“I’m homesick all the time,” she said, still not looking at him “I just don’t know where home is. There’s this promise of happiness out there. I know it. I even feel it sometimes. But it’s like chasing the moon – just when I think I have it, it disappears into the horizon. I grieve and try to move on, but then the damn thing comes back the next night, giving me hope of catching it all over again.”
Following the death of her mother, Emily Benedict moves to Mullaby, North Carolina to live with the grandfather she never knew. In fact, her mother’s past and life in Mullaby is one big mystery to Emily and upon her arrival she gets more questions than answers. Not only are the reactions to her by the townspeople somewhat strange, but there are bizarre occurrences that show that there is more to this little town than meets the eye: Unknown lights appear in the woods behind her grandfather’s house, the wallpaper in her room changes to suit the mood, and her next door neighbour, Julia, bakes hope in the form of cakes. As Emily slowly learns the stories behind the mysteries of Mullaby, Julia has to come to terms with her own past and hopefully find a sense of home she lost so long ago.
The Girl Who Chased the Moon is simply lovely. The descriptions capture the setting beautifully and it is easy to get swept up in the magic of this little town with a somewhat storied history. Essentially we follow two storylines: Emily learning about her mother’s life in Mullaby and how it connects with her present situation, and Julia’s own past and search for what she has lost. I enjoyed both characters and storylines, although at a certain point I did feel more drawn to learning more about Julia. The book is fairly short at 264 pages, and I wish it had been longer simply because it would have maybe provided an opportunity for more character development and depth. The magical realism aspect of the novel is done well, and adds to the whimsical nature and overall feel of the story without overwhelming it. This is a cozy, charming little story and I look forward to reading more from this author.