November’s She Reads book club pick is Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris. Besides being a pick of She Reads- Man in the Blue Moon has received some notable praise from other authors- specfically Pat Conroy. When people in high places are praising the book and author, a reader is surely in for a good ride. This book is no exception.
Ella Wallace- a 35 year old woman with 3 kids and a husband who has left her for parts unknow. Her aunt warned her years ago about Harlan- “He’s a gambler at best. A con artist at worst”- but Ella was young, full of dreams and love for this man. Now she’s paying the price. Ella is on the verge of losing the one thing she has left (besides her 3 kids)- her land. Ella speaks of this land similarily to how Mr. O’Hara spoke of land to Scarlett in Gone with the Wind; but the land is important Ella and she needs to keep it- especially since if she loses the land it will be in the hands of a man who is not fit to spit on the land that Ella holds dear, much less own it.
When Ella was a teen, she was involved with Clive Gillespie. Harlan Wallace swept in and stole the young Ella from Clive- and that is not the first embarassment that Clive suffered at the hands of the Harlan- a man who had more charisma than needed. Clive is pressuring Ella to sell her precious land to him or face foreclosure- either way to him, he’ll own it. Clive plays it close to the vest as to why he wants the land, but secrets- they do have a way of coming out.
All while Ella is facing the propsect of losing her land, a package arrives for Ella- only it’s not quite the package that she had expected. It’s a man, Lanier, a relation of Harlan. Lanier has his own secrets that he would rather not tell, as well.
Does Ella lose her land? What is Clive’s secret plans with Ella’s land? Is Lanier a friend or foe? Will Harlan come back to Ella- and if he does, will Ella accept him back into her life after the pain he’s caused? The answers to all the above questions are in this beautifully written book- a book that will move you to tears at times.
This is a wonderfully written book: Themes of desperation, redemption, betrayal, love, loss, learning to become stronger than you ever had to be, and accepting people and yourself- are interweaved through the story- to create a tale that is dramatic, sorrowful, bittersweet, and engaging. This is a book that causes the reader to feel emotions- the reader will find aspects to be angry about, happy, sad, and hopeful. The reader will feel sadness during the book- and ultimately sadness when the book is finished; because Man in the Blue Moon is that good of a book.