The Pull of the Moon
Review: Set in the present day, a woman recalls the events of the summer of 1972 after receiving a letter from the mother of her long dead fiancÚ, in which she writes "I must find out what happened to my son," in The Pull of the Moon, a stand-alone thriller by Diane Janes.
Kate Mayfield was supposed to be spending that fateful summer between terms at the teaching college she was attending with her friend in France. Instead, and without telling her parents, she was in fact spending it with two university mates, Simon and Danny, the latter her current boyfriend, at a house in the English countryside. Simon's uncle owned the house and had agreed to allow them to stay providing they fix up the garden, including the construction of a pond and water feature. On a whim, before arriving, they traveled to a beach in Wales where they met Trudie, a charming young woman about Kate's age but one without a past — at least none she would admit to — who joined the threesome for a day of fun. But somewhat unexpectedly, and rather annoyingly to Kate, Trudie accompanies them to the house where she takes up residence, as if that were her plan all along. Kate's feelings about their living arrangement become more unsettled after she learns of an unsolved murder in the nearby wood with Trudie playing the role of a medium to the dead woman, and when a university classmate of Simon and Danny shows up, hinting a mystery of their own in the recent past.
The Pull of the Moon alternates between Kate relating events from 1972 that led up to the death of Danny and Kate in the present thinking back on how those events have shaped her life. An overriding theme to the book is one of knowledge. "I … ponder the contents of [Danny's mother's] first letter — her demand for the truth," Kate muses. "I must know, she says. Why must she? Why do people think it will always be better if they know? Trudie's mother doesn't know. She has been spared the truth and surely it is better that way." But is Kate, who is hardly an objective bystander, the right person to be deciding who goes to their grave knowing and who doesn't?
Even though the sequence of events in The Pull of the Moon is rather predictable, most hinted at early, the narrative is written in such a way that keeps the reader off guard, as it were. It could have been a much longer book, but the author wisely chooses not to explore many of the tangential plot elements that arise, some of which are left tantalizingly unresolved in the end. (Kate unilaterally deciding the reader doesn't need to know?) Overall, it's an excellent suspense novel and a good book club selection, with a list of reading group discussion questions included.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of The Pull of the Moon for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Pull of the Moon: England
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The Pull of the Moon by Diane Janes
Publisher: Soho Constable
Publication Date: May 2010
List Price: $25.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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