Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Book Review - So Far Away by Meg Mitchell Moore

Today is the release day for Meg Mitchell Moore's new book, "So Far Away."

I found this book to be completely compelling and mesmerizing!

Thirteen-year-old Natalie Gallagher is trying to escape: from her parents' ugly divorce, and from the vicious cyber-bullying of her former best friend. Adrift, confused, she is a girl trying to find her way in a world that seems to either neglect or despise her. Her salvation arrives in an unlikely form: Bridget O'Connell, an Irish maid working for a wealthy Boston family. The catch? Bridget lives only in the pages of a dusty old 1920s diary Natalie unearthed in her mother's basement. But the life she describes is as troubling - and mysterious - as the one Natalie is trying to navigate herself, almost a century later.

"I am writing this down because this is my story. There were only ever two people who knew my secret, and both are gone before me."

Who was Bridget, and what became of her?
Natalie escapes into the diary, eager to unlock its secrets, and reluctantly accepts the help of library archivist Kathleen Lynch, a widow with her own painful secret: she's estranged from her only daughter. Kathleen sees in Natalie traces of the daughter she has lost, and in Bridget, another spirited young woman at risk.
What could an Irish immigrant domestic servant from the 1920s teach them both? As the troubles of a very modern world close in around them, and Natalie's torments at school escalate, the faded pages of Bridget's journal unite the lonely girl and the unhappy widow - and might even change their lives forever.

Meg Mitchell Moore tackles the very real and very prominent problem of cyberbullying in this fascinating novel.  Using the three voices of young Natalie, older Kathleen, and the past voice of Bridget, Moore shows that no matter what age, no matter what time period, girls would always be confronted by other girls who are mean. 

But this novel delves into more than just "mean girl bullying." Moore focuses on Kathleen, who is still grieving the loss of her own daughter who has been gone so many years. Kathleen hopes that she can redeem herself by helping Natalie the best she can, but she is surprised to find out that her help isn't always wanted or appreciated.

Natalie wants to handle her situation at school on her own, and exhibits that same "I can do it" attitude that is seen in most kids at one point or another. But she soon learns that maybe someone with a little worldly experience isn't a bad person to have around.

And finally, the story of Bridget, the young Irish lass who came to America with such big hopes and dreams, only to be faced with reality and hardship, ties the stories of the three women neatly together as the common factor that both Natalie and Kathleen can bond over.

"So Far Away" is a smartly and thoughtfully written novel that will linger in the mind of the reader long after the final page is turned.

Meg Mitchell Moore is the author of The Arrivals. She worked for several years as a journalist and her articles have been published in a wide variety of business and consumer magazines. She received a master's degree in English literature from New York University. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and their three children.  Check out her website at www.megmitchellmoore.com

Find Meg on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MegMitchellMoore

Follow Meg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/mmitchmoore

I received a review copy of this book from BookSparksPR. I was not compensated for my opinion.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

I really enjoyed her first novel so I'll look for this book. It sounds quite different but very good!

FABR Steph said...

I have been curious about this novel and have not read anything from this author. Thank you for your review. I will plan to give it a try.

Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews said...

Steph, she also wrote "The Arrivals." Thank you and Mary for stopping by!