Title: The Girl who Chased the Moon
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
On the Shelves: Fiction> Contemporary
In her latest enchanting novel, New York Times bestselling 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. Such as, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? And 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 neighbour bakes hope in the form of cakes.
Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes—which is a good thing, because Julia can’t seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar . . . Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she’s hurt in the past?
Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in. (Goodreads 2014)
This book follows the stories of two women in one town. It begins with a young girl named Emily, who is moving to Mullaby, to live with her grandfather after her mother has died. When she arrives, she finds she is immediately stigmatised by those who have lived in Mullaby for years, before she has even opened her mouth to say “hello”, apparently, it is all to do with something her mother did before she moved away from Mullaby. Her grandad is very quiet and claims that the wallpaper changes colours, Emily has no idea what is going on- and even weirder, there are some very strange lights which Emily keeps seeing at night.
The story then switches from Emily, to Emily’s neighbour, Julia, who went to school with Emily’s mother and is well aware of what happened in the past. She too has only recently moved back to Mullaby, with her heart set on managing her recently deceased father’s diner for two years to pay off his debts, before leaving the town she always hated once again to set up her own bakery.
Throughout this novel you discover what exactly Emily’s mum did, and how Julia is being judged quite harshly for it (gotta love small town etiquette, right?), you learn about Julia’s past demons and how she struggles to face them, and about the town of Mullaby and it’s population in general.
I really enjoyed this book. I read Allen’s work The Sugar Queen years ago, and I remember enjoying that one as well. There seems to be a constant theme of baking around her writing. I remember though I got quite attached to the characters in that novel as well, just like I did here. I actually cared about Emily getting the town of Mullaby to like her, but I care even more about Julia. I felt so bad for her, for being left with her father’s debt and having to go back and face her demons. I actually think I would’ve been happier if this book had entirely been about Julia’s story and didn’t have Emily in it!
I guess this falls under “chick lit” but I would put it more under “contemporary”. The writing style is beautiful in this book, you are immediately drawn into the mysteries of Mullaby. The book itself lost a star because it has a slightly strange paranormal-type twist at the end, which personally, I did not feel was necessary and it just felt like it was added as an additional thought- the book would’ve been fine without it. But otherwise? I highly recommend this book.