Teardrops in the Moon

Written by Tania Crosse
Review by Carol McGrath

The novel opens on 28th June 1914, the day Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo, in Devon where a middle-class family are celebrating Rose Warrington’s 60th birthday, unaware their lives will soon change. Marianne, Rose’s horse-loving younger daughter and the novel’s protagonist, will go to the Front as an ambulance driver with the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. Her girlhood vow will be challenged, and tragedies await those she loves. Henry, her brother, will volunteer rather than be considered a coward. He would prefer to remain at home training horses for war work. Teardrops in the Moon contains a carefully integrated revenge subplot involving Rose’s mysterious past. Although this occasionally deflects from the sorrow of war which Crosse’s novel presents so well, it allows another emotion to penetrate the narrative drive.

The characterisation is satisfying. The reader walks in the protagonist’s shoes and feels for Henry and for her friends at the Front, in particular, for her love interest, Albert. Other characters such as Rose, Kate and Mary feel sketchy.

The research is impeccable. I learned much about horses in World War I, the ambulance service and the major battles. I did wonder if the author covered too great a span of time in one novel since some scenes end rather abruptly. However, this book is about how the war affected a particular family and, in this, it succeeds. I was reminded of Testament of Youth by Vera Brittan.

Finally, Crosse writes beautifully, with a clear voice and strong emotional drive. The intriguing title comes from the following passage, ‘She opened her eyes wide in an attempt to let her tears dry, and stared at the moon. It was crying too, its tears falling in heavy grey clouds that drifted across the night sky.’