A MOON IN ALL THINGS is a standalone heroine’s journey complete at 77,600 words. In early 1820s, the ancient Irish culture is under siege from a world ruled by English landowners and the Catholic Church, who've cast the old ways as “pagan.” Fifteen-year-old MORRIGAN LANE can still hear the beguiling song of her magical land, but it is becoming a whisper. She dreams of being a sea captain, anything to free herself from the confines of her life. But her dreams are disrupted when she encounters a messenger from The Otherworld who calls her to heal damage to the sacred World Tree using her grandmother’s forbidden Celtic magic. Morrigan sets out to discover who she is, guided by Invisibles in a ancient grove, an itinerant traveler with an important clue, and a crone mentor. But tensions mount as Morrigan’s intuitive powers strengthen and become a threat to the overzealous Schoolmaster Winnett, who wants her gone. And each experience erodes her sea-captain dream and a possible future with her love, Fionn. Soon, Morrigan must confront her destiny and choose between two risky paths: as wife to Fionn in America, or as healer in the hardscrabble land of her ancestors.
Plot: Comeau delivers a beautifully crafted historical fantasy infused with lyricism and Celtic magic. The story unfolds in such a manner that is almost dreamlike, yet not insubstantial. A somewhat open-ended conclusion is no detriment to the novel; instead, readers will feel that the ambiguity serves the book's nuanced vision of an uncommon, mythical world and the journey taken by the capable, multidimensional heroine. Though intended readership is not specified, this novel may have particular appeal to young adults.
Prose: The prose contains few moments of overwriting, repetition, and passive or expository language that can short-change the otherwise fine storytelling (for instance, the use of "suddenly" phrases). Nevertheless, Comeau has a lush, recognizable style with figurative language that will linger in the minds of readers.
Originality: Though the novel does incorporate some familiar elements (a young woman with second sight; a distinguishing birthmark), this is a generally original work that takes place within a haunting, fabulistic realm. The author brings an element of timelessness to the richly woven narrative.
Character Development: The capable, strong-willed heroine's view point is consistently engrossing, allowing readers full access to her internal life, as well as a vicarious connection to the natural world that so informs her character. Additional players read somewhat like archetypes, but within the mythical landscape presented, they fulfill their roles in a manner that completes the story.
Date Submitted: August 31, 2019