I always get a bit of a thrill when the first paragraph of a book immediately grabs me.
The Last of The Moon Girls by Barbara Davis did just that.
“A body that has been submerged in water undergoes a different kind of decomposition: harsher in some ways, kinder in others- or so I’ve been told. We Moons wouldn’t know about that. We choose fire when our time comes and scatter our ashes on land that has been in our families for more than two centuries. Mine are there now too, mingled with the dust of my ancestors”.
It would be difficult to give this book a “type”. It is part drama, part mystery and part magical love story. It is family, and resentment, fear and abandonment. It is about history and the gifts we all have within us. Whether one believes in “witches” or those with “magical” powers, nine generations of very special “Moon” women lived and died in the tiny town of Salem Creek, on Moon Girl Farm.
Eight years ago, a double murder set Salem Creek on edge. And as the bodies were pulled from Althea Moon’s pond, suspicion fell directly on this mysterious woman’s shoulders. Shunned from the local gossip, her family humiliated and blamed, her granddaughter Lizzy fled to New York, where she carved out a nice life for herself for the next eight years.
When Althea dies, Lizzy returns.
As beneficiary to the farm, and the last of the “Moon Girls”, Lizzy’s plan is to sell and high tail it back to New York as fast as her magical little legs can carry her.
But we all know what happens when we make plans, right? Yep, the universe decides to shake things up a bit.
Mix in a bit of magic and a journal, an eight year murder mystery (who killed those girls?), a small town cast of characters and a hunky neighbor who knows how to fix up a centuries old farm, and you have yourself a potion for a great story. The unexpected arrival of “Rhanna” adds another layer onto Lizzy’s experience at being back home.
This story was easy to read, with a good pace. It was told in a mostly linear timeline, though Althea’s journal entries (placed strategically through the book) did give us a glimpse into the story of these women’s lives before the murders and Lizzy’s subsequent departure.
I would have liked a bit more on the generations before Althea- they are mentioned early on, but their “gifts” are never really explained.
The authors description of herbs and flowers was beautiful; I could almost smell the pages as I was reading. And the recipes included at the end were a nice touch. “Lavender and Lemon Sugar Scrub”, anyone? How about a nice “Silky Bedtime Bath” tea?
All in all, a really great book, about the importance of love, family and honoring the gifts you have been given.