Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt
The first step to letting go of the past is forgiving it…
Every day of her life Julia Rich lives with the memory of a horrible accident she caused long ago. In the years since, she has tried to hide her guilt in the quiet routine of teaching at a small South Carolina college, avoiding close relationships with family and would-be friends. But one day a phone call from Carmen, a niece she has never met, disrupts her carefully controlled world.
Carmen is a study in contrasts—comical yet wise, sunny yet contemplative, soft yet assertive. As she sets about gently drawing Julia from her self-imposed solitude into a place of hope, she also seeks her own peace for past mistakes.
Together, the two women embark on a journey that takes Julia far from the familiar comfort of home and gives Carmen the courage to open her heart. Together, their sightseeing trip turns into a discovery of truth, grace, redemption, and, finally, love…
To See the Moon Again centers around two very different women. Julia is staid, intellectual and very set in her ways. Carmen is full of wanderlust, faith and a childlike trust. At least this is how it seems to be when the reader first meets them. This novel is full of hope, tragedy, faith, happenstance, and family. The events of the past are slowly trickled out to the reader. The past of each of these women made them who they are at the time of their meeting. The trip they take is not only one of travel, but of healing and discovery. And the events of this trip will be felt even after they return to South Carolina.
Jamie Langston Turner’s writing style is effortless and heartfelt. Things seemed to sneak up on me as I was reading this novel. Where I would think a section was about one thing, it would turn around and revel so much more. The main characters, Julia and Carmen, are both complex in such opposing ways. As their background stories unfold I had to wonder how they came to be who they were, would they change and if I could have done better in those circumstances. Ms. Turner displayed their hearts and fears so vividly I was able to feel them as well. At times I was angry, sad and then again hopeful while reading this wonderful novel. This novel touched on family relationships, casual acquaintances, work associations and day to day interactions. There was such a divide between Julia and Carmen’s personalities that each played out these situations completely different. The feelings and emotions that Ms. Turner brought to this novel touch on so many contrasting daily occurrences and life altering events from years gone by.
I would recommend To See the Moon Again to anyone and everyone. There is a hope in all the tragedy that these women endured that would be well served by all of us. Carmen states to Julia in the last chapter something that I hold on to and hope for all of us.
“All our transgressions are carried away. He stretches out his hand to the needy. He rides the storms and divides the waters. We are troubled on every side, but not in despair, cast but not forsaken. He commands light to shine out of the darkness.”
Julia is sad but in the end, she thinks of one thing that helps her resolve.
“It is the same sky that sheltered everyone, the same moon that shone down on the whole world.”
And in the end Julia and Carmen are both able to “see the moon again”.