Friday, November 9, 2012

Review: Man in the Blue Moon by Michael Morris

Man in the Blue Moon

Title: Man in the Blue Moon
Author: Michael Morris
Paperback: 400 pagesA
Release Date: August 17, 2012
ISBN-10: 1414368429
ISBN-13: 978-1414368429
Goodreads  Amazon

"He's a gambler at best. A con artist at worst," her aunt had said of the handlebar-mustached man who snatched Ella Wallace away from her dreams of studying art in France. Eighteen years later, that man has disappeared, leaving Ella alone and struggling to support her three sons. While the world is embroiled in World War I, Ella fights her own personal battle to keep the mystical Florida land that has been in her family for generations from the hands of an unscrupulous banker. When a mysterious man arrives at Ella's door in an unconventional way, he convinces her he can help her avoid foreclosure, and a tenuous trust begins. But as the fight for Ella's land intensifies, it becomes evident that things are not as they appear. Hypocrisy and murder soon shake the coastal town of Apalachicola and jeopardize Ella's family. (Goodreads)


Let’s pause, for just a moment, and go back to school for a minute.  I think you’ll need this educational break to appreciate this book, a refresher on the definition of tragedy:

  1. An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.
  2. A play dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, esp. one concerning the downfall of the main character.

There is no getting around the fact that Man in the Blue Moon is a tragedy, and one of epic proportions.  This is a well written novel, a story that will haunt you until you finish it.  A story that burdens you with the harsh realities of life.  Ella Wallace is left with the burden of raising her family, running the store that she and her husband, Harlan, owned, merely existing, and repaying the second mortgage Harlan took out on her land all on her own.  Her husband left her.  Out of the blue, Lanier shows up.  Literally.  And things just get worse.  You can tell things are only getting worse, but you’re still not prepared for it.  Morris sets the story up in such a way that you get a feel for what’s going to happen, but leaves you guessing a little bit.  There are surprises along the way, but not a single thing redeems this tragedy.

There’s a scene toward the end of the book, where all the character’s demons that have haunted them throughout the story come together, melding into a glorious brouhaha that marks the change in the tide of Ella’s life. 

To find out more, you need to read this book.  It is good, no great.  But it is heavy.  I had to read it in small chunks over the coarse of about 45 days.

The craziest part of all, is that parts of the story are based on a true story!

4 Moons

Get to reading,
signature 3

About the Author

Michael  Morris
A fifth-generation native of Perry, Florida, Michael Morris knows Southern culture and characters. They are the foundation and inspiration for the stories and novels he writes.

Michael started his career as a pharmaceutical sales representative and began writing in the evenings. The first screenplay he penned is still someplace in the bottom of a desk drawer.

While studying under author Tim McLaurin, Michael started the story that would eventually become his first novel, A Place Called Wiregrass. The debut book won the Christy Award for Best First Novel.

Michael’s second novel, Slow Way Home, was compared to the work of Harper Lee and Flannery O’Connor by the Washington Post. It was nationally ranked as one of the top three recommended books by the American Booksellers Association and named one of the best novels of the year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Michael is also the author of a novella based on the Grammy-nominated song “Live Like You Were Dying,” which became a finalist for the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. His essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Dallas Morning News and the Minneapolis Star Tribune. In addition, his short stories can be found in Sonny Brewer’s Stories from the Blue Moon Café II and in Not Safe, but Good II, an anthology edited by Bret Lott.

A graduate of Auburn University, Michael also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. He lives in Alabama with his wife, Melanie. (Goodreads)


  1. Ooo! I'm always up for a good tragedy...I wonder what that says about me.

  2. Wow. I've never heard of this book before but it sounds like it is intense and yet a rewarding read. I love love love these stories that are Southern but sometimes they are just tragic. This one kind of sounds like a great movie.

    "I had to read it in small chunks over the coarse of about 45 days." --> I have to do this ALL THE TIME. Taking long periods of time to read books, I mean. But I find that when I do, they impact me and I remember a lot of the content and I think on them a great deal more than the ones I breeze through in a day or two.

    Great review! I like the way you read this one slowly.


Thanks so much for the comment love!