maybe the right answer is the one that just feels…different.




2 comments:

  1. A charming, sensitive story that has a way of making you feel a part of it all. I felt like I was a shadow of these characters, following them throughout their day. It was fun and mysterious. Sarah Addison Allen has a beautiful imagination. She is a modern storyteller with a special touch of magic!

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    Replies
    1. I agree! I love Sarah Addison Allen's writing and imagination. I can't wait for more of her books. She is one of my favorite authors.

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