The Girl Who Chased the Moon
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She'd wanted to do this alone, but she understood that her parents were worried, and if paying for her stay at a swanky inn made them feel better, then she would suffer through it and diligently eat the chocolate put on her pillow every night.
In the spring, in a flood of pain and fear so great she doubled over in French class, Julia went into labour. […] She could feel the baby’s frustration, her impatience, as she manoeuvred her way to freedom. And Julia couldn’t stop her. As much as she wanted to, there was nothing she could do to keep this child physically bound to her any longer. Her daughter had a mind, and an agenda, all her own. After it was all over, the baby proceeded to fuss about how hard her journey had been to anyone who would listen, the way old ladies in tweed coats liked to fuss about long, hot train rides into the city. It made Julia laugh, holding the squawking infant in her arms.
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When Emily’s mother Dulcie dies in a car accident, Emily has no where else to go but to her mother’s old home town to live with a grandfather she has never met. Mullaby, North Carolina feels foreign to Boston-raised Emily, and her gigantic grandfather seems as baffled with her presence as she is by him. Her wonderful mother Dulcie – the philanthropic woman who saved countless lives - is never discussed. And soon she realizes that everyone in town seems to harbor some silent resentment about her mother, and the Dulcie they remember is not the saint who brought up Emily. While most townspeople seem ready to transfer their anger for Dulcie to her daughter, there are others who are curious about her. Win Coffey, a mysterious young man to whom she is drawn like a moth to a flame, knows the source of the bitterness in town, but has a battle of his own to fight, and her neighbour Julia, the woman who bakes exquisite cakes, has a secret of her own, one she cannot even share with her best friend. As a matter of fact, there are many tantalizing and enchanting secrets in Mullaby – wallpaper that changes with one’s mood, strange glowing lights in the woods, denied attractions between old flames, and pent-up sadness and guilt for actions long past. The Girl Who Chased the Moon is Sarah Addison Allen’s third novel, and in it we are again treated to a sensual, charmed story; there is still some darkness – high-school bullying, alienation, self-cutting, teen suicide – but ultimately Emily, Julia, Win and even grandpa Vance show that people do not have to be defined by their pasts and can be free to pursue the future they want, if they have the courage to choose.