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Playing with the Moon [Hardcover]

Eliza Graham
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jun 2007
Two women, divided by fifty years, united by their grief . . .

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan New Writing (1 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230528872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230528871
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,857,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eliza Graham lives in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family. When she's not writing she enjoys going for walks with her dogs. She's also happy sitting in front of a fire with a glass of wine and a good book.

Her latest novel, The One I Was, was published in April 2014.

Find out more about Eliza on her website: elizagraham.co.uk.

You can also follow her on Twitter: Eliza_Graham or read more about her at her blog: Elizagraham.blogspot.com .

Under her pen name, Anna Lisle, Eliza writes novels set in the nineteenth century, the first of which is Allegra.

Product Description

Review

'Eliza Graham tells a powerful tale, and her characters are well drawn and believable. I enjoyed this book very much'
-- Historical Novels Review

'Eliza Graham tells a powerful tale, and her characters are well drawn and believable.'
-- Historical Novels Review

Book Description

Shattered by a recent bereavement, Minna and husband Tom retreat to an isolated village on the Dorset coast, seeking the solitude that will allow them to cope with their loss and rebuild their foundering marriage. Walking on the beach one day, they unearth a human skeleton. It is a discovery which will plunge Minna into a mystery which will consume her for months to come. The remains are soon identified as those of Private Lew Campbell, a black American GI who, it seems, drowned during a wartime exercise in the area half a century before. Growing increasingly preoccupied with the dead soldier’s fate, Minna befriends a melancholy elderly woman, Felix, who lived in the village during the war. As Minna coaxes Felix’s story from her, it becomes clear that the old woman knows more about the dead GI than she initially let on. Playing with the Moon is an unforgettable novel about memory and loss, about the legacy of war, and the need to reconcile ourselves to our past in order to live with the present.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A pleasure to read 31 July 2007
By J.S.
Format:Hardcover
A beautifully written novel with images as vivid as a well-drawn portrait. The characters and their stories stayed with me even when I was forced to set down the book to attend to "real life." This is a mystery with heart, and well worth the read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STELLAR WRITING! 3 July 2007
Format:Hardcover
An intriguing opening that keeps you hooked from then on--PLAYING WITH THE MOON is a very difficult book to part with for too long.

"I push past his restraining arm and see what he's dug up: a long white object. A bone... it's a human leg bone. Tom digs a little more and exposes a row of ivory-coloured arches. A ribcage."

The writing is stellar, the prose vivid, and the atmosphere perfect as we seamlessly switch between the present and the nineteen forties. The players in this poignant tale will stay with you for some time. I absolutely loved it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Linking time and people 20 July 2008
Format:Paperback
This book is based on the truth of what was happening in southern England in the build up to the Allied invasion of France in the Second World War. It also plays on the connections between those times and the early 21st century. These connections are built on the characters who have grown from the children of the earlier period to complex adults, who have harboured their personal secrets through all of those decades.

The opening chapter commences with the discovery of the skeleton of a GI who lost his life before the invasion started. But the mystery around how he died and who, if anyone, witnessed his untimely death, is something which is explored as the chapters switch back and forth between the time zones. The couple who discover the bones on the beach have their own problems, and their stress adds to the mounting tension that links the characters who have survived the fifty-something years since those horrible events.

The threads, as you would expect, all come together in the end, but I found that as I read a chapter in one time zone, I couldn't wait to get back to the last, where I knew I would find myself in the next. Confused? You won't be if you take the trouble to pick up this book and read it. It is fairly easy to follow, I promise you, and it was a pleasure to read. I shall definitely be first in line for Eliza Graham's next book. I can't wait!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing book 17 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
I read this book in hardcover, and it's not to be missed. The story weaves between two timelines: the modern-day Minna and Felix grappling with their own ghosts, and Felix as a girl in a tiny village that must be evacauted so soldiers can practice landing on the beach. The characters are engrossing, the story is rich, layered and developed and the writing is graceful. This is a wonderful debut and I can't wait to read more.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good first attempt 23 Sep 2010
Format:Paperback
I'm going to go easy on Eliza Graham because this is her first book. Writers are allowed to have a book or two before really hitting their stride and I think this writer is going to be really good once she finds the right story idea.

But she's not quite there yet. On the face of it the idea's OK: couple damaged by tragedy discover the skeleton of a soldier missing since WWII buried in the sand of the beach near where they are staying. Solving the mystery of how the man died helps Minna (the woman of the couple) deal with her loss and helps Felix, a local woman who was involved in the death, resolve her own ghosts of the past.

Yes, but there are so many books on this theme: dealing with tragedy, resolving the past, putting the dead to rest, that the treatment has to be really fresh to carry my interest. Sadly, Graham doesn't quite manage it. She has some lovely turns of phrase and her description of the disintegrating marriage of Minna and Tom is excellent. Her handling of the sections set in the 1940s, when we meet Felix as a child, are less assured and she hinges her plot on an unlikely, clandestine love affair which failed to suspend my disbelief. However, if she continues to get published, I'll watch out for her work and see if she improves as I think she will.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully Told Story 8 April 2009
By Mrs. C. Colbert VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
When the body of an American soldier, who died 60 years ago, is found on the beach of a small village by Minna and Tom, it makes a good story for the newspapers. Felix, who used to live in the village, hears about Lew Campbell's body and decides to re-visit the area after being evacuated from there during the war.
After a chance meeting between Minna (who is mourning the loss of her son) and Felix the two women become friends and confide in each other.
Over time we learn of how Felix knew Lew and Minna becomes obsessed with the story and wants to know what happened to him.....how much does Felix know?
I really liked both the main characters and I was hoping they both could find happiness.
For them both it is a healing process and they need to find closure.
Eliza Graham's debut novel is an engaging story, the writing is pacy, it's never boring and, just like Minna, I was always wanting to find out more of Felix's story.
This is a wonderful story of loss, guilt and how it affects many lives.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Characters 15 Mar 2009
By Lincs Reader TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
This debut novel by Eliza Graham is a story that is so well plotted and shifts between the present and the war-time past. The stories are narrated by Minna in the present, who is ridden with guilt about her recent bereavement and trying so hard to make her marriage to Tom work and Felix (short for Felicity), telling the story of her childhood spent living in the village.

The different narratives and times work very well together - explaining the story of what happened in the cottage that Minna is renting and that Felix lived in as a child. During the first chapter, Minna and Tom discover the skeleton on the beach - this paves the way for the associated story of the tragedy of the American GI and also for the story of Minna's own tragedy.

This is a really well written story - the characters are likeable and believeable, there is mystery and sadness throughout the book and the story of the past slowly emerges. The ending is maybe a little too well tied up, but didnt spoil my overall enjoyment of the book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of best reads I have read this year
In a word.....wonderful. The first book I read this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Took the characters to my heart immediately and was page turning from the beginning. Read more
Published on 26 April 2008 by DE Will
2.0 out of 5 stars Sorry - did I miss something?
On the strength of the reviews on Amazon, I recommended this book for my book club - only to be severely disappointed. Why? Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2008 by A. Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars History - with long kept secrets
I really enjoyed this book, and found my imagination was working overtime, imagining how Fontwell looked, and what life was like for the villagers during WW2. Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2007 by R. J. Payne
5.0 out of 5 stars A keeper
I'm so happy I bought this book. It had everything I look for in a novel: terrific writing, intriguing characters, plot twists that work, beautiful passages, a genuine mystery, and... Read more
Published on 29 Aug 2007 by M. Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book!
I loved Playing With The Moon! It's a beautifully written story about dealing with loss, grief, and, ultimately healing - told through the story of new friendship between Minna and... Read more
Published on 21 Aug 2007 by D. Schaaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious
Mesmerizing story with two plot lines, expertly woven together by the author. Sixty years separates the action and each story has a mystery to it. Read more
Published on 20 Aug 2007 by Becky Motew
5.0 out of 5 stars Coping with traumas
Two women, both coping with traumatic experiences, become drawn together when the body of an American GI is discovered on a Dorset beach. Read more
Published on 19 Aug 2007 by Claire King
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant prose
A simple story yet captivating and beautifully written. It tells the story of two women who meet by chance, but who are connected by the death of one man. Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2007 by Amazon Customer
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