Review: Man in the Blue Moon
When Ella’s husband disappears, she struggles to take care of her children and hold onto her land and home. Since it’s the Depression, her store isn’t making enough to pay the bills. The local banker is hounding her and threatening foreclosure. When she receives a notice from the Blue Moon Clock Company notifying her that a prepaid shipment is due to arrive by steamboat, she figures her prayers have been answered. All she has to do is pay the freight and she’ll have a beautiful clock to sell. Surely it will bring in enough to pay some of the mortgage.
Ella and her children pick up the shipment and discover not a clock but a man nailed into the wooden crate. Lanier claims to be her husband’s cousin but there’s something about him that leaves Ella unsettled at first. He comes up with a plan to help her save her land but it might be too late.
I had mixed feelings as I started Man in the Blue Moon, by Michael Morris. On one hand, I was a little nervous since I rarely read Christian fiction and, on the other, I was excited about the setting – the book takes place in Florida’s panhandle, an area I’m very familiar with. I was also excited because the author is a graduate of Auburn. I really wanted to love this book but, in the end, I didn’t. Morris has a way with words but, for me, the book was overly descriptive and the prose was too flowery. Here’s an example, chosen at random:
Fog canopied the road in front of the store, and dew sprinkled like diamonds across the grass on Ella’s yard. Clouds hung so low that the earth and sky became one. Ella stood at her bedroom window and could only make out the azalea bush at the edge of her porch. A spider’s web, dotted with drops of water from the mist, hung from the corner of the porch banister. Ella studied the intricate design that looked like lace and wondered how long it had been there without her ever noticing.
I needed less description and more plot and felt the book could have been shorter. Those who enjoy descriptive writing will enjoy this more than I did, I’m sure. The Christian elements of the story were subtle and not preachy so that aspect of the book didn’t bother me at all.
I did think Ella was a fabulous character. She was loyal and loving as well as fierce and determined and wasn’t going to let anything stop her from achieving her goal. She didn’t worry about what other people thought – she just went about her business and did what had to be done.
I also enjoyed the setting. We lived in lower Alabama for 12 years, so I was familiar with all of the places mentioned in the book and could picture them in my mind.
In the end, I thought this book was just okay, but I’m definitely in the minority. If Man in the Blue Moon sounds remotely interesting to you, be sure to check out some other reviews.