Friday 27 February 2015

Review: The Girl Who Chased The Moon; Sarah Addison Allen.

I came into this book excited, but a little unsure of what to expect. Both Romance and Magical Realism as genres have produced some very mixed reactions from me in the past, so the two combined would either be a huge success or a total disaster. Fortunately, I soon realised that it would not be the latter. I loved this book! As the word 'Chase' appears in the title, I am choosing to enter this book into the Key Word challenge for this month.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: E-Read

TITLE: The Girl Who Chased The Moon
AUTHOR: Sarah Addison Allen
PAGES: 293
GENRE: Romance, Magical Realism, Adult

RATING: 4/5 Stars

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 neighbor 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.

What I Liked:
  • I really enjoyed Allen's writing style. It just flowed so beautifully, and she has a real knack for invoking the reader's senses to spark their imagination. Seriously, I swear I could smell cake while reading this book! Her ability to set the scene was fantastic, and I loved the way she described character's emotions. I was so in the mood for a book that wasn't too heavy on plot, and really wanted a sweet, gooey, heart-warming read. I certainly got that!
  • Some people complain that the characters are a bit one dimensional, but I actually really liked them! Throughout the story, there are a lot of POVs and I think that Allen did a really good job of purveying their emotional state and explaining how they got to where they were. She was fair to them all, I didn't find myself thinking that anyone was particularly wrong or unlikeable. In most cases, there actions and surroundings spoke louder than their thoughts too, which I liked.
  • The magical elements to this plot were very playful, original and made me smile. I think I really enjoyed the Magical Realism side to this book because there wasn't too much of it. I liked the idea of Stella's cheating husband leaving black soot on the skin of the women he slept with. I liked the mood dependent wallpaper, and the ghostly lights, and the charmed man who could see the smell of cake and follow it. Just small additions such as those really defined it's genre, without being overwhelming.
What I Disliked:
  • I wouldn't say that I necessarily didn't like this aspect, but I think you have to be in the right mood for an Allen book. Why? Because the plot falls a little short. It's a light-hearted fun read, but not very challenging when it comes to story-line and plot twists (i.e. it was a little predictable). It focuses much more on the characters and setting which I actually liked about it. 
  • Also, this one in particular has two intertwining plots that at times felt like they didn't quite mesh together. Julia's side felt like a chick-lit, complicated romance novel while Emily and Win's story felt much more like a Young Adult paranormal romance story. Apart they were fine, but told in unison, it felt a bit odd at times. I did like the two pairings though and I got much more heavily invested into Julia's story than I thought I would, so that is definitely a point in it's favour!
Overall Conclusion:
I enjoyed this book so much, despite my reservations. The writing was very good, the magical elements were fun but not too overwhelming, and the characters were likeable too. I expected the focus to be fully on Emily and Win's relationship and did not know that Julia and Sawyer would feature so heavily. While I liked both couples, perhaps the huge amount of attention given to Julia's side of things was to the detriment of Win and Emily's relationship as a whole. This is a great character story with some really well thought out world-building to go along with it. If you are looking to be surprised and shocked on every page though, perhaps don't pick this book up. The plot is lacking and this is much more of a cosy, fun read than a thrilling, intense shocker.

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