Moon Rising Paperback – 2 Nov 2000
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One long hot summer in the 1880's, Bram Stoker escapes to Whitby where he has an intense and dangerous affair with a young woman from an old seafaring family. The affair will mark both their lives, and provide the young theatre manager with material for a novel. From the author of LOUISA ELLIOTT and DAGGER LANE.
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Damaris Sterne, the young heroine lives and works amongst the fisherfolk, a life of poverty and privation,biting cold and constant damp - my hands ached with hers as she gutted piles of freezing cold fish although, thankfully, I didn't develop chilblains!
When she meets and falls in love with an older man, her life changes in many ways for the better. But this man is Bram Stoker, married to Florence and committed to work for Henry Irving, the great actor/manager in London. What happens next is a clever and credible imagining of
Stoker and how he came to write Dracula.
The overwhelming power and violence of a storm-tossed sea together with the near helplessness of those who struggle against it are mirrored in the
relationships and emotions of these characters. A sense of evil pervades and for all there is tragedy and loss but the final chapters bring this powerful story to a very satisfying ending.
All in all, a very good read.
I find Ann Victoria Robert's books captivating difficult to put down and although I remembered the bones of this story there was quite a bit I had temporarily forgotten, and enjoyable to read again. It has all the expertise of the author's unique craft although different from her first two books, a very well researched historical novel with characters that become real and a long reading experience which keeps one engaged all the way.
This dramatic, exciting novel tells the story of a rebellious young fisherwoman called Damarius, who is determined to make a better life for herself, away from the drudgery and poverty of her kinfolk. In the process she has a brief love affair with Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. Anne Victoria Roberts describes their steamy relationship with sensitivity while still allowing the reader to see the futility of loving a man so much under the power of other forces.
I loved reading her descriptions of Whitby and the sea - somewhere she knows and, if her writing is anything to go by, loves well. The reader is gripped by Damarius’s strength and passion and follows her journey as she puts the faithless lover behind her and forges a new life for herself.
Written some years ago, I believe that this book is due a successful revival - maybe like Dracula’s characters it will become immortal.
What really shines through in this book is Whitby - the town really is the star in this novel - with lots of detail about the town and its rich heritage (not just literary, but shipping as well). The author clearly knows the town well and it's a real treat to read about such detailed invocations of such a wonderful, magical place. The folklore of the town really shines through
The author has used Stoker's visit to the town as a method to focus upon this and what aspects of the town might have inspired Stoker's most famous novel, Dracula (which is partly set in the town). This works up to a point, but does smack of research a bit (that might just be me, because I've done so much research in this area, all of the elements in the story are things I've read before - many times). For this reason, the Stoker aspect of the story didn't read as that original to me. The other problem I had with the book is the characterisation in it. Stoker was a bit two-dimensional (I imagine it's quite hard to create a new interpretation of such a well-known historical character) but the main character herself wasn't much better. The entire story is written from a very introspective point of view with the main character, Damaris Sterne, thinking most of the action through her reflections. I found it difficult to empathise with the character, so nearly 400 pages of her thoughts started to get on my nerves a bit.
This book wasn't for me - it was okay - but only that.