shortlisted for Book of the Month
Family drama / Coming of Age
"Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains during the summer of 1969, Moon Water follows Nettie, a gritty sixteen-year-old who is reeling from sucker punches coming from all directions. Her boyfriend since grade school wants to break up just as they were beginning to figure out the sex thing, her life-long nemesis is jabbing her with perfectly polished nails, and her hell’s fire and brimstone preacher refuses to baptize her. In the middle of this turmoil, an old medicine woman for the Monacan Indians gives her a cryptic message about a coming darkness: a blood moon whose veiled danger threatens Nettie and those she loves. To survive, Nettie and her best friend, Win, have to build a mysterious dreamcatcher–one that requires them to scour the perilous mountains for Nature’s ancient but perfect elements."
Nettie is living in Virginia in 1969 and is embarking on her first relationship break-up as the summer vacation begins. Visiting Nibi with her best friend, Win, Nibi's granddaughter, provides a distraction, as does a project that Nibi sets both girls - to make a dream catcher, a task that is harder than either girl at first imagines. Neither girl understands why Nibi is so insistent, but they accept her wisdom and do everything she says, with only a little complaining.
Meanwhile, Nettie is called on by her neighbour to help her out with her grandsons who are staying for the summer while their parents bicker over an affair in California. Ethan and Cal turn out to be somewhat older than expected, and better still, Ethan has the keys to his grandmother's car.
As summer progresses and the dream catcher takes shape, Nettie must choose between Andy, her former boyfriend and Ethan, and puzzle out the meaning of Nibi's visions and pronouncements, because they may just save her life.
This is a sweet coming of age novel that packs a bigger punch than at first you'd expect. What begins as teen angst goes on to examine the Monacan community, its continuity, the gentle maintenance of the old ways in a modern world. We also see how friendships can make a difference, and how some never get going.
An easy read but not a simple one, this novel is certainly thought-provoking. It could be serious and wallow in itself, but it doesn't, with delightful moments of comedy that isn't forced, shocking moments you don't see coming, and a satisfying conclusion.
© Nicky Galliers
pre-publication ARC edition provided for review
Note from admin: strictly speaking, this novel is outside our remit of what constitutes 'historical', but every so often a book comes along that is a fabulous read and will be of interest to all our visitors - and we do like to be flexible when a Good Read deserves a good review!
Read more about this author on her Book Tour Guest Post
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