Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore

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Source: TLC Book Tours
Paperback, 244 pgs.
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Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore is a spiral of mystery in which Lidia Raven, the mother of teenage twin girls, has her life upended by a pane that crashes into her family home.  Raven’s life already had jolted off track when her husband left her for another man, and she chose to parent her children on her own, leaving a prosperous career for the suburbs.  Behind the home, the apple orchards stand guard, watching over the new generations as the previous generations’ secrets remain hidden in passages beneath the house and among the surviving generations.  With nods to Byron’s poetry and to the bravery and passion of Amelia Earhart, Moore’s prose is winding, meandering through Lidia’s concerns about her daughters, her obsessions with the flyer who crashed into her home, and her difficulty in letting go of her past life with her husband.  Her neighbor, Polly, takes the Raven family in as the house is restored and the FBI investigation wraps up, and this woman is a sage, offering sound advice to those willing to listen.

Since the breakup of her ideal family, Lidia has spent a lot of hours worrying about when the next shoe would drop and upend her world again.  She’s been in protectionist mode for far too long, and with help from Polly, she learns to be more open and more flexible, but she also has to face some of the ghosts in her family’s past.  While the intricacies of the family mystery are interesting and the pilot’s obsession with Earhart are engaging, the main story often gets lost in the references to Byron and to Earhart.  The story would have felt less distant if the reader could have connected closer with Lidia and her heartbreak.

Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore offers tidbits of conflict that are resolved either too quickly or barely resolved.  Lidia is a character that seems underdeveloped emotionally, and while the daughters are on the periphery, they have greater depth.  Lidia’s character falls in love too quickly, is easily spooked, and has a stubborn streak when her heart is broken.  Without Polly, Lidia would have plugged along in her life without making any real changes, and in this way, she redeems the novel for this reader.  Polly’s life is fascinating, and her sage advice will remind readers of those grandmothers who carefully steer loved ones in the right direction.

About the Author:

Jean P. Moore began her professional life as an English teacher, later becoming a telecommunications executive. She and her husband, Steve, and Sly, their black Lab, divide their time between Greenwich, Connecticut and the Berkshires in Massachusetts, where Jean teaches yoga in the summers.

Her work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals such as upstreet, SN Review, Adanna, Distillery, Skirt, Long Island Woman, the Hartford Courant, Greenwich Time, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Water on the Moon was published in June of 2014 and won the 2015 Independent Publishers Book Award for Contemporary Fiction. Visit her on her website, on her blog, and Twitter.

Mailbox Monday #342

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Water on the Moon by Jean P. Moore for a TLC Book Tour in November.

Early one morning, Lidia Raven, mother of teenage twins, awakens to the sound of a sputtering airplane engine in the distance. After she and her girls miraculously survive the crash that destroys their home, they’re taken in by Lidia’s friend, Polly, a neighbor who lives alone on a sprawling estate. But Lidia has other problems. Her husband has left her for another man, she’s lost her job, and she fears more bad news is on the way when she discovers a connection between her and Tina Calderara, the pilot who crashed into her home. In the months following the crash, Lidia plunges into a mystery that upends every aspect of her life, forcing her to rethink everything she thinks she knows.

Underdays: Poems by Martin Ott, winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, for review.

Underdays is a dialogue of opposing forces: life/death, love/war, the personal/the political. Ott combines global concerns with personal ones, in conversation between poems or within them, to find meaning in his search for what drives us to love and hate each other. Within many of the poems, a second voice, expressed in italic, hints at an opposing force “under” the surface, or multiple voices in conversation with his older and younger selves—his Underdays—to chart a path forward. What results is a poetic heteroglossia expressing the richness of a complex world.

Mountains Without Handrails by Joseph L. Sax for review.

Focusing on the long-standing and bitter battles over recreational use of our national parklands, Joseph L. Sax proposes a novel scheme for the protection and management of America’s national parks. Drawing upon the most controversial disputes of recent years—Yosemite National Park, the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and the Disney plan for California’s Mineral King Valley—Sax boldly unites the rich and diverse tradition of nature writing into a coherent thesis that speaks directly to the dilemma of the parks.

The Kingdom and After by Megan Fernandes for review from Tightrope Books.

From Tanzania to Portugal, from India to Iraq, The Kingdom and After charts the 21st-century imaginative echo of empire and displacement in our current moment of terror and globalization. Sometimes written in frank, shrunken lines and other times exploding with surrealist, jurassic imagery, the poems witness an associative mind leaping from bone temples in Tanga to the pumiced surface of extraterrestrial oceans, from a panic attack in Mumbai to the tumbling spirits of the Big Sur coastline. These poems articulate a complex portrait of female sexuality and personhood. Not only excavating the legacy of empire with philosophical rigor, the speaker also dwells in humiliation and wonder, accusation and regret, while trying to envision what indeed remains after the era of kingdoms and kinghood.

Ghost Sick: A Poetry of Witness by Emily Pohl-Weary for review from Tightrope Books.

When a Christmas Eve shooting devastated Pohl-Weary’s community, she began to hunt through the numbness and grief for some understanding and hopefulness about the future.

In the tradition of Carolyn Forché, Ernesto Cardenal and Shu Ting, Ghost Sick is a poetry of witness. It chronicles the impact of violence on an inner-city Toronto neighbourhood, the power of empathy, and the resilience of the human spirit.

What did you receive?