Monday, November 5, 2012

Review of Michael Morris' Man in the Blue Moon

"Michael Morris is a wonderful writer with a unique gift – he can break your heart and mend it, all in the same sentence."
 ---Patti Callahan Henry, author of Coming Up For Air
Ella Wallace is the heroine of Michael Morris' Man in the Blue Moon. At thirty-five, she is just beginning to show her age. Her life is not the life the young school girl Ella imagined. She used to feel sorry for Neva Clarkson, her friend turned rival for the affections of Harlan Wallace. Now Neva is the schoolteacher and Ella finds herself wishing that Neva had been the one to win Harlan's affection. His heart was certainly not available. 
Harlan has disappeared leaving Ella to raise their three sons. The only thing she has is the commissary, where she sells goods to the townspeople. Of course she also has to deal with their lack of respect. Everyone knows Harlan has run off and Ella must be at fault.
Ella must also deal with Clive Gillespie, who once wanted her affection but now he is only interested in the land her Daddy left her — the same land Harlan mortgaged heavily to Clive. Ella's father made her promise to hold onto that land, it is all she has left of her family.
Ella has only one friend, Narsissa, a Creek Indian who came to Dead Lakes, Florida looking to earn money for passage to Brazil, where she was to join her husband. After six years, she is still there helping Ella raise her sons.
Ella goes to pick up a package from the Blue Moon Clock Company. She hopes it is a clock that she will be able to sell and momentarily appease Clive Gillespie. But Ella is surprised to find Lanier Stillis, Harlan's cousin, who is running from his own past.
With Lanier's help, Ella, Narsissa, and the boys set about to cut the lumber from the land and sell it.
Lanier has a bigger secret than what he is running from. He has a gift and people begin to notice.
Man in the Blue Moon is a mesmerizing page turner with wonderfully complex characters. I read that Michael draws from stories he used to listen to his grandmother tell, and her storytelling legacy continues through her grandson, Michael.

Artist's rendition of Ella's land in MAN IN THE BLUE MOON
Man in the Blue Moon is the November selection at She Reads. Pop over to their website to join the discussion. There are also some wonderful giveaways throughout the month.


  1. The characters were terrific, weren't they?

  2. I loved all the characters too, but there was something especially compelling about Narsissa.

  3. I liked Narsissa, too. Wouldn't her story be so interesting to read?

  4. I wonder if maybe he did write more of her story and it didn't make the novel.