Man in the Blue Moon
Man in the Blue Moon, which was inspired by a real incident, turns fact into powerful, highly original fiction. Readers haven’t heard this tale of loss and love before, but the power is the telling and in the voice.
Sometime during World War I, Harlan Wallace disappeared, leaving his wife, Ella, with three young sons, a store, and a mortgaged tract of land near Dead Lakes, Florida. Ella can’t work the land (school comes first for the boys). The store can’t feed them and make mortgage payments, too. Ella’s intelligence, talent, and education, qualities that once sustained her, can’t meet her immediate needs.
When Harlan’s cousin Lanier comes into her life mysteriously, he restores Ella’s confidence. Lanier’s not an educated man, but he understands Ella’s values better than she does his. Lanier is a faith healer, and even though he saves her son’s life, this troubles Ella. Dead Lakes is inhospitable to anyone outside the local norm.
With Lanier and Ella working the land, there’s a profit to be made, but their efforts end in catastrophe. Men who want the land for their own purposes use violence to force foreclosure. Bloodshed follows Lanier, too. When his presence causes the death of someone Ella loves, Lanier, now a liability, leaves town. For a while, Ella manages well enough alone; but she gets sick. When Lanier hears, he comes back to restore the balance to Ella’s life.
Michael Morris is a fifth-generation Floridian. His knowledge is enhanced by a facility with language, as it must have been spoken in small towns 65 years ago. Man in the Blue Moon is highly recommended.