by Helen Cullen
On an island off the west coast of Ireland the Moone family gathers, only to be shattered by tragedy. Murtagh Moone is a potter and devoted husband to Maeve, an actor struggling with her most challenging role yet – mother to their four children. Now Murtagh must hold his family close as we bear witness to their story before that night.
We return to the day Maeve and Murtagh meet, outside Trinity College in Dublin, and watch how one love story gives rise to another. As the Moone children learn who their parents truly are, we journey onwards with them to a future that none of the moons could have predicted.
Except perhaps Maeve herself.
I had such high hopes for this book. I really expected to love it. I tried. I just didn’t care for it. Maeve deals with mental illness. They really never clarify a ‘diagnosis’. Severe depression for sure. I would say maybe bi-polar. Being married to someone bi-polar I could definitely identify with Murtagh and the kids. Life with someone with mental illness isn’t easy. I would imagine it is different having a mom with it than a dad. I don’t care what our ‘woke’ world says, mom is the hub that holds the wheel together. We get different things from her than we do from dad. We need them both.
I think, for the amount of pages, the author missed an opportunity to dig into the relationships and the dynamics the mental illness brought to them, a bit more than she did. It seemed shallow. Definitely not the level of say a Janet McNeill book. I wanted to like Maeve. But the author just didn’t bring it to the level I could feel for her. I see my husband struggle and ache for him, but I never got there with Maeve.
I did like Murtagh though. I liked his deep love for Maeve, his total commitment to her and his family. Maybe because I can identify with him better. I don’t know. I loved the pottery and the island. But 250ish pages into this book on mental illness’ effect on a family, the book took a sudden turn in a whole different direction. Another cultural hot-button. Out of the blue, no warning. I literally threw the book down on the floor and said NO WAY! Did you have to go there and take away from this important topic. I did not even finish the last 50ish pages. I felt deceived. I’m sorry I paid good money for this book.
I think I need to just stick to my old books, to Agatha Christie, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Ruth Moore, Elisabeth Ogilvie. I am a grumpy old dinosaur who will not go willingly into the ‘woke’ future. Hate me if you must. So I’ve dug out an old copy of a 1936 John Dickson Carr mystery and got me a cup of tea and I’ll just enjoy the past.