Foreword Reviews

The Moon Always Rising

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

The Moon Always Rising is a complicated and memorable supernatural romance.

In Alice C. Early’s unusual romance The Moon Always Rising, an investment banker buys a haunted West Indies estate, filling it with hope for her future.

Els is single and disenchanted when her boss sends her on a forced Caribbean vacation to help her reset. But Els quits her job instead, staying on in the islands as an expatriate. She’s soon ensconced in the former home of Jack Griggs, a dead rapscallion whom locals fear is still roaming in spirit. Jack is present in Els’s story as a suave, romantic ghost whose past illicit affair with a coquette is a nightmarish indulgence.

An unexpected alliance forms between Els and Jack’s devil-may-care, complicated, literary-minded ghost, who wants Els to leave her past behind. In life, Jack was a vain and eccentric alcoholic; he was also beloved and legendary to his crew of loyal misfits. In death, Jack encourages Els toward a relationship with a sailor, Liz. He’s adept at pushing Els toward embracing her feelings while hinting to his own regrets and forging a credible comeback: Jack also wants something for himself. A striking secondary story about atonement gradually brings people from Jack’s life into Els’s.

The book’s sections alternate in their foci, moving between the restoration of Els’s new home and flashbacks to her time in Scotland and London, during which her lover was murdered, her father died, and her family estate was sold. The story is a careful amalgam of personal tragedies and present-day dilemmas, including new knowledge about Els’s estranged Italian mother. Els, it becomes clear, has ample reason to be impulsive. As her home repair project transforms the place into a livable refuge and restaurant business, lucid descriptions arise that draw subtle parallels to her own healing, too.

Els’s encounters with islanders lead to friendships, though Els is unavoidably different within them because she’s a privileged newcomer. These advantages are handled with sensitivity as Els converses with suspicious locals; she wins them over with her sincerity. Her relationship to a fisherman and his family is made to connect to Jack’s past in touching ways, while her romance with Liz, who is plagued by his own dramatic tragedy and who escapes his pain through seafaring, builds in hesitant, realistic increments. Her rekindled relationship with her mother is also fraught with pleasures and challenges.

Complicated and memorable, the supernatural romance The Moon Always Rising finds a woman remaking her life abroad and a ghost repairing old rifts.

Reviewed by Karen Rigby

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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