Friday, July 3, 2020

"The Moon Always Rising"

After undergraduate studies in creative writing, Alice Early pursued a career spanning academia, commercial real estate, international executive recruiting, and career-transition coaching. She’s come full circle to her first love, writing fiction, and her home by the sea. The Moon Always Rising is her award-winning debut novel.

Early applied the Page 69 Test to The Moon Always Rising and reported the following:
The Moon Always Rising is divided into six parts, the first four of which alternate between the Caribbean island of Nevis in 1999 - 2000 and the Scottish Highlands in 1996 - 1999. A reader opening to page 69 arrives in 1998 Scotland in Part Two. At the top of the page, the protagonist Els Gordon is completing a grueling day with the family attorney and her father, Harald, whose mental acuity is failing, shifting responsibility for managing their ancient estate onto her own shoulders. Little does she suspect the disaster her father’s investment decisions have created.

The rest of Page 69 contains sparring dialogue between Els and Hannah “Burtie” Burton, the widow who moved in 30 years previously with her three-year-old son Malcolm as housekeeper and nanny to two-year-old Els. Raised together, Els and Malcolm become soul mates, his companionship partially stanching Els’s wound from her mother’s unexplained departure to her native Italy. Burtie, long known by all to be Harald’s paramour, is now dying from breast cancer. She’s aware that her son and Els have re-connected after years of separation in school, career and station, and that their childhood friendship has recently erupted into adult passion. I was disappointed to see that Page 69 is a quiet page that doesn’t reflect big issues or central themes. It does provide a taste of my tight dialogue, which is often loaded with innuendo and unexpressed emotion. Importantly, it introduces some of the book’s most explosive scenes. If enticed to flip to the next page, the reader would learn of Els and Malcolm’s plans and see the passion of their relationship on full display. That love and the loss of it triggers most of Els’s behavior throughout the rest of the novel. So maybe our test is just off by one page.
Visit Alice C. Early's website.

--Marshal Zeringue